Maghreb cinema to be guest territory and basis for roundtable.

Oliver Stone, Monica Bellucci and Tarak Ben Ammar [pictured] will receive the Taormina Film Festival’s prestigious Taormina Arte Award given each year to individuals important to the international film community.

The Sicilian festival, under the artistic direction of Deborah Young, announced the lineup today for its 57th year.

Other honorary awards will be bestowed on Palestinian director and actor Elia Suleiman who will pick up the Fondazione Roma-Mediterraneo Award for intercultural dialog while Dreamworks Jeffrey Katzenberg will pick up a prize recognising Dreamworks Animation.

The festival, which focuses on cinema of the Mediterranean world, is taking place during a moment of “great tension” in the region festival organisers noted today, citing that Maghreb cinema from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco will, as an ensemble, be Taormina’s special guest territory.

A roundtable, called “Maghreb revolution” will take place during the festival with attendees including Ben Ammar, and fellow Tunisian, producer Habib Attia and director Mourad Ben Cheikh. Moroccan director Leila Kilani and actress Soufia Issami and directors Ibrahim El Batout and Mohamad Diab will be on hand to represent Egypt.

Five North African films will be offered, including the international premieres of Tamer Mahdy’s A Man’s Shadow and Halima Quardiri’s Mohktar.

But Hollywood won’t be left out at Sicily’s most important film event: Jack Black will attend to present Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D which will be screened in Taormina’s ancient Greek-Roman amphitheatre.

Later in the week, Parking Lot, Italy’s first commercial 3D film, directed by Francesco Gasperoni will be screened in the ancient theatre, while other films to be unveiled in the “Great Cinema at the Ancient Theatre” section include a new version of Oliver Stone’s Alexander Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut.

Taormina’s Mediterranea 2011 competition includes the following films: Invisible by Michael Aviad from Israel, Press by Sedat Yilmaz from Turkey, The Italian Consul by Antonio Falduto from Italy, Hawi by Ibrahim El Batout from Egypt, Sur La Planche by Leila Kilani from Morocco, Cairo 678 by Egypt’s Mohamad Diab, The Rabbi’s Cat, by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux from Franc,e and A Thousand Fools by Ventura Pons from Spain.

These titles will be judged by a jury composed of Patrice Leconte whose Voir Le Mer will screen out of competition, Egyptian actress Yousra and Sicilian actress Maya Sansa. The winning film will receive Taormina’s Golden Tauro award.

A public prize will be assigned to the winning title in the Beyond the Mediterranean section include Denmark’s Truth About Men by Nikolaj Arcel, Ireland’s Lotus Eaters by Alexandra McGuinness, Iran’s Alzheimer’s directed by Ahmad Reza Motamedi, Black Butterflies by Paula van der Oest, Red State by Kevin Smith from the US and Land Of Desire by Paulo Caldas from Brazil.

The festival runs June 11-18.