Italian festival head responds to Kosslick remarks

ROME — Rancor is rising between the Berlin and Rome film fests following recent remarks by Berlin topper Dieter Kosslick accusing Rome of running through Hollywood with a checkbook to buy star presence.

“We are sorry that our event’s great success is causing jealousy and a mud-slinging campaign that is so extreme as to really seem ridiculous,” RomeFilmFest prexy Goffredo Bettini said in an open letter published by daily L’Unita on Friday.

Kosslick earlier in the week was quoted by German publication Promedia as slamming a trend of spending large amounts to book stars, citing the RomeFilmFest and the Dubai Film Festival as prime perpetrators.

“I know that everywhere, like, for example, in Rome and also recently in Dubai, stars are bought with big money,” Kosslick told Promedia.

“The star power, which at the same time also distinguishes the Berlinale, must remain affordable. I cannot run through Hollywood with a checkbook as some festivals are doing now,” he was also quoted as saying.

Rome, which opened in October with Nicole Kidman starrer “Fur,” has repeatedly denied it spent inordinately high figures to attract stars like Kidman and Sean Connery, who was feted by the fest.

“As far as great Hollywood artists and directors go, we covered their transportation and accommodations, in collaboration with their producers and distributors,” Bettini said.

The Rome prexy in the letter also added fuel to the fire by opining that even after just one edition his fest has placed itself among the first “four or five” in the world despite having a smaller budget than Berlin.

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