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Rome television Fest lures moguls

Fiction event ties with World Economic Forum

ROME — The budding Rome Fiction Fest, dedicated to international skeins, is playing with the big boys by forging a tie with the World Economic Forum in hopes that global moguls will warm to Italo dramas.

Having secured a $10 million budget for this year’s third edition, the July 6-11 Rome TV shindig is linking up with the Swiss org known for its Davos powwow to host high-profile meets on media and entertainment in the Eternal City on July 5 and 6. Heavy-weight toppers expected to attend include Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Bewkes and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Concurrently, the Rome showcase is launching a mart to boost international sales of Italo skeins, which are starting to travel.

For example, RAI’s Sicily-set skein “Montalbano” recently played on BBC4 in Blighty, Mediaset’s “RIS” crime format airs on TF1 in France, and Sky Italia has sold its gritty Rome-based “Crime Novel” series to Gaul’s Canal Plus.

“It’s too early to say whether Italian fiction is really that exportable but we are certainly trying,” says Rome Fiction Fest general manager Michele Misuraca.

On July 5, the World Economic Forum will hold its yearly closed-door meeting on the media in Rome, followed July 6 by a confab in tandem with the fest on topics that are still being decided.

“This will provide the Italian TV industry with a great opportunity to network with leaders of the world’s biggest media groups,” Misuraca says.

As for actual buyers, the Rome Fiction Fest, a sister event to the Rome Film Festival, will be inviting up to 100 broadcasting execs from markets including Russia, Mexico, Australia and Northern and Eastern Europe. The Rome TV Screenings mart is headed by former RAI exec Carlo Macchitella.

Counterbalancing the hefty homegrown contingent will be a strong presence of Hollywood shows — last year “In Treatment,” “Medium” and “Cashmere Mafia” were in the main competition — though fest artistic director Steve Della Casa is keeping mum about his lineup.

However, Della Casa has secured “CSI: NY” star Hill Harper to head one of the Rome Fiction Fest juries.

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