With his vibrant imagination and his storytelling, Quentin Tarantino has established himself as one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation. His distinct, innovative films are infused with appreciative nods to classic moviemaking styles, genres and motifs. He made a bold debut with Reservoir Dogs, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. Tarantino also directed and starred in Pulp Fiction, which won numerous critics’ awards, an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and the Golden Palm at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. In 1997, he wrote and directed Jackie Brown, a comic crime caper based on Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. With one of his most memorable characters, “The Bride”, Tarantino took his audiences to a whirlwind tour of the world with Kill Bill vol. 1 and Kill Bill vol. 2. In 2007, with longtime collaborator Robert Rodriguez he directed Grindhouse, an unprecedented project which presented two complete films as a double feature. His most recent film Inglourious Basterds received eight Academy Award nominations, four Golden Globe nominations and a DGA nomination for Best Director. His films as executive producer include: Eli Roth’s Hostel, first-time director Katrina Bronson’s Daltry Calhoun, Roger Avary’s Killing Zoe and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn. A longtime fan of Asian cinema, Tarantino presented Yuen Wo Ping’s Iron Monkey to American audiences in 2001 and Zhang Yimou’s Hero in 2004.
Born in Mexico City in 1958, is considered one of the most influential writers of contemporary literature, and is, without a doubt, one of the most important writers in the Spanish language. He is one of the most interesting and revolutionary screenwriters working in world cinema. Guillermo Arriaga has written three novels: Escuadrón Guillotina (The Guillotine Squad), Un dulce olor a muerte (A Sweet Scent of Death) and El búfalo de la noche (The Night Buffalo) along with one book of short stories: Retorno 201 (201 Return). His work has been translated into various languages. Arriaga is also the author of screenplays of great success such as: Amores Perros, 21 Grams, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which earned him the Golden Palm for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Festival in 2005, Babelwhich made him an Academy Awards nominee for Best Screenplay in 2007, and El búfalo de la noche (The Night Buffalo). The Burning Plain, with Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger, presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2008, was his first movie as a director. In 2010 he wrote and directed El Pozo (The Well), a short film about the Mexican Revolution.
Ingeborga Dapkunaite (Lithuania)
Born in Vilnius in Lithuania and graduating in Theatre Studies from the Lithuanian State Conservatory, she is one of the most talented actresses from former Soviet Union. Her fame was consecrated in the films Tsiniki (1991) and Katya Ismailova (1994), for which she won Best Actress Award at the Geneva International Film Festival and the Russian Film Academy Award (NIKA) for Best Female Performance. For Nikita Mikhalkov’s Utomlyonnye solntsem (Burnt by the Sun, 1994) she won the Best Female Performance prize from the Moscow Critics’ Association. She starred in De Palma’s Mission: Impossibile (1996), in Annaud’s Seven Years in Tibet (1997), and then in Aleksandr Zeldovich’s Moskva (Moscow), presented at the Venice Film Festival in the SIC program line in 2000. In 2003, she starred in Emily Young’s Kiss of Life, presented in Cannes, where, in the same year, she was a member of the Cinéfondation jury and of the short film section. In 2004, she appeared in Stéphane Vuillet’s 25 dégrés en hiver, winner of the Publikumspreis at the Berlin Film Festival. In 2009, she appeared in Christian Carion’s L’affaire Farewell. She combines her film work with theatre, sharing the stage with John Malkovich in Slip of the Tongue: she performed in Cloaca at the Old Vic Theatre under Kevin Spacey’s artistic direction. She continues to appear in films and TV productions, as well as performing on the London stage.
Arnaud Desplechin (France)
Discovered in 1991 thanks to the medium-length La vie des morts, selected at the Festival Premiers Plans in Angers and at the Semaine de la Critique at the Cannes Film Festival, Arnaud Desplechin has taken on the guise of the leader of young French cinema of the 1990s. After a first full-length film, La sentinelle, which marked his first selection in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival (three others would follow), he made Comment je me suis disputé (ma vie sexuelle) which revealed a new generation of comedians, headed by Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Devos. He participates in the Venice Film Festival in 2004 with Rois et Reine, then again in 2007 with L’Aimée. It is in his relationship with the actors that Desplechin’s filmmaking shows itself to be so unusual, as they are regularly rewarded with the most prestigious prizes: César for Most Promising Young Actor to Emmanuel Salinger in La Sentinelleand for Mathieu Amalric in Comment je me suis disputé…, César for Best Actor to Mathieu Amalric in Rois et Reine, César for Best Male Supporting Role to Jean-Paul Roussillon in Un conte de Noël, a 61st Cannes Film Festival Prize to Catherine Deneuve in Un conte de Noël…
Danny Elfman (USA)
An eclectic, talented and multifaceted musician, actor, singer and composer. In the 1970s, he joined an avant-garde comedy/music/theatre group founded by his brother Richard that would later become the ska-rock band “Oingo Boingo” of which he was the lead singer until the 1990s. Able to mix the most diverse styles, from classical to rock, to jazz, to goth, always with a sardonic touch, Elfman has been working in motion pictures since 1985, when director Tim Burton asked him to write the music for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. The Elfman-Burton collaboration grew tighter with the music for Beetlejuice and Batman, which earned Elfman a Grammy, and continued with Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks!, The Corpse Bride, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Elfman’s music for Good Will Hunting, Men In Black, Big Fish and Milk earned him four Oscar nominations. He has also composed the scores for such diverse films as Midnight Run, Spider-Man 1 & 2, Dick Tracy, Sommersby, Mission: Impossible Hellboy 2, Next Three Days and many others. Elfman is also well known for his classic television themes to The Simpsons, Tales from the Crypt and Desperate Housewives. Elfman’s first full-length orchestral commission, Serenada Schizophrana premiered at Carnegie Hall. He made his ballet debut with the American Ballet Theatre with Rabbit and Rogue with choreography by Twyla Tharp.
Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
Born in Palermo in 1971, made his film debut with a series of documentaries in the early 1990s (Salvatore, Un film casalingo fatto a mano, 1994; Algerie, 1995). In 1997, he presented a short film, Qui, at the Taormina Festival. His debut in feature films came with The Protagonists in 1999, presented at the Venice Film Festival. This was followed by Mundo Civilizado, presented at the Locarno Festival in 2003; Cuoco Contadino (2004), presented at the Venice Film Festival and Melissa P. (2005). He also produces works in various formats, with intimate and fresh portraits of the artists involved: Tilda Swinton - The Love Factory 1 (2002), presented at the Venice Film Festival; Arto Lindsay - The Love Factory 2 (2006) and Pippo Delbono - The Love Factory 3 (2008), which both premiered at the Turin Film Festival. In 2009 he returned to the Venice Film Festival with Io sono l’amore (later screened at the Toronto, Pusan, Sundance and Berlin film festivals). After attaining admirable critical and public success, Io sono l’amore also gained widespread distribution, being released in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, the USA and elsewhere. Guadagnino works as a journalist for “Il Manifesto/Alias” and “Rolling Stone Italia”.
Gabriele Salvatores (Italy)
Born in Naples in 1950. He moved to Milan, where he graduated from the Piccolo Teatro Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1972 he was one of the co-founders of the Teatro dell’Elfo, which in a few years became the reference point for an entire generation of young theatregoers. Between the 1970s and 1980s, Salvatores directed various theatrical pieces, some of which attained great success. In 1981, he made a rock musical based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 1982, the work became Salvatores’s first film, marking his passage from theatre director to new projects. In 1986, he founded Colorado Film Production with Maurizio Totti and Diego Abatantuono, garnering immediate success with Salvatores’s second film, Kamikazen - ultima notte a Milano. Marrakech Express (1989) and Turné (1990) were followed in 1991 by Mediterraneo, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1992. In 1992, Salvatores made Puerto Escondido, which won critical and public acclaim. Sud was released the following year. Two films followed: Nirvana (1997) and Denti, presented at the 57th Venice Film Festival. In 2002 he made Amnèsia and in 2003 Io non ho paura, presented at the Berlin Film Festival and selected as the Italian candidate for the Oscars in 2004. In 2005, he made Quo Vadis Baby? followed by Come Dio comanda, based on Niccolò Ammaniti’s novel. In 2009, another success was released: Happy Family, an adaptation of the homonymous play by Alessandro Genovesi.