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Rome Fest Business Street Mart Promps Biz Burst

ROME – The Rome Film Festival’s Business Street mart is prompting a burst of biz, with several sales and new projects announced, including Italy’s first co-prod with China, and U.S. helmer Joe Dante’s new Rome-set project.

Dante (“Gremlins”) (pictured) and producer Elizabeth Stanley attended Rome’s New Cinema Network to pitch “Ombra Amore,” a love story with Romeo and Juliet overtones between a vampire and a werewolf set in contempo Rome. The werewolf belongs to a ferocious clan of stock market speculators, some of whom bear great responsibility for Italy’s current economic crisis.

“It’s got some [local] political elements,” Dante said . “We are kind of interested in what responses we’ll get to that aspect of the story.” Locations for what aims to be Dante’s first international co-production include the Roman catacombs and the Villa Borghese.

The first Italian co-prod with China, inked at the informal mart, is between Hong Kong producer Stephen Lam’s Sil-Metropole shingle and Italy’s Conchita Airoldi for China-set period romancer “Everlasting Moments,” to be helmed by Italo auteur Maurizio Sciarra (“Off to the Revolution by a 2CV,” “What Love”) from a screenplay he co-penned with Chinese scribe Ni-Zhen (“Raise the Red Lantern”). It’s about a tormented affair between a Western photographer and a young Chinese woman in early 20th century Shanghai when the city was still de facto dominated by Europeans.

Meanwhile Rai Com, the recently renamed sales arm of Italian pubcaster RAI, sold Ivano De Matteo’s “The Dinner,” based on Dutch writer Herman Koch’s eponymous best-selling novel, to Film Movement for North America, as first reported by the Hollywood Reporter. Rai Com also announced new sales on several Venice titles: Mario Martone’s biopic “Leopardi,” about the great romantic Italian poet, went to Paname Distribution for France; Francesco Munzi’s potent mob drama “Black Souls,” was picked up by Joint Film for Taiwan; Japan’s Only Hearts took “The Mafia Only Kills in Summer” by the helmer known as PIF; and Taiwan’s Swallow Wings snapped up Oriana Fallaci TV biopic “Oriana” by Marco Turco. Some of these pics screened for international buyers as part of the Lazio Film Commission’s Italian Film Boutique initiative.
All told, attendance for the Business Street mart, in its smart post Mipcom slot this year, was up 30% with 295 buyers, 104 sales agents and 246 producers from 53 countries in attendance.

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Guests included MPAA topper Chris Dodd who held a piracy-related masterclass.

The ninth edition of the Rome fest ends Saturday.

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