Former Locarno fest chief switches to export role

ROME — Former Locarno fest chief Irene Bignardi has been appointed prexy of FilmItalia, Italy’s promotional body for film exports.

Bignardi takes on the key Italo industry post following a recent management sweep at FilmItalia’s parent organization, Cinecitta Holding, by new Italo culture czar Francesco Rutelli, who fired the holding’s executive board in June.

The Italo promo body, which has long aspired to parallel the role of France’s UniFrance, but always lacked the economic and managerial resources, faltered financially under the previous government of Silvio Berlusconi, whose budget cuts caused previous topper, sales agent Adriana Chiesa, to resign in protest in May.

Bignardi, a La Repubblica film and literature critic and a veteran cultural operator, stepped down from Locarno’s helm last year, after a five-edition stint.

Rutelli on Friday (July 28) also appointed Alessandro Battisti, a lawyer and former senator in his center-left force, as new Cinecitta Holding topper.

Besides overseeing FilmItalia, Cinecitta Holding is also the parent company of Cinecitta Studios, where HBO’s “Rome” skein is currently shooting. But the partly-privatized studio unit is managed as a separate entity.

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