The Giornate degli Autori, first times around and return appearances

It's blast-off time for the Giornate degli Autori. As our poster for this year shows, the body of our aspiring, capeless superhero is pointed in the direction of the future, in a forward rush made up of novelty and tradition, since a story that is fourteen years long has a past that needs to be told. Directors who bet on the Giornate the first time, and we on them, are now back with their new films, which is cause for celebration.

They include established directors like Faouzi Bensaidi, who presents Volubilis, and Vincenzo Marra, who brings us his Equilibrium, alongside rising stars like Pengfei (The Taste of Rice Flower) and the duo Botrugno-Coluccini (Tainted Souls), here for the launch of their second films.

We welcome back Celia Rowlson-Hall, who made her feature directorial debut at the GDA in 2015 (in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival) with Ma, and now gifts the Giornate a short film to add to the Miu Miu Women's Tales collection. And Amanda Kernell's first film Sameblod, from our 2016 lineup, is taking another bow here this year as a finalist for the European Parliament's LUX Film Prize.

There are twenty-four films on the roster this year, from twenty-one countries (with many co-productions). That breaks down as twelve feature films in competition and twelve special events or special screenings, including the two shorts for Miu Miu Women's Tales and one by a well-known Italian actor who steps behind the camera, for once (Claudio Santamaria and his The Millionairs).

Two first films: M by Sara Forestier and Where the Shadows Fall by Valentina Pedicini. Two internationally renowned directors who have previously garnered acclaim at Venice and now choose the Giornate for their films in 2017: the eclectic Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, with Looking for Oum Kulthum, and Pen-ek Ratanaruang, the talented Thai filmmaker, back on the Lido with Samui Song, which kicks off the GDA screenings (today at 2 p.m in the Sala Perla). The second film on day one is Longing (Sala Perla at 4:45 p.m.) by Israeli director Savi Gabizon.

"The versatility that our section has become known for," say Roberto Barzanti (Giornate president) and Giorgio Gosetti (artistic director), "is branching out more and more each year, thanks in part to the enormous loyalty of the industry and the directors themselves. Our job is to scout out new talent, get that talent to dialogue with each other, and reward the courage of our filmmakers. We rejoice in these ‘homecomings' by young directors we supported in the past, just as we embrace the directors of tomorrow who want to take their first bows right here."

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