Luxurious confab hooks Hollywood players

ROME — It takes an island, in winter.

In a year that has seen Hollywood’s heft dwindle at the Venice and Rome fests, the uniquely intimate shindig known as Capri, Hollywood, now in its 13th edition, is quietly turning into a contender to become Italy’s true Tinseltown magnet.

Lured by the cozy feel of the magical Mediterranean isle in off-season mode, coupled with the comfort of some of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants, minimal paparazzi presence, hot pics, and a chance to party away the post-Christmas period, culminating in a New Year’s bash, the Capri, Hollywood club is steadily growing its membership ranks, but also gaining a degree of gravitas in the process.

“We are not a classic festival,” concedes Pascal Vicedomini, the RAI showbiz journalist who lauched the then-conceptually profane event in 1995 amid skepticism from arty Italo industry quarters. “We are not a competitive event set up to give a prize to the latest Russian or Korean movie,” he candidly explains.

The Italo operator has since set up a sister summer fest, Ischia Global, on a neighboring isle, while also launching a pre-Oscars showcase for Italian movies in L.A. called Los Angeles, Italia.

“Every festival has its specificity; ours is to connect with the Oscar season,” says producer Mark Canton, who is festival chairman. “It’s not a place to play golf; it’s focused on the movies, but it’s also a great opportunity to network and, being around New Year’s Eve — why not? — also a great place to party.”

Producers Ryan Kavanaugh, Canton and Lawrence Bender, who is arriving from the German set of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” will exchange takes with Italo industry heavyweights in a panel on the present pulse of the film industry amid the financial turmoil, and its impact on the prospects for global partnerships.

Ultimately, given the scarce presence of the public at screenings — there just aren’t that many people on the isle in winter — Capri’s forte is bringing together top talent and industryites from both sides of the Pond in a laid-back setting.

“Capri, Hollywood is something more than a festival. In time it has become a unique regular meeting place between the American and Italian cultures and industries,” Italo helmer Roberto Faenza says.

“Seeing many of the people behind the best overseas movies trading views with their lesser-known Italian colleagues is something that doesn’t happen even in more acclaimed international events,” says Faenza, adding, “Don’t you think there’s something to be said for that?”

TIP SHEET

When: Dec. 27-Jan. 2

Where: Capri, Italy

Web: caprihollywood.com

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