Fall Fest Preview 2011

Perhaps because it’s feeling a bit besieged locally, Rome is creating a bridgehead with London this year. The Rome fest will feature a high-profile Focus U.K., comprising a showcase of hot recent Brit productions and a retro titled Punks & Patriots. Both events are being organized in tandem with the BFI London Film Festival.

Gaia Morrione, who is in charge of the Rome focus section, is delighted to have worked closely with outgoing London fest artistic director Sandra Hebron, noting that there was “zero antagonism,” which for Italy is certainly a rarity. They also enlisted British critic and BFI collaborator Jonathan Romney.

The idea behind Punks & Patriots is to ask five British artists — one of whom is auteur Terence Davies (“The House of Mirth”), another is Joanna Hogg (“Archipelago”) — to pick two films each, one representing England’s rebellious side, the other its reverence toward tradition.

Punk & Patriots will also be the theme of both the fest’s opening event and its eclectic red carpet design, being created by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Simon Lycett, who works regularly for the royal family (most recently the flowers for Prince William’s wedding) after his career was launched by his designs for “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Taking on a multi-disciplinary approach, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon will come to Rome with his “24-Hour Psycho Back and Forth” installation, presented last year in Toronto, which manipulates the time of the Alfred Hitchcock pic.

There will also be a showcase of seven prominent recent British pics, unreleased in Italy, two of these likely to be co-selected with the London fest.

“It was absolutely key for us to collaborate fully with London,” says Morrione, noting that this year dates of the two often-overlapping events fit in conveniently, with Rome running Oct. 27-Nov. 4, starting the day London closes.

Part of Rome’s London-outreach effort is to bring over prominent British producers, such as David Puttnam (“Chariots of Fire”), who has been tapped as a juror.

Bonding on the industry side, two British projects selected by the London Film Festival will participate in Rome’s New Cinema Network co-production mart.

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