Filmmakers take aim at Alemanno's plan

Top moviemakers have attacked plans by Rome’s mayor-elect Gianni Alemanno to shut Hollywood out of the city’s annual film fest and reduce its scope.

Helmer Milos Forman said it would be “really absurd to downsize an event” that in “just two years had managed to become a capital of cinema like Venice.”

Vet helmer Arthur Penn said the Rome fest was a “marvelous, international event” that gave prominence to Italian filmmakers such as Bernardo Bertolucci and the Taviani brothers.

Jonathan Demme warned that canceling the fest would be a huge mistake. “If you’re talking about defending the Italian film industry, I would be the first person to come to Rome to show the work of Italian directors,” he said.

On Sunday, Alemanno repeated his vow to do away with “a catwalk of Hollywood stars, who were just about image. This doesn’t interest Romans, and it doesn’t interest our film industry,” he said.

Last week, Italian helmer Pasquale Squitieri, who has been tipped as Alemanno’s choice to take over the event, said the fest squanders funds and lamented “the money wasted on 18 rooms for Nicole Kidman’s bodyguards and another 20 for Leonardo DiCaprio’s.”

Observers say the antipathy toward Hollywood of right-winger Alemanno, a former youth leader of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, was not helped by Italophile George Clooney’s support for the center-left in last month’s general election.

In the event, Clooney’s pal and center-left leader Walter Veltroni, who created the Rome film fest two years ago, lost at the polls to Silvio Berlusconi.

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