Taormina Film Fest

Taormina Film Fest
Photo: taorminafilmfestival.com
The Taormina Film Fest, also known as the Taormina Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in the Italian city of Taormina, Sicily every July. Its main venue is the ancient theater of Taormina, a Greek theater dating back to the 3rd century BC.

One of the oldest film festivals in Italy, the Taormina Film Fest was established in 1955 in nearby Messina. It was born during the heyday of Italian cinema: it was Italian cinema of the 1950s and the 1960s that had a huge influence on the formation of the French New Wave and auteur cinema, thanks to the personality-filled films of Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Vittorio De Sica, and Federico Fellini.

The festival expanded to Taormina two years after its inception and was renamed Rassegna Cinematografica Internazionale di Messina e Taormina (Messina and Taormina International Film Review). Since 1971, the festival has been held exclusively in Taormina.

The exciting and diverse program of the Taormina Film Fest includes world and Italian premieres, independent films, documentaries, shorts, and tributes to notable filmmakers of the past, as well as masterclasses and other industry events.

From 1957 to 1980, the Taormina Film Fest hosted the annual David di Donatello Awards, considered the Italian equivalent of the Academy Awards, which significantly helped to boost the festival’s prestige. Since 1984, the festival has also hosted the Nastro d’Argento (Silver Ribbon) main awards ceremony, presented by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

In addition to hosting the Nastro d’Argento ceremony, the Taormina Film Fest presents its own awards:

  • Cariddi d’Oro (Golden Charybdis) for Best Film
  • Cariddi d’Argento (Silver Charybdis) for Best Director
  • Maschera di Polifemo (Mask of Polyphemus) for Best Actor
  • Maschera di Polifemo (Mask of Polyphemus) for Best Actress

The festival also bestows the non-competitive Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence for contribution to the art of cinema. Past recipients include Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Judi Dench, Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Hugh Hudson, Miklos Jancso, Virna Lisi, Andie MacDowell, Malcolm McDowell, Mariangela Melato, Ornella Muti, Irene Papas, Marisa Paredes, Bob Rafelson, and Joel Schumacher.

Over the years, the Taormina Film Fest has welcomed many notable actors and filmmakers, including Antonio Banderas, Monica Bellucci, Ingrid Bergman, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Francis Ford Coppola, Tom Cruise, Judy Dench, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Douglas, Federico Fellini, Colin Firth, Richarde Gere, Cary Grant, Melanie Griffith, Charlton Heston, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, John Malkovich, Robert de Niro, Gregory Peck, Sydney Pollack, Susan Sarandon, and Elizabeth Taylor, among others.

As of 2023, the Taormina Film Fest runs for nine days in June and hosts film screenings in three main venues: the ancient theater of Taormina (Teatro Antico), the Congress Hall (Palazzo dei Congressi), and Casa del Cinema. Premiers and new films are screened in the Ancient Theater, while the other two venues are used primarily for retrospective screenings.

Taormina Film Fest

Photo: Daniella Turillo, taorminafilmfestival.com




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