Orizzonti Prize

Italian director Carlo Carlei, Italian writer Giiuseppe Genna, Japanese producer Keiko Kusakabe, and Egyptian director Yousri Nasrallah, have joined the international jury of the Orizzonti Prize of the 63rd Venice Film Festival, presided over by German director Philip Gröning.

The jury will assign the following prizes for the full-length films screening in this section

(no joint winners permitted):

  • Orizzonti Prize
  • Orizzonti Doc Prize


Philip Gröning, director, producer, screenwriter, editor, director of photography and painter, switched to the world of film after years of studying medicine and psychology. He studied at the Munich Film School from 1982 and began as a director of short films: Vom Trockenschwimmer (The Swimmer, 1983), Stachoviak! (1988); he continued with short documentaries: Das Letzte Bild (The last picture taken, 1983), Opfer. Zeugen (Victims. Witnesses, 1993); and finally he directed 3 feature-length films: Sommer (Summer, 1986), Die Terroristen! (The Terrorists!, 1992), L´amour, l’argent, l’amour (2000).  But he became a true revelation with the creative documentary Die Große Stille (Into Great Silence, 2002-2005), a 164-minute film on the monastery of La Grande Chartreuse, in competition last year in the Orizzonti section of the 62nd Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica. The film, which has been highly successful all over the world, won the Special Jury Prize for the Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, the prize as Best Documentary from the Award Critics Association of Germany, the prize as best documentary in Bavaria, and was also the winner of the Sao Paulo Festival “Tudo Verdade”. In addition to Venice, his works have been selected in many prestigious international festivals and competitions: from the Sundance Film Festival to Locarno, from Toronto to Rotterdam, from Thessaloniki to Sao Paolo.

Carlo Carlei(Italy). Director, born at Lamezia Terme in 1960, he is one of the Italian film-makers with the greatest experience in Hollywood. A fan of cinema and American cartoons since his childhood, he lives in Santa Monica, in California. In 1981, he entered the Gaumont film school, founded by Renzo Rossellini. Here, with the episode of Attraverso la luce (Through light), a homage to Kubrick, he was one of the makers of the 1983 collective film, Juke-Box, presented in Venice in the De Sica section. In 1990, he wrote and directed the technological fable, Capitan Cosmos, starring Walter Chiari; this was the first television film made using the European standard of High Definition. His first feature film was made in 1992: La corsa dell’innocente, presented in Venice as a special event not in competition. This told the fascinating tale of a young boy from Aspromonte escaping the Mafia. After Venice, the film was invited to numerous international festivals (Toronto, New York, Montreal, Telluride, Denver, Millvalley, Tokyo) and obtained a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign film. In America in 1995, he wrote and directed Fluke for Metro, with Matthew Modine and Nancy Travis. This told the tale of a young man reincarnated in the body of a dog, and follows in the wake of the tradition of fantastic Hollywood comedies. Between 1996 and 1998, he worked on various projects for Hollywood studios as screenplay writer, including Manhattan Ghost Story, Pincushion, Flashover, A Tale of Two Classmates. Together with Matthew Modine, whom he met on the set of Fluke, he was one of the first to take an interest in making a film of the cartoon of the masked avenger, Daredevil. The film was finally made in 2003 by director Mark Steven Johnson. Returning temporarily to Italy, he wrote and directed two fiction films for television: Padre Pio (2000) and Ferrari (2003), with Sergio Castellitto in the role of the great Enzo. He is currently working on a history film of the fall of Rome, for which the subject has been written by Carlei himself together with Valerio Massimo Manfredi: The Last Legion by Doug Lefler.

Giuseppe Genna (Italy). Born in Milan in 1969, he is the author of tales and essays – Assalto a un tempo devastato e vile – and of a series of thrillers – Catrame, Nel nome di Ishmael, Non toccare la pelle del Drago, Grande Madre Rossa (all published by Mondadori between 2001 and 2004) – and he has also written the bourgeois anti-novel L’anno luce (Tropea) and saga Dies Irae (published in 2006 by Rizzoli). His books have been published with success abroad, in the United States (where In the name of Ishmael has gone through several editions), Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Britain and Australia. With Gilberto Squizzato, he planned and wrote the avant-pop thriller series, Suor Jo, for the television series broadcast by RaiTre in Italy in September 2005. Another text of his, Fabula Orphica, took part at the European theatre festival Arlecchino d’oro 2006, in Mantua, directed by Federica Restani. His Museo Trascendentale will be accompanied by music composed and played as a world premiere by Ryuichi Sakamoto, to inaugurate the largest exhibition ever dedicated to Andrea Mantegna in Mantua. He has directed the internet portal, Clarence, a case history in the history of  the Italian web. He has founded and for three years run i Miserabili, a successful e-zine with a monthly audience of about 180,000 read ers. For Rizzoli, he is the webmaster of the publisher’s 24/7 (www.24sette.it) site, for which he is consultant. His official website is www.giugenna.com.

Keiko Kusakabe (Japan). Born in Tokyo in 1953, she is one of the most important figures in Japan as regards production and distribution. After a period in Europe, she worked as a journalist for independent Japanese productions and for major American studios. Her viewing of Nanni Moretti’s film, Bianca (1984), was a deep influence on her and she decided as a result to start distributing films, starting with the five films made hitherto by the Italian director. She thus began travelling more frequently to Italy. In Japan, she distributed the films of Bernardo Bertolucci, Alan Parker, Clint Eastwood and, by Japanese directors, those of Tsukamoto Shinya and Miike Takashi. Since 1998, she has worked not just in distribution but also in production, and as executive producer has made such films as Adorenarin doraibu (Adrenalive Drive) by Yaguch Shinobu (1998), which takes its cue from the world of the yakuza to describe absurd, paradoxical situations. Other films include the romantic tragedy Blue by Hiroshi Ando (2001), in competition at the Moscow Festival, which gained Mikako Itikawa the title of best actress, and Vital (2004) by Tsukamoto, presented at the Venice Festival in the Orizzonti section. In 2004, she produced Hibi by Banmei Takahashi, which was invited to numerous festivals in Japan (Hochi Film Award, Kinema Junpo Award, Mainichi Film Concours), and gained widespread recognition for the actress, Yûko Tanaka, widely acclaimed as best actress. Sannen migomoru  directed by Tadano Miako, adapted from a story by him, dates from 2005.

Yousri Nasrallah (Egypt). One of the successful directors in Egyptian cinema, he was born in Cairo in 1952, where he frequented the German school before entering the economics and political sciences faculty. During his studies, he was extremely active in the Egyptian cineclub movement. In 1978, he moved to Beirut, where he became the film critic for “As-Safir”, one of the most important Lebanese newspapers. Back in Cairo in 1982, he became the assistant to Youssef Chahine for Adieu Bonaparte (1985), collaborating also for the sets. In 1987, he wrote and directed his first feature film, Sarikat Sayfeya (Summer Thefts), produced by Chahine, and collected some 20 awards from international festivals, including the Rosa Camuna d’argento at the Bergamo Film Meeting. Between 1988 and 1990, he worked again with Youssef Chahine, co-writing the script and co-directing Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (Alexandria Again and Forever) and Al Quahira menauwwara bi Ahlaha (Cairo…as told by Youssef Chahine). His second personal film, Marcides (Mercedes, 1993), co-produced by Chahine, was in competition at Locarno, where it drew the attention of the critics. This was followed by a 72’ documentary on Egyptian youth, Sobyan wa banat (On Boys, Girls and the Veil, 1995), which received widespread international acclaim, from the Gran Premio Video at Locarno to the Prize from the Biennial of Arab Cinema in Paris. In 1999, he wrote (with Claire Denis and Nasser Abdel Rahmane) and directed El Medina (The City), which was also presented with success at Locarno, winning the Special Prize of the Jury. Between 2001 and 2004, he wrote (with Elias Khoury) and directed Bab el shams (The Gate of the Sun), based on the novel by Khoury, presented out of competition at Cannes and at the New York Film Festival. In 2005, he wrote The Aquarium, currently being filmed.