Italy’s Biografilm Festival, an event billed as a cinematic celebration of human lives, will pay tribute to Werner Herzog, whose Japanese-language film “Family Romance, LLC” will launch locally following its Cannes premiere, as will “Meeting Gorbachev,” his sit-down conversation with the former Soviet leader.
The prolific Herzog, 76, whose long career comprises feature films such as “Aguirre: The Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo” and a slew of docs, including, more recently Netflix’s “Into the Inferno,” is expected to be on hand at the Bologna-based fest to receive its Celebration of Lives Award on June 10.
As previously announced, Biografilm, which will run June 7-17, is also celebrating Participant Media this year, in particular Diane Weyermann, head of the U.S. company’s documentary film and television unit, who will receive the fest’s Making it Real Award, honoring excellence in producing. The tribute to Participant will include the European premiere of its documentary “Slay the Dragon,” about gerrymandering, which recently made a splash at Tribeca.
The expanding event’s 15th edition will feature Italian premieres of about 70 titles, a clutch of them coming shortly after their Cannes bows. Asif Kapadia’s “Diego Maradona” will be screening with the Oscar-winning director in tow; Chile’s Patricio Guzman, who is also being feted, will present “The Cordillera of Dreams,” the last chapter of his trilogy tracking Chile’s history. Oscar-winning producer Joanna Natasegara is expected in Bologna for Brazilian director Petra Costa’s “The Edge of Democracy,” about Brazil’s slide back into far-right politics.
Directors Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts are expected with “For Sama,” their harrowing first-person account of the Syrian civil war, which premiered at South by Southwest in March.
Christo, the artist known for his large-scale installations, is scheduled to be in Bologna to present “Walking on Water,” directed by Andrey Paounov.
A tribute will also be paid to the Sundance Film Festival, with screenings of several prizewinners of this year’s edition. Sundance programmer Stephanie Owens is on the main jury, which will be presided over by U.S. actor Michael Madsen.
“We are the gateway into Italy for the world’s top documentaries,” said Biografilm’s founder and chief Andrea Romeo. Romeo recently appointed Leena Pasanen, former director of Dok Leipzig, as his successor as artistic director, starting in 2021. He will continue to run I Wonder Pictures, which distributes docs and feature films in Italy, and is now branching out into production and exhibition.