Taormina Film Fest
|Taormina Film Fest|
Taormina Film Fest, a historic film festival, and Italy's oldest began in 1955 under the name Rassegna Cinematografica Internazionale di Messina e Taormina. The exhibition, which moved permanently to Taormina in 1971, has hosted over the years many stars of international cinema: Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren, Cary Grant, Robert De Niro, Colin Firth, Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Tom Cruise, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, among others. The Festival is an "A" Festival in FIAP accreditation. The award of David di Donatello, named after Donatello's David, is a movie award assigned each year for cinematic performances and production by Ente David di Donatello, part of Accademia del Cinema Italiano. It is the Italian equivalent to the Academy Award. There are 24 categories as of 2006. The David de Donatello is considered Italy's premiere film award, its equivalent to the American Oscars.
The David di Donatello Awards were first given in Rome in the spring of 1955. The aim was to honour the best of each year’s Italian and foreign films, similar to the American Oscars. Similar prizes had already existed in Italy for about a decade (for example, the Silver Ribbons), but these were voted for by film critics and journalists. However, the Davids have been and are awarded by the people in the industry: screenwriters, performers, technicians, producers and so on. The ceremonies were held at the Greek Theatre in Taormina, then twice in Florence, and finally returned to Rome, always with the support of the President of the Republic and now with the collaboration of the Rome City Council Cultural Policies Department.
The festival was directed from 1999 to 2006 by Felice Laudadio, who has brought to Sicily major names in world cinema. The 2004 festival was its fiftieth anniversary.
From 2007, the director is Deborah Young, for many years the vice-director under Laudadio. The event has hosted, for several years, the award ceremony for the Nastro d'Argento in Italian cinema, a competition in which many international films preview. It takes place in the city's Greek Theater. Enrico Ghezzi, director from 1991 to 1998, renamed the show TaoFest.
Actor James Gandolfini was expected to receive an award during the June 22, 2013 festival however suddenly died of an apparent heart attack in Rome, Italy on June 19. Mario Sesti, artistic director for the festival commented on his passing by saying "He was so happy to be in Italy, to reconnect with his Italian roots, and he was very excited to come here and receive this award. He was the American actor who, better than any other, knew how to interpret Italo-American culture with a personality that was full of contrasts – ambition, sadness, humour. He was the face of a golden age of television." Despite his death, the festival is expected to pay homage to Gandolfini celebrating his life and work.
- Enrico Ghezzi (1991-1998)
- Felice Laudadio (1999-2006)
- Deborah Young (2007-2011)
- Mario Sesti (2012-2013)