ROME – After a long period of silence, during which it suffered a date change and a budget cut, the Rome Film Festival has announced it will have a slimmer lineup during its upcoming October 16-25 ninth edition, and no international juries for most of its prizes.
The Rome nods will be awarded by the audience to works within sections that have been radically restructured, with the fest shifting from its stated ambition to become a wide-ranging launching pad to now having a particular focus on first and second works.
The audience will vote for most prizes, aside for one for debuting directors, called the TaoDue Camera d’Oro, for best first or second work, awarded by a jury of industry pros.
While 71 pics unspooled in Rome last year, when it ran Nov. 8-17, there will instead be 40 features screening in Rome this year. The sections are: Cinema d’Oggi, featuring both emerging helmers and known names; Gala, for more mainstream movies with talent in tow; Mondo Genre, dedicated to genre pics; and Prospettive Italia presenting new trends in Italian cinema.
Mueller (pictured) is at his third edition as Rome topper, after which his contract is up. He has been forced by contingency factors tied to Italian politics to reconceive Rome, which he had managed to move into a November slot last year in an attempt to build towards making it a launching pad for U.S. holiday fare.
The fest’s current budget is reportedly Euros nine million ($12 million) which is almost half the whopping budget the Eternal City event had at its outset, amid much fanfare, in 2006. But it’s still a considerable sum.
The fest’s selection committee and consultants are the same as last year. The selection committee consists of Laura Buffoni, Marie-Pierre Duhamel, Massimo Galimberti, Manlio Gomarasca, Sandra Hebron, Giona A. Nazzaro, and Mario Sesti. The consultants are: Chen Zhiheng (Chinese area), Deepti D’Cunha (India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), Babak Karimi (Iran), Diego Lerer (Central and South America), Aliona Shumakova (Russia and CIS – Commonwealth of Independent States), Tomita Mikiko (Japan).
Rome’s Business Street informal mart will run October 17-21 and include spotlights on Brazil and Argentina, and a dedicated China Day.
The New Cinema Network mart for international projects, will have a special focus entitled “The Great Beauties,” presenting a selection of projects by foreign directors – both auteur and genre films – to be shot on location in Italy.
As in the past, the Rome fest will include the independently run Alice nella Citta parallel event dedicated to youth-oriented films.