Born in Naples, Valeria Golina is that rare actress who can manage a film career in two countries: The U. S. and Italy. She was recently featured in Mike Figgis' Hotel, Andreas Pantzis' Word of Honor (To Tama) and Rodrigo Garcia's Things You Can Tell Just by Looking At Her. Golino's international career took off in 1988 when she starred opposite Tom Cruise in Rain Man; directed by Barry Levinson, Rain Main won 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. Golino has also appeared in Sean Penn's The Indian Runner (1991), John Frankenheimer's The Year Of The Gun (1991) and Jim Abraham's Hot Shots. Other starring roles in Italian films include Peter Del Monte's Controvento, Silvio Soldini's Le Acarobate, Francesca Archibugi's L'Albero Delle Pere (The Pear Tree/Shooting the Moon) and Francesco Maselli's Storia d'Amore, for which she won The Best Actress Award the 1986 Venice Film Festival. In the fall of 2002, she will be seen in Julie Taymor's Frida.
The winner of The Critics Week Prize at this year's Cannes International Film Festival, Respiro is Emanuele Crialese's second feature film. Shot entirely on Lampedusa, Respiro marks the first time that Crialese has made a film in his native country. His first film, Once We Were Strangers (shot in English in New York City) was shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Born in Rome in 1965, Crialese is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.