Alemanno takes aim at annual event

The Rome Film Festival looks set for change after the Silvio Berlusconi-backed candidate on Monday became the Italian capital’s first right-wing mayor since World War II.

Gianni Alemanno said before the elections that his first move as mayor would be to replace fest prexy Goffredo Bettini, a close collaborator of former Rome mayor and fest founder Walter Veltroni, with rightwing helmer Pasquale Squitieri.

Squitieri, who is Claudia Cardinale’s husband, recently called the Rome fest “useless” and just “another red carpet” for Hollywood movies.”

However, the center-left won the provincial government of Rome, which also has a say in how the fest is run.

Insiders say Alemanno is not likely to shutter the fest because that would make him unpopular with many locals and with the Italian film industry, which is based almost entirely in the capital.

However, management changes at the three-year-old fest are on the horizon and also a possible cut in budget, although most of the $24 million raised last year came from private sponsors.

Alemanno, a leader of the former neo-Fascist National Alliance and a former Agriculture Minister, defeated Francesco Rutelli, who is the outgoing government’s Culture Czar.

Rutelli had high hopes of replacing Veltroni, the cinephile pol who stepped down as mayor to run against Berlusconi in the general election, which Veltroni lost.

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