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Gondolier keeps job

Gov't backs off, de Hadeln stays Venice head

ROME — The Italian government backpedaled Thursday on a revamp that could have undermined the autonomy of Venice Film Festival parent org the Venice Biennale, paving the way for fest chief Moritz de Hadeln’s annual contract to be renewed.

The Culture Ministry quelled controversy mounting in past days after draft plans for a radical Biennale overhaul were revealed. Those proposed changes could have unseated de Hadeln, who is caught in a power struggle between the Biennale and the government, which wants more control of the event’s management.

Large sectors of Italy’s film industry rallied to de Hadeln’s defense.

On Thursday Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani said Biennale prexy Franco Bernabe and its board are to devise the restructuring plan and will continue to control who heads the fest and how it is run.

The Biennale is a partially privatized foundation whose president is picked by the government and given operative control.

Vote of approval

Bernabe has repeatedly said he wants de Hadeln to stay at Venice’s helm.

“It has been a tempest in a media teapot,” De Hadeln told Daily Variety, adding that he expected to be reconfirmed in coming weeks.

Urbani also announced that funds are being earmarked for structural improvements on the Lido. He is expected to reveal more details Monday,when he is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Mifed market in Milan.

Swiss-born de Hadeln — the fest’s first non-Italian director — became Venice chief in 2002.

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