The Italian Almanac

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Rutger Hauer

International Short Film Festival

Hollywood star Rutger Hauer is set to bring the first International Short Film Festival to Milan in September with a star-studded jury that includes American actor Richard Gere, British director Ridley Scott and Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. A total of 66 short films will be shown during the five-day event, whittled down from the 1,500 entries to the festival.

''Short films are fantastic forms to experiment with artistic freedom,'' said festival president Hauer, best known for roles as a humanoid 'replicant' in Scott's 1982 dystopian cult classic Blade Runner and as a psychopath in Robert Harmon's 1986 horror The Hitcher. ''As well as being excellent practice for writing full-length films, I think they are the budding of a new cinema Renaissance,'' he added.

The films will be judged in six categories: fiction, cartoon, documentary, experimental and videoclip, with a special section reserved for films relating to AIDS and HIV. The event, sponsored by Milan city council, is organised by Cortoweb.it, which streams short films over the Internet. ''The aim of the festival is to promote and unite filmmakers through Internet streaming so that their works will get new exposure and have a fresh platform of visibility,'' Hauer added.

The International Short Film Festival, will run September 22-26 at Milan's Multiplex Skyline cinema.