Speculation rife that new regime could oust de Hadeln

ROME — Moritz de Hadeln’s expected reappointment at the Venice Intl. Film Festival’s helm may be jeopardized by an overhaul of the Venice Biennale, the event’s parent organization.

The government has announced plans for a Biennale revamp, making the fest a separate entity managed in part by Cinecitta Holding, which oversees Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. The radical reconfiguration is due by year’s end, according to Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani.

While details are sketchy, speculation is rife among industryites that a new regime could oust de Hadeln.

Sources said moves to unseat Venice’s artistic director are being prompted by controversy following fest’s 60th edition: The Golden Lion went to Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “The Return,” while vet Italian helmer Marco Bellocchio’s “Good Morning, Night” — considered a top contender — received only the more marginal outstanding individual contribution prize for its screenplay.

After the result, RAI Cinema president and “Good Morning, Night” producer Giancarlo Leone fired off an angry letter to the Biennale vowing he would never submit a movie to Venice again. Leone later made peace with Biennale president Franco Bernabe.

But animosity toward Venice management has persisted in some circles.

Bernabe praised de Hadeln’s work during the fest’s closing ceremony in September and said his annual contract would be renewed.

He confirmed that statement Tuesday, but added the final decision is up to the Biennale board.

Furthermore, even if de Hadeln does get the greenlight to head Venice next year, the Biennale’s new structure could undermine his autonomy in terms of power to decide Venice’s lineup and jury.

Swiss-born De Hadeln, the Venice Film Fest’s first non-Italian director, became chief in 2002.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more