Magazine article Variety

Glam Event Gains Social Awareness

Magazine article Variety

Glam Event Gains Social Awareness

Article excerpt

Though movies remain at its core, Italy's Taormina Film Festival has morphed in recent years into a mix of film launches, master classes and glam galas with a strong humanitarian aspect.

Pushing that envelope even further, this year's event will bring in 300 homeless people from various parts of Sicily as the stars of the evening on opening night. Richard Gere, a tireless advocate for the homeless, will host the opening ceremony.

Events and screenings take place in Taormina's open-air ancient Greek theater, an architectural gem in the shadow of Sicily's active Mt. Etna volcano. Disney/Pixar's "Finding Dory'will kick off the festival. Oren Moverman's raw and realistic "Time out of Mind," in which Gere plays a vagrant trying to survive in New York, will play for both the homeless and the rest of the public earlier in the day, as part of its Italian theatrical launch.

"Dory" and "Mind" encapsulate programming paramaters pursued by Taormina topper Tiziana Rocca, a marketing guru who took over four years ago as general manager and has since systematically upped the glamour quotient and thus the number of honorées.

One section of the fest will include independent U.S. movies selected by Variety critics.

"I am trying to strike a balance between mainstream entertainment and quality? she says.

Honorées

RICHARD GERE

Humanitarian Award

After attending last year to hold a master class on the roles that made him famous, Gere returns to Taormina to raise awareness for the homeless.

HARVEY KEITEL

Mister Clifton Award

Keitel Will hold a Tao Class on his film career, which includes Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets" and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974) as well as upcoming drama "Gandhi of the Month."

JEREMYRENNER

Mister Clifton Award

Renner, whose credits include Oscar-nominated turns In "The Hurt Locker" and "The Town," will hold a Tao Class.

JACQUELINEBISSET

Taormina Arte Award

Bisset has worked with such storied directors as John Huston, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Roman Polanski. She will next appear in Per Fly's "Backstabbing for Beginners."

REBECCA HALL

Taormina Arte Award

Hall, who will be overseeing a Tao Class, has racked up roles in such projects as "Parade's End," "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," and Steven Spielberg's "The BFG."

Tipsheet

What: 62nd Taormina Film Festival

When: June 10-18

Where: Taormina, Italy

Web: taorminafilmfest.net

Aero«« tha Canturías

The Taormina Festival takes place in Sicily's ancient Greek theater, top. Richard Gere will host this year's opening ceremony. …

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