New festival and acting school for Rudolph Valentino
(ANSA) - The Italian home town of silent movie great Rudolph Valentino is continuing its campaign to revive the actor's legend with a new cinema fest. The small town of Castellaneta in Puglia, on the instep of the Italian boot, will host the first edition of Valentino Film Festival next spring.
The event will be split in three competitive sections - one for shorts, one for video clips and another for adverts - and aims to provide a platform for emerging talent. The festival will run from April 29 to May 6 2006, ending on the 111th anniversary of the fabled star's birth.
The Magna Grecia Awards Association, which is organizing the show, said it is also about to open a new acting school, the Valentino Film Studio, for aspiring artists aged 18-30. "We are looking for new talents who can emulate the legendary Rudolph Valentino, a figure that Castellaneta and Italy as a whole should take more advantage of in order to guarantee benefits both for art and tourism," explained the school's director, Italian actress Jenny Tamburi.
Castellaneta has been highly active recently in staging initiatives to recall its most famous child. The Puglia town opened a museum devoted to the actor, considered cinema's first superstar, on March 6, marking the
day in 1921 when the brooding heart-throb burst onto the screen in The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. This silent classic is credited with introducing the Argentine tango to America.
The museum contains memorabilia and photos unearthed by Italy's National Film Archive in Rome. It also houses some personal documents and fragments of poems written by the young Valentino when he was still known as Rodolfo Guglielmi and had serious literary aspirations. Another attraction are excerpts from the original screenplay of one of Valentino's greatest triumphs, The Son Of The Sheikh, completed just before he died.
As well as clips from Valentino's epoch-making films, the museum shows scenes from his funeral on August 23 1926, when hundreds of distraught women threw themselves on his coffin in a fit of mass hysteria. Valentino died of a perforated ulcer and blood poisoning at the age of 31. An estimated 80,000 mourners attended the funeral in New York before his body was taken back to California by train, the casket mobbed at every stop along the way.
The museum's opening was followed by a series of Valentino events in different parts of Italy, including
fashion shows, theatrical reviews, poetry recitals and documentary screenings.