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Venice Critics’ Week Lineup Announced; Opener Is Britain’s ‘Pin Cushion’

ROME – The Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week on Monday unveiled its lineup of eight international first works, all of them world premieres, with British director Deborah Haywood’s “Pin Cushion” as the out-of-competition opener.

“Pin Cushion” (pictured), which is produced by Gavin Humphries with Maggie Monteith of Dignity Film Finance, and supported by Creative England and the British Film Institute, was described by the section’s artistic director Giona Nazzaro as a “cruel, very colorful film that signals the talent of a very promising director.”

Shot on location in the town of Swadlincote in Derbyshire, England, the film is about “new girl Iona, 13, [who] becomes saliva-swapping best friends (‘besties’) with scene girl Keely, until Iona becomes more popular and Keely spirals out of control,” according to BFI promotional material.

The films in competition are “The Crater” by Italy’s Luca Bellino and Silvia Luzi, a Naples-set drama in which a father comes into conflict with the daughter he wants to turn into a local pop star; “Drift” by Germany’s Helena Wittman, about “the voyage of a women through two continents which is a very powerful sensory experience,” according to Nazzaro; “The Wild Boys” by France’s Bertrand Mandico, an erotic black-and-white film which Nazzaro called “our scandal movie”; “The Gulf” by Turkey’s Emre Yeksan, a voyage through contemporary Turkey; “Sarah Plays a Werewolf” by Switzerland’s Katharina Wyss, a multilayered mix of theater, cinema, and opera about the inner life of a young stage actress; “Team Hurricane” by Denmark’s Annika Berg, a punk chick flick produced by Katja Adomeit, one of the producers of Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Square”; and “Hunting Season” by Argentina’s Natalia Garagiola, described by Nazzaro as “men fighting, filmed from an unmistakably female point of view.”

The out-of-competition closer is “Poison – The Land of Fires,” a political melodrama set in the Neapolitan hinterland by Diego Olivares, the only director in the section who is not a first-timer.

All Venice Critics’ Week entries will compete alongside titles in the official selection for the fest’s Lion of the Future prize, worth $100,000. As usual, Critics’ Week films will be voted on by festival-goers rather than a jury.

The full official selection lineup will be announced Thursday.

The 74nd edition of the Venice fest runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9.

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