ROME — After two years of budget blues, the Taormina Intl. Film Festival is back on its feet. But regulars with memories of warm summer evenings watching films in the town’s atmospheric Greek amphitheater are in for a change of pace this year with a once-only, indoor winter edition running Dec. 26-29.

Taormina Arte, the annual cultural festival that includes the film event as well as music, dance, video and theater programs, skipped its standard July appointment this year and was greatly reduced in 1995 due to delays in financing from Sicily’s regional government.

Those funding glitches now have been resolved, and the promised $4.6 million annual budget has become available, allowing the event to go ahead from Nov. 30 to Jan. 12, 1997. Regional government coin has been guaranteed for the next three editions, and starting in July 1997, Tao Arte will return to its traditional summer slot.

“Finally, we’re no longer talking about the state of emergency that until now has had us hiccuping along year by year,” film fest director Enrico Ghezzi said.

While the last-minute clearance of bureaucratic and economic hurdles prevents Taocinema from reassuming its former dimensions until the July 1997 edition, this year’s winter meet will be highlighted by a major confab on Italian cinema, focusing more on poetics than politics.

Roundtable debates on the funding and production difficulties crippling the national film industry have proliferated to numbing extremes in recent years. Ghezzi’s aim is to look instead at the form and content of contemporary Italian film as a means of examining its capacity for survival.

More than 30 directors have confirmed their participation in the confab, including Gianni Amelio, Bernardo Bertolucci and Marco Ferreri.

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