Bertolucci, Bellocchio, Salvatores sign petition

ROME Uncertainty still surrounding the Rome Film Festival’s future prompted a collective uproar on Wednesday from Italy’s film community.

More than a month after former Venice topper Marco Mueller was appointed to run Rome, he still doesn’t have a contract or budget, meaning no progress has made on organizing the upcoming fest.

Prominent helmers Bernardo Bertolucci, Marco Bellocchio, Gabriele Salvatores and Luca Guadagnino are among hundreds who have signed a petition warning that to “waste more time” would prompt the “likely death” of the Rome fest, resulting in major damage to the Italian film industry.

Appeal comes just as progress does seem imminent in the deadlock pitting Mueller and some of the fest’s politically appointed board members over his plan to shift Rome’s dates from mid-October to a Nov. 8-17, and move its venue from the city’s Renzo Piano-designed Auditorium to Rome’s new Maxxi modern art museum, designed by another star architect, Zaha Hadid.

A key Rome fest board meeting is scheduled for Friday in which Mueller is expected to regularize his role.

A final pow-wow on Monday of the fest’s funding members should then cough up the coin for Mueller to get the Rome ball rolling, in time to start locking up his lineup of world preems at Cannes.

Rome fest’s new Nov. 8-17 slot aims to make Rome a launching pad for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. and a high-profile third-quarter event, also featuring a Nov. 13-17 mart. It would be preceded by an Italian cinema showcase to be held in the Auditorium.

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