Film buyers come to Rome

Rome Film Fest expects active film sales.

Business Street, Rome’s film market taking place along the Via Veneto, is expected to be amplified this year.

In 2006, Rome managed to lure buyers from around the world by sponsoring their trip to the Eternal City. A robust mix of acquisitions execs — though mostly from Europe and Asia, and more junior in ranks –will return this year. Reps from U.S. companies such as New Line, Miramax, Par Vantage and the Weinstein Co. are expected to be in the mix.

A handful of American sellers also are headed for Rome. Los Angeles-based sales agent Edward Noeltner of CMG brings Vietnamese drama “The Owl and the Sparrow.” He explains: “I’m going to Rome because I know a lot of people did good business there last year. They have 125 arthouse distributors going this year, particularly from Germany and France, and many won’t be coming to the AFM.”

He says it made sense to hold two screenings of the film in Rome. He plans to do just one at AFM in November.

Noeltner and other bizzers are making a long European visit of it by tacking Rome onto a trip to the mid-October Cannes-based TV market Mipcom.

“Rome is incredibly good news,” adds Shebnem Askin, topper at 2929 Intl. “AFM is a schlep for buyers. Europeans like festivals that are close to them.”

Fest prexy Goffredo Bettini hopes the revved up business elements at this year’s fest will also provide a boost to local product. “Italian cinema is much greater than its capacity to be distributed and bought in the foreign markets,” he says. “Our biggest dream is that the festival, with Business Street, will be able to help Italian cinema obtain that attention it once had abroad.”

Andrew Barker contributed to this report.