Rome mayor Walter Veltroni jetted to Los Angeles last week on an official visit that had more to do with film fest power plays than municipal diplomacy.
The Eternal City’s film buff mayor, who is the driving force behind the new RomeFilmFest, held meetings with Hollywood honchos on a mission to build rapport and help secure plenty of star power for the fest’s second edition, which will run Oct. 18-27.
Besides the requisite meeet-and-greet with his counterpart, L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Veltroni made stops to see Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman-CEO Barry Meyer, DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg, and toppers at Sony, Fox, Universal and New Line, as well as chiefs at percenteries CAA, ICM and UTA.
The inaugural edition of the RomeFilmFest opened with Nicole Kidman starrer “Fur” last year, fueling speculation that the fest had “run through Hollywood with a checkbook” to buy star presence, as Berlin topper Dieter Kosslick recently put it.
While Rome has repeatedly denied it spent inordinately to attract stars like Kidman and Sean Connery, there is no doubt it is flexing muscle in Tinseltown with political artillery that more established rivals, like Venice and Berlin, simply don’t have at their disposal.