Often referred to as the Italian version of the Directors’ Fortnight, the first edition of the Giornate degli Autori / Venice Days under the Artistic Director Gaia Furrer feels fresh with the program offering mostly 1st and or 2nd time filmmakers. Last year’s edition included the likes of Javro Bustamante’s The Weeping Woman, Isabel Sandoval’s Lingua Franca and Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi. This year’s edition we have an item that was tipped for premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, we find Kamir Aïnouz and her directorial debut Honey Cigar opens the section. She was the co-scribe on Lisa Azuelos’ LOL and and here she has Adjani-Vallat, Amira Casar (most recently from Call Me by Your Name fame) and Lyes Salem in the story about pre-adult Selma who balances family, a new relationship while fundamentalism is a major issue in her homeland. This was developed at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab/RAWI.
Another first time filmmaker breaking into the line-up is doing so with a non-world premiere which is something of a rarity for the Venice Days. The Slamdance winner (honorable mention, Best Actor and audience award) Residue cracks this line-up and offers great exposure for American indie helmer Merawi Gerima. Other first time filmmaker include Ameen Nayfeh with 200 Meters, Russian filmmaker Philipp Yuryev and The Whaler Boy (aka Kitoboy) and possibly Li Dongmei and Mama from China.
Other sophomore features include Gianluca and Massimiliano Serio The Stonebreaker (they gave us 2011 Locarno preemed Seven Acts of Mercy), Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time by Lili Horvat (she was at Karlovy Vary with The Wednesday Child in 2015).
Rolling into veteran filmmakers we have Rodrigo Sepulveda’s My Tender Matador, Ivan I. Tverdovskij’s Conference and closing out the fest is the latest from Bruce LaBruce in Saint Narcisse. His 13th feature film is coined as a queer comedy fantasy and set in 1972’s Canada.
Honey Cigar – Kamir Anouz (OPENING FILM)
The Stonebreaker – Gianluca and Massimiliano Serio (Italy, France, Belgium)
Mama – Li Dongmei (China)
Residue – Merawi Gerima (U.S.)
Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time – Lili Horvat (Hungary)
Oasis – Ivan Ilkic (Serbia, The Netherlands, France, Bosnia-Erzegovina)
My Tender Matador – Rodrigo Sepulveda (Chile, Argentina, Mexico)
Conference – Ivan I. Tverdovskij (Russia, Estonia, Italy, U.K.)
The Whaler Boy – Philipp Yuryev (Russia, Poland, Berlgium)
200 Meters – Ameen Nayfeh (Palestine, Italy)
OUT OF COMPETITION
Saint-Narcisse – Bruce LaBruce (Canada)
WOMEN’S TALES PROJECT (shorts), in collaboration with Prada’s Miu Miu Label
“Nightwalk,” Malgorzata Skumowksa (Italy, Poland)
“In My Room,” Mati Diop (Italy, France)