Rome fest kicks off with pap protest

Photographers in spat with fest organizers

ROME — The Rome Film Festival kicked off Thursday with Bosnian helmer Danis Tanovic’s wartime trauma drama “Triage” and a protest from paparazzi at the pic’s daytime photo call.

Stars Paz Vega and Christopher Lee were on hand to tubthump “Triage,” though protag Colin Farrell — who ironically plays a combat photographer in the pic — did not make the trek.

“Triage” stars found themselves in the midst of a spat between Rome organizers and photographers who, incensed about cramped space and poor lighting in the Auditorium’s tiny photo call area, early in the day put their cameras on the floor and crossed their arms to boycott the fest’s first photo call.

Assurances from fest brass that working conditions would improve later yielded a truce and the paparazzi had their flashbulbs popping for the “Triage” evening red carpet.

“Triage,” which Tanovic described at the presser as “being about war after the bullets stop,” repped a deliberately low-glitz Rome opener.

But a steady stream of stars is planned over the next few days with Richard Gere, George Clooney and Helen Mirren expected on the Rome catwalk over the weekend, respectively for Lasse Hallstrom’s out-of-competish “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,” Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” and Michael Hoffman’s Leo Tolstoy biopic “The Last Station,” both in competish.

The jury is headed by Milos Forman.

Rome’s large metropolitan extravaganza has already sold more than 20,000 tickets, meaning that most of the high-profile titles among the 130 screenings sold out before the fest even started.

Meanwhile, industry attendance is up 15% for the fest’s informal Business Street mart located on the Via Veneto, where Rome’s Lazio region Wednesday evening hosted a posh, packed, pre-opening-day cocktail party at the Hotel Majestic. On Thursday Italo motion picture association Anica held a well-attended workshop touting Italy’s new production tax credits.

The Rome fest’s fourth edition runs through Oct. 23.

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