The Venice Film Festival’s Venice Days sidebar will feature nine world premieres in its sixth edition.
Eleven films have been announced so far although additional films are expected to added to the section at a later date. There are a further six world premieres in the Special Events category as well as two international premieres in the main section.
The programme, which has a heavy European focus, will include Desert Flower, based on the book by Somali supermodel Waris Dirie. Directed by German-American Sherry Horman, the film traces her life from her nomadic roots in the deserts of Somalia to the catwalks in New York during the Eighties and Nineties. Dirie, who told of her own experience of female genital mutilation and now leads a campaign to put an end to the practice, will attend the festival.
According to Giogio Gosetti, head of Venice Days, the film aims to reinforce this year’s focus on female themes and films from female directors.
The section, the festival’s Directors’ Fortnight, also includes the first ever co-production between Albania and Serbia, Goran Paskaljevic’s Honeymoons. It tells the story of the “curse of Kosovo” through the eyes of a young couple.
There is a strong French presence in the sidebar including Zombie flick La Horde, co-directed by newcomers Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher, Lea Fehner’s Qu’un Seul Tienne, Les Autres Suivront, which tells the intertwining stories of visitors to a prison, Je Suis Heureux Che Ma Mere Soit Vivante, an adoption-themed drama co directed by Claude and Nathan Miller, and Algeria/France co production Harragas, directed by Merzak Allouache, about illegal immigrants that land on the Spanish coast.
Meanwhile, Spain is also well represented through Gordos by Daniel Sanchez-Arevalo, a comedy about obesity through the eyes of a group of overweight friends, and prison drama Celda 211, directed by Daniel Monzon.
The only non-European that has been selected is Sterlin Harjo’s Barking Water, the US film will have its international premiere in the section. It looks at the diminishing Seminole and Crow Native American tribes.
The section is completed with Dutch director Alex Van Warmerdamm’s surrealist comedy, The Last Days of Emma Blank, and from Italy De Me Cosa Ne Sai (What Do You Know Of Me) by Valerio Ialongo, which focuses on the solitary artist figure in a nation whose love of culture is on the wane.
There are a further five Italian titles in the special events category, which will includes an homage to animation artist Signe Baumane, whose fifteen mini shorts (two minutes each) under the title of Teat Beat Of Sex will be featured.
The non-competitive Venice Days section is eligible for the Luigi De Laurentiis Lion of the Future Prize, which comes with a $100,000 prize and is available to all first works presented in Venice’s official selections. Furthermore, the officially selected films (not special events) are considered by the Label Europa Cinemas, an award that helps in the distribution providing five Technicolor prints to the winning film.
The Venice Days line up:
Barking Water – U.S. – Sterlin Harjo
Celda 211 – Spain – Daniel Monzon
Desert Flower – Germany/Austria/UK – Sherry Horman
What Do You Know Of Me (Di Me Cosa Ne Sai) – Italy – Valerio Ialongo
Gordos – Spain – Daniel Sanchez-Arevalo
Harragas – Algeria/France – Merzak Allouache
Honeymoons – Goran Paskaljevic- Albania/Serbia
Je Suis Heureux Que Ma Mere Soit Vivante – France – Claude and Nathan Miller
The Last Days Of Emma Blank – Holland – Alex Van Warmerdamm
Qu’Un Seul Tienne, Les Autres Suiveront - France - Lea Fehner
La Horde - France - Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher
Special Events – “Films From Reality”
L’Amore E Basta – Italy- Stefano Consiglio
Poesia Che Mi Guardi – Italy- Marina Spada
Ragazze … La Vita Trema – Italy- Paola Sangiovanni
Vittorio D. – Italy - Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri
Teat Beat Of Sex – Latvia / Italy -Signe Baumane
Videocracy – Erik Gandini- Sweden (in collaboration with Critics’ Week)