Mike Leigh, Hugh Grant, Ennio Morricone and Isabelle Huppert will be among the recipients of the "Diamond Awards for Cinematic Excellence" at this year's Taormina Film Festival, which runs July 6th - July 13th.
Titles screening at the non-competitive event, which include non-English-language films for the first time in three years, include Philip Noyce's Rabbit-Proof Fence, Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning, Joel Schumacher's Bad Company and Rashid Masharawi's Ticket To Jerusalem, which will screen in the Sicilian town's 7,000-seat Greek amphitheatre.
On its opening night, the festival - recently renamed the Taormina-BNL Film Fest following a significant cash injection from new sponsor Banca Nazionale del Lavoro - will host Italy's prestigious annual Nastri D'Argento Awards, the country's second highest film accolade. A special European Nastro will be handed out to Pedro Almodovar.
Legendary composer Ennio Morricone, whose credits include Italian director Sergio Leone's Spaghetti westerns as well as The Mission and Cinema Paradiso will then conduct a 190-piece orchestra on the stage of the Teatro Greco performing themes from the films of Leone, who will be the subject of a retrospective.
The audience will also be treated to the 20-minute preview of Martin Scorsese's Gangs Of New York which was unveiled at Cannes last month.
Artistic director Felice Laudadio announced that an audience's prize will be awarded to one of the 15 films screening at the indoor Palazzo dei Congressi, which include Irish director Maeve Murphy's Silent Grace and A La Folie - Pas Du Tout with Amelie favourite Audrey Tautou in addition to Mike Leigh's All Or Nothing .
The festival is also introducing two new competitive sidebars: "I Siciliani," for short films made by filmmakers born or living in Sicily and the BNL International Short Film award, whose jury is to be headed by Abbas Kiarostami - who will give a cinema lesson on July 9th - and US director Todd Solondz.
Special events also include a tribute to cult US director Paul Morrissey, and a roundtable on the international distribution of Italian movies.
Full festival line-up:
Screening at the Teatro Greco:
Bad Company , Joel Schumacher
About A Boy, Paul and Chris Weitz
The Reckoning , Paul McGuigan
Rabbit-Proof Fence , Philip Noyce
Ticket To Jerusalem , Rashid Masharawi
Sur Le Bout Des Doigts, Yves Angelo
Quicksands, John McKenzie
Screening at the Palazzo dei congressi:
The Last Blues, Peter Gardos (Hungary)
A La Folie - Pas Du Tout, Laetitia Colombani (France)
Deux, Werner Schroeter (France)
Gli Astronomi , Diego Ronsisvalle (Italy)
Tattoo , Robert Schwentke (Germany)
Umur , Kai Lehtinen (Finland)
Song Of The Stork, Jonathan Foo (Singapore-Vietnam)
Hold My Heart , Trygve Allister Diesen (Norway)
Une Affaire Privee , Guillaume Nicloux (France)
Anansi , Fritz Baumann (Germany-Ghana)
Fogbound , Ate de Jong (Netherlands)
All Or Nothing , Mike Leigh (UK)
Silent Grace , Maeve Murphy (Ireland)
Sunday , Charles McDougall (Ireland)
Corps Perdus , Eduardo de Gregorio (Argentina-France)