Jaume Balagueró, Veronica Lucchesi, and Paul McEvoy will be choosing the best film on the international lineup. It falls to Brando De Sica, Nicole Bianchi, and Maurizio Di Rienzo to pick the winner of the Caligari Prize. Guests galore at an event sporting films, books, and music, from Manzoni’s day to rap and the graphic novel

The film to win the 2023 Black Panther Award, the festival’s highest honor for the best film Noir of the year, will be decided by the international jury made up of three leading lights on the global entertainment scene.

Jaume Balagueró has a degree in communication sciences. His 1994 film Alicia was named Best Short Film at the Sitges Film Festival. Five years later, he made his first feature film Los sin nombre [Nameless], which was selected for various festivals, including Sitges, where it garnered several awards. After two more films, Darkness (2002) and Frágiles (2005), world fame arrived on the heels of [Rec], co-directed with Paco Plaza and showcased at Venice in 2007. In 2009, the two directors returned to the “most infested apartment house in Barcelona” with [Rec] 2. Plaza would direct the 2012 [Rec] 3 and Balguerò the 2014 [Rec] 4, the last in the series to date. Balaguerò next turned out the film Muse in 2017, then Way Down (2021) and Venus (2022).

Veronica Lucchesi is the founder and lead vocalist of the band La rappresentante di lista, along with Dario Mangiaracina. She did her stage training at the workshops of the Vicaria, Emma Dante’s theatrical venue and headquarters of the troupe Sud Costa Occidentale di Civilleri Lo Sicco. Lucchesi had acting roles in the shows Educazione fisicaTandem, and Boxe. With four studio albums and two live, the band has performed on countless stages in Italy and abroad in twelve years, has competed at the Sanremo Festival, and seen its albums go platinum, crowning its flourishing career. In 2022, Lucchesi and Dario Mangiaracina published their first novel, Maimamma. This year, Lucchesi has a role in Gloria, the upcoming (2024) film directed by Margherita Vicario.

Paul McEvoy is the founder and co-director of the FrightFest, the biggest genre film festival in the United Kingdom, offering premieres of fantasy films, horror movies, thrillers, and science fiction. 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the FrightFest, the main edition of which takes place in Leicester Square in London, in August. Another annual event unspools during the Glasgow Film Festival in February/March, while a special Halloween edition is newly in London. McEvoy is also a programmer for the Cine-Excess Festival. He also writes a regular column for The Dark Side Magazine. Currently McEvoy is working with filmmaker Jake West on a podcast called Stark Raving Cinema! The Film & Pop Culture Podcast.

The jury for the international competition is joined by the jury for the 2023 Caligari Prize. The latter consists of 80 members, both IULM students and film aficionados, all guided by jury president Brando De Sica, whose first film, Mimì – Il principe delle tenebre, has just come out; the Cinecittà News and 8 ½ journalist Nicole Bianchi, recent winner of the award Domenico Meccoli – Scrivere di Cinema (2023) and a member of SNGCI; and Maurizio Di Rienzo, film critic and artistic director of the ShorTS International Film Festival in Trieste.

The list of Noir in Fest guests for this 33rd edition is long and wonderfully diverse, starting, naturally, with Daniel Pennac, winner of the 2023 Raymond Chandler Award and author of the popular Malaussène series. Pennac will clearly be the star of Noir’s opening day on December 1, when the French author will make fours stops in Milan to meet audiences: at 3:30 pm, in the Auditorium at IULM 6; at 5:30 pm, at the Institut français Milano, to introduce the screening of The Scapegoat directed by Nicolas Bary; at 6:15 pm at the Feltrinelli Duomo, to sign copies of Capolinea Malaussène [Terminus Malaussène] (Feltrinelli), and lastly, at 7 pm, at the Casa Manzoni, to receive the Raymond Chandler Award.

On hand to present the films in competition, all screened at the Cineteca Milano Arlecchino: for Runner, director Nicola Barnaba and stars Matilde Gioli and Francesco Montanari; per Operation Napoleon, Icelandic filmmaker Oskar Thor Axelsson; per The City, Israeli director and actress Amit Ulman and Moria Akons; and for Le procès Goldman, Belgian actor Arieh Worthalter. The films screening out of competition and the special events will be introduced by: rapper Jake La Furia, the narrator’s voice of the animated series Italica Noir, together with the director Federico Cadenazzi and screenwriter Girolamo Lucania; Luxembourgish filmmaker Loïc Tanson (The Ashes of Time); director Alfonso Bergamo and stars Paolo BrigugliaTony SperandeoRoberta Giarrusso, and Randall Paul (The Garbage Man).

At a special talk on Monday, December 4th, at 5 pm, IULM 6 – Sala dei 146, the directors of the six finalist films for the Caligari Prize will compare notes: Lyda Patitucci (Come pecore in mezzo ai lupi), Antonio Pisu (Nina dei lupi), Andrea Di Stefano (L’ultima notte di Amore), Davide Gentile (Denti da squalo), Ivano De Matteo (Mia), and Sydney Sibilia (Mixed by Erry).

Literary lions will be in abundance at the 33rd edition of Noir, and they’ll meet audiences December 1-6 at Rizzoli Galleria: Harald Gilbers (Morte sotto le macerie. Il commissario Oppenheimer e la banda dei fazzoletti gialli, Emons Libri); Giancarlo De Cataldo (Colpo di ritorno, Einaudi); Marcello Simoni (La taverna degli assassini, Newton Compton); Donato Carrisi (L’educazione delle farfalle, Longanesi); Gianni Canova (Palpebre, Garzanti) with Ambra Angiolini; Ashley Audrain (Sussurri [The Whispers], Rizzoli); Cinzia Bomoll (Non dire gatto. Un’indagine di Nives Bonora, Ponte alle Grazie) together with Nina ZilliGiampaolo Simi (Il cliente di riguardo, Sellerio); Fausto Gimondi (Fortuna criminale, Longanesi) with Camila RaznovichDeepti Kapoor (L’età del male [Age of Vice], Einaudi) with Alessandra Tedesco, and Alberto Toso Fei (Il piede destro di Byron, Marsilio).

As well as hosting Daniel Pennac, IULM will be holding two literary talks in the Sala dei 146 in the modern complex IULM 6: Giovanni Robertini, with his Morte di un trapper (Harper Collins) dialogues with John Vignola; while director Fulvio Risuleo and illustrator Antonio Pronostico discuss their graphic novel L’eletto (Coconino). And four world-class film personalities take the IULM stage: Gabriele Salvatores meets Paola Jacobbi and Gianni Canova on December 6th at 11:30 am, to chat about his own brand of genre films; Pivio & Aldo De Scalzi share their noir score and vinyl albums for Diabolik; and Adrian Wootton holds a masterclass on Cormac McCarthy and cinema.

It ain’t over yet! On December 2nd, the Casa Manzoni welcomes the speakers for the hotly-awaited conference “Manzoni and Noir” on historical mysteries and the story of Marianna de Leyva, the famous Nun of Monza from the classic The Betrothed: Mauro NovelliDaniela BrogiBen PastorGiancarlo De CataldoLuca Crovi, Marcello Simoni, and Marco Bellocchio all join the debate.

Last but hardly least, the winner of the novel most voted by Noir audiences, Carlo Piano (Il torto, E/O) and the five contenders for the 2023 Giorgio Scerbanenco Award: Francesco Abate (Il misfatto della tonnara, Einaudi), Cristina Brondoni (L’inferno degli eletti, Clown Bianco), Cristina Cassar Scalia (La banda dei carusi, Einaudi), Gabriella Genisi (L’angelo di Castelforte, Rizzoli), and Bruno Morchio (La fine è ignota, Rizzoli).

The complete program can be consulted and downloaded at the Noir website, and all updates will be posted on the official Noir pages on Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter, and YouTube, while most of the talks will be livestreamed.

How to attend the festival in person? Entrance to most events is free, on a first-come, first-served basis, except for the paid-admission screenings at the Cineteca Milano Arlecchino, where tickets cost 5 euros. Press accreditation may be requested at studio@sottocorno.it.