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Rome eager to host new int’l TV festival

Italo capital home to European version of Banff

ROME — Efforts are under way for Rome and Lazio, the region that surrounds the Italo capital, to host a new high-profile international television festival, with aspirations to become a European version of Canada’s Banff TV fest.

Tentative plan is for the competitive Eternal City event dedicated to worldwide TV drama to kick off with its first edition in July. However, financing is not yet in place.

Italy’s TV producers’ association, APT, is spearheading the effort, backed by top Italo broadcasters RAI and Mediaset.

Two powerful politicians have adopted the project and are shopping it to public and private sponsors. They are Lazio prexy Piero Marrazzo, a former RAI talkshow host, and the region’s general secretary, Francesco Gesualdi, a former Cinecitta Studios topper.

The driving force behind the event is APT vice president Carlo Bixio, a Rome-based TV producer. Former Banff topper Pat Ferns is on board as a consultant to organize his trademark Market Simulation pitching sessions in Rome.

Fest is to be headed by Marlene Sternbaum, a former Munich Film Fest topper, who in 2002 ran APT’s short-lived Venice Television Festival, shuttered after its first edition for lack of funding.

Bixio told Daily Variety this time they are looking to have a lavish E10 million ($12.5 million) budget, which would place the event on a monetary scale with the nascent RomeFilmFest, which kicks off Friday. Outcome of Rome’s new film fest will be crucial in determining the planned TV fest’s fate.

Italy already hosts the Prix Italia, the world’s oldest broadcasting shindig, which is held in September, generally in a different city each year.

Also based nearby are the Monte Carlo Television Festival’s Golden Nymph Awards and Switzerland’s Rose d’Or Awards, which focus on entertainment programming.

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