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Scorsese, MOMA boost Perugia

Fest preview includes Pennebaker spotlight

Italy’s Perugia Film Festival is shaping up as a high-profile event, having forged a partnership with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and a close rapport with New York’s Museum of Modern Art in addition to its existing ties to the Hamptons film fest.

Headed by Hamptons topper Karen Arikian, the non-competitive fest, located in the Umbrian hillside university town not far from Rome, held a preview event in Perugia over the weekend, ahead of its first edition, set to run March 22-25.

Perugia’s soft launch comprised spotlights on helmer D.A. Pennebaker and his directing partner and wife, Chris Hegedus; and on photographer/filmmaker Bruce Weber, all of whom were in attendance. MoMa’s chief curator of film, Rajendra Roy, moderated the conversations.

A restored copy of Italo master Luchino Visconti’s “Senso” opened the pre-inaugural, courtesy of the Film Foundation. Foundation managing director Jennifer Ahn said the plan is for Perugia to become a forum for film preservation, discussion and education.

Arikian said the fest will revolve around Perugia’s student population, its artistic heritage and culinary tradition. It will also focus on the rarely celebrated role of movie costume and production designers, and be linked to the city’s renowned Umbria Jazz fest.

Fest is conceived and operated by Santa Barbara-based Stratus Media Group, which is financing startup costs. WME has an advisory role.

The goal is to make Perugia profitable in three years from corporate sponsorships and tie-ins, said fest prexy Emanuele Rossi.

Board members include Berlin topper Dieter Kosslick, EFM chief Beki Probst and costume and production designer James Acheson.

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