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23rd Avignon Film Festival kicks off

23rd Avignon Film Festival
Transatlantic Crossroads of Independent Cinema
June 22-25, 2006

Now in its 23rd year, the Avignon Film Festival (known in France as “Rencontres Cinématographiques Euro-Américaines d’Avignon”) will launch its 2006 edition on Thursday, June 22, with John Turturro’s “Romance & Cigarettes” (starring Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Mary Louise Parker and Elaine Stritch). Mr. Turturro will be one of the guests of honor in Avignon this year, as the Festival is also screening his 2nd feature, “Illuminata” (1998) and “Barton Fink” (1991), his breakthrough performance for the Coen Brothers, all in a section called “Another Look at John Turturro.”

Hungarian-born László Szabó will be another guest of honor in Avignon, with screenings of his newest film, “The Man Who Slept by Daylight” (2003) as well as his cult classic, “Zig Zig” (1974), starring Catherine Deneuve.

The Avignon Film Festival, created by Jerome Henry Rudes in 1984, brings together in the heart of Provence independent filmmakers from both sides of the Atlantic for some lively, memorable days of good films, good talk and good wine. The winegrowers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are one of the festival’s primary sponsors.

The Grand Prizes for emerging filmmakers, called “Les Prix Tournages,” will be awarded on Sunday, June 25 at Avignon’s medieval Petit Palais by a jury of 8 film professionals and culture mavens, among them historian Albert Sonnenfeld, and the chairman of the Film & Media Department at Hunter College-CUNY, Jay Roman. The Tournage Award is symbolized by a “Roger” bronze statuette, created by James Knowles of the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan.

This year’s Avignon screening program consists of ten (10) feature films (including premieres of Tim Disney’s “Tempesta” and Denis Dercourt’s “La Tourneuse des Pages” (The Page Turner), thirteen (13) short films, and six (6) documentaries (including the much-acclaimed “Ballets Russes”). SEE FULL SCREENING PROGRAM ATTACHED.

Section “Another Look at … John Turturro”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, the tremendously talented John Turturro is a longstanding favorite for his irresistible work in a wide range of independent films. A regular collaborator of Spike Lee and Joel and Ethan Coen, Turturro won widespread recognition for his role as the intellectual playwright in the Coen brothers’ “Barton Fink” (1991) and as contestant “Herbie Stempel” in Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show” (1991). This year’s Avignon Film Festival is proud to present the French premiere of “Romance and Cigarettes,” the most recent example of his Turturro’s engaging, original screenwriting and directorial talent.

Section “Another Look at… László Szabó”
The career of accomplished actor László Szabó spans nearly fifty years in the history of cinema. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936, Szabó began acting with Truffaut and Goddard during the French New Wave, and continued to ply his talents in the following decades with a gamut of internationally renowned directors. We are proud to present another look at Mr. Szabó’s work as a screenwriter and director with his recent production “The Man Who Slept by Daylight” and one of his earlier works, “Zig Zig” (1974), a film that propelled the career of the young Catherine Deneuve.

For 23 years, the Avignon Film Festival has brought together in Provence independent filmmakers from the United States, France and Europe. The fundamental goal at the heart of the festival is to promote and inspire understanding and cordiality, sustaining a dialogue between American and European filmmakers, each with distinctly different backgrounds. The Avignon Film Festival operates as a catalyst for the work of independent filmmakers, offering a discovery platform for thought-provoking, contemporary cinema. The Avignon/New York Film Festival, scheduled for Nov. 15-19, 2006 at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse, is the American version of the Avignon event.

FILM PROGRAM – 23rd Avignon Film Festival – June 22-25, 2006

Un autre regard sur … / Another Look at … John Turturro

Romance & Cigarettes (USA, 2005, 115 min.) by John Turturro
Illuminata (USA, 1998, 110 min.) by John Turturro
Barton Fink (USA, 1990, 116 min.) by Joel and Ethan Coen

Un autre regard sur … / Another Look at … László Szabó

L’homme qui dormait le jour (The Man Who Slept by Daylight, Hungary, 2003, 107 min.) by László Szabó
Zig Zig (France, 1974, 90 min.) by László Szabó

Longs Métrages en competition / Features in competition

Ca m’est égal si demain n’arrive pas (I Don’t Care if Tomorrow Doesn’t Come, Belgium, 2006, 70 min.) by Guillaume Malandrin
Honey Baby (Finland/Germany/France, 2004, 103 min.) by Mika Kaurismaki
La Tourneuse de Pages (The Page Turner, France, 2006, 85 min.) by Denis Dercourt
Un Jour D’Eté (A Summer Day, France, 2006, 91 min.) by Franck Guerin

United States
David and Layla (2005, 110 min.) by Jay Jonroy
Deep & Dreamless Sleep (Sommeil Profond sans rêve, 2005, 86 min.) by Matthew Harrison
Four Corners of Suburbia (Les Quatre coins de la Banlieue, 2005, 104 min.) by Elizabeth Puccini
Tempesta (La Tempête, 2006, 98 min.) by Tim Disney
The Call of Cthulhu (L’appel de Cthulhu, 2005, 47 min.) by Andrew Leman & Sean Branney

Documentaires en competition / Documentaries in competition

Ballets Russes (USA, 2005, 120 min.) by Dan Gellar & Dayna Goldfine
Blues by the Beach (USA/Israel, 2005, 80 min.) by Joshua Faudem
Boire pour Oublier (Drink to Forget, Italy, 2005, 40 min.) by Michele Calabresi
Un Aigle au-dessus de la Mongolie (Kiran Over Mongolia, USA, 2005, 86 min.) by Joseph Spaid
Une Modèle Pour Matisse (A Model for Matisse, USA, 2004, 67 min.) by Barbara Freed
Une Vie de Chien (A Dog’s Life-a Dogamentary, USA, 2004, 52 min.) by Gayle Kirschenbaum

Courts Métrages en competition / Shorts in competition

Conversation Privée (Private Conversation) by Guila Clara Kessous (France)
Les Derniers Jours (The Last Days) by Olivier Frohnauer (Germany)
Le Poète et l’Ours (The Poet and the Bear) by Brian Philip Davis (Ireland)
Les Vagues. Le Départ (Waves. Day Return) by Maciej Pisarek (Poland)
Peter Pan a grandi et John Lennon est mort (Peter Pan is grown up and John Lennon is dead) by Alexandre de Charlet (France)
T’as D’Beaux Yeux, Tu Sais! (What Beautiful Eyes You Have!) by Jean-Pierre Malignon (France)

United States
Bicycle Messengers (Les Coursiers) by Joshua Frankel
Cold Kenya by Laurence Walsh
Five Minutes Mr. Welles (Cinq minutes, Monsieur Welles) by Vincent d’Onofrio
Shepherds (Les Bergers) by Florence Buchanan & Karen McIntyre
Snapshot (Instantané) by Andrew Lund
The Method (La méthode) by Jason Holzman
The Payoff (Le règlement) by Tarik Benbrahim

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