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Croff to top Biennale; fest prez choice next

Editor Detassis, vet thesp Giannini are contenders

ROME — Italy’s upper house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, has tapped former banker Davide Croff as prexy of the Venice Biennale, a breakthrough in the politics paralyzing the Venice Intl. Film Festival, which could soon have a new topper.

“I have already laid the groundwork to meet the most pressing deadlines and to guarantee full operational capacity,” the new head of the fest’s parent org said.

Top of Croff’s agenda is deciding who will head Venice’s next edition in late summer — and that looks increasingly unlikely to be current artistic director Moritz de Hadeln.

Names circulating for the job include Piera Detassis, editor of Italo film mag Ciak, and vet thesp Giancarlo Giannini, who would operate with the help of a qualified assistant, possibly former Locarno fest topper Marco Muller.

Croff, until recently managing director of mammoth state bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, was tapped Biennale boss earlier this month by Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani. His appointment hit a snag when — in a non-binding vote — a commission from the Senate, Parliament’s lower house, voted against it due to political infighting.

A native Venetian, Croff is widely considered a solid replacement for outgoing Biennale topper Franco Bernabe, ousted after a protracted power struggle with Urbani. That dispute centered largely around artistic director de Hadeln.

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