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Rome Film Fest to Open With ‘Moonlight,’ Close With ‘Lion’

ROME — The Rome Film Festival has unveiled the lineup of it’s 11th edition which will feature a selection of hot Fall fest circuit titles sandwiched between its opening film, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” and the closer, Garth Davis’ “Lion,” plus 24 world premieres.

Films set to play in Rome that have not screened at other fests include Ben Affleck thriller “The Accountant,” directed by Gavin O’Connor, which will be Affleck’s first film since “Gone Girl.”

World premieres include Benedict Cumberbatch-narrated documentary “Naples ’44” by Italian director Francesco Patierno, based on the eponymous diary by British travel writer Norman Lewis about his experience in Naples as a British intelligence officer; Iranian drama “Immortality” by Mehdi Fard Ghaderi; and Chinese 3D martial arts blockbuster “Sword Master,” directed by Derek Yee.

Mexican director Natalia Almada’s “Todo lo demas” (“Everything Else”), which stars Oscar-nommed actress Adriana Barraza (“Amores Perros,” “Babel”) as a 63-year-old bureaucrat living in Mexico City, will launch from Rome one day ahead of its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival.

Buzz titles segueing to Rome from Toronto comprise “Manchester by the Sea,” by Kenneth Lonergan; Nate Parker’s “Birth of a Nation”; “Genius” by Michael Grandage; “Hell or High Water,” by David Mackenzie; “Denial” by Mick Jackson; and Werner Herzog’s “Into the Inferno.”

At a packed presser in Rome’s Auditorium Parco Della Musica fest director Antonio Monda, now at his second edition, said he is continuing with his no-frills philosophy for the event which under his guidance has done away with the competition, juries, and opening and closing ceremonies. Monda said his selection criteria still privileges “variety [of genres] and quality” over star power and red carpet considerations.

However Monda has upped the fest’s star quotient this year. Starting with Tom Hanks who, as previously announced will be feted with a lifetime achievement award on Oct. 13, the fest’s opening day. Besides receiving a career nod, Hanks will be honored with a 15-title retro of films in which he has starred.

Monda has also booked Meryl Streep, David Mamet, Don DeLillo, Bernardo Bertolucci, Roberto Benigni, Andrzej Wajda, and Viggo Mortensen, among others, for onstage conversations.

Special events will include an open-air screening of William Wyler’s “Roman Holiday” in the Eternal City’s Piazza di Spagna to celebrate the centennial of star Gregory Peck’s birth with his children, Cecilia Peck Voll and Anthony Peck, expected to attend and scheduled to hold a celebratory talk.

Oliver Stone is expected to make the trek to promote “Snowden” and also hold a talk within a sidebar dedicated to films on American politics which aims to stimulate discussions in Rome on the eve of the U.S. election.

The Rome fest has also recruited New York Times chief film critic A.O. Scott and Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang who will make the trek and participate in a panel on film criticism and its role and relevance in the changing global media landscape.

Fest will run Oct. 13-23.

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