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Prada’s Focus on Film:

MILAN — The Hollywood connection between Prada and the movies isn’t just the glamour of red-carpet dressing and glitzy photo ops.<BR><BR>Through Fondazione Prada, an artistic organization she heads, Miuccia Prada is sponsoring the Milan...

MILAN — The Hollywood connection between Prada and the movies isn’t just the glamour of red-carpet dressing and glitzy photo ops.

Through Fondazione Prada, an artistic organization she heads, Miuccia Prada is sponsoring the Milan version of New York’s Tribeca Film Festival — as well as the recovery and restoration of a string of Italian B-movies from the Thirties onward that will be presented at the international film festival in Venice in September.

“This is part of our project to expand our study from visual arts to different areas, such as cinema, music and philosophy, indispensable for the understanding of the complexities of the present,” said the intellectual designer on the sidelines of a press conference held here late last month to present the Milan edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, running Oct. 12-16.

The festival will be a yearly event open to the public. It will kick off with a gala, and Tribeca co-founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff are expected to attend.

Germano Celant, artistic director of the Prada foundation, said three documentaries and three fictional films will be shown at the initial festival. Among the documentaries will be two European premieres: the American “The Beauty Academy of Kabul” by Liz Mermin, the story of a group of American women who went to Afghanistan to teach underground lessons on the secrets of beauty, and “Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling” by Ruth Leitman, on the origins of that sport. The third documentary will be “Arna’s Children” by Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel, the story of a group of theater actors in a refugee camp in Cisgiordania, which will be shown for the first time in Italy. Among the fiction films will be the European premiere of the American “Killer Diller,” based on the novel by Clyde Edgerton.

“This collaboration with Prada has expanded our possibilities to offer films to a wider public,” said Jennifer Maguire, president of the Tribeca Film Festival, at the conference. “We have attracted more than 400,000 people to the festival [in New York] this year, and we will try to bring that energy to Milan.”

This story first appeared in the August 11, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The organizers said that during the Milan festival Fondazione Prada will focus on the relation between language, the movies and the visual arts, philosophy and science, and will organize meetings and round tables centered on media and visual culture. In addition, the foundation will produce a book, “Tribeca Talks,” a selection of photos from the New York festivals held in 2002 and 2003 and from debates with filmmakers and actors, including Lauren Bacall and Woody Allen.

The foundation is also sponsoring a project called the “Secret History of the Italian Cinema,” which will be presented at the international film festival in Venice, Sept. 1-11. The first segment of the project is titled “Italian Kings of the Bs” and includes some 20 to 25 innovative, cult and genre films that have been forgotten, neglected or misunderstood for at least a decade. The films include “I padroni della città” [“The City Bosses”] by Fernando Di Leo, which is a noir movie, and “La vendetta di Ercole” [“Hercules’ Revenge”], a mythological, period piece by Vittorio Cottafavi. Both are from the Sixties.

A foundation spokesman said the majority of the movies are from the late Fifties and the Sixties. The objective is to restore the films to their original versions. The retrospective this year is the first step in a series of activities that will continue over four years.

Directors Quentin Tarantino and Joe Dante, both connoisseurs of Italian movies, will support the retrospective, and Tarantino, an admirer of Di Leo’s, will pay a special tribute to him during the Venice festival.

High-resolution copies of the restored movies are planned to be distributed after the festival in Italian movie theaters and as DVD collections.