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‘Captain Fantastic,’ Starring Viggo Mortensen, Triumphs at Rome Film Festival

Justin Tipping’s "Kicks" Wins Alice in the City sidebar

ROME — U.S. actor-director Matt Ross’s “Captain Fantastic,” starring Viggo Mortensen as a survivalist super dad who takes his kids to the woods, is the winner of the BNL People’s Choice at the Rome Film Festival.

The Eternal City event wrapped its eleventh edition on a positive note Saturday with ticket sales up 13% and overall 18 % rise in attendance.

Ross and Mortensen both attended Rome where Mortensen held one of fifteen onstage conversations that have become a defining trait of the big city event which hit its stride this year, the second edition under the artistic direction of Italian journalist and film academic Antonio Monda.

Monda said “Captain Fantastic” had been voted fest favourite by a landslide.

“Captain Fantastic” is enjoying a nice run on the fest circuit after launching from Sundance. It scored best director at Cannes in Un Certain Regard and audience nods in Deauville and Karlovy Vary before triumphing in Rome, which does not have jury prizes.

The pic was co-presented by the Rome Film Fest and Alice Nella Citta, the independently run sidebar for younger audiences which is increasingly becoming an integral part of the main event. The award was picked up by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, one of the partners in Italian distributor Good Films, which will release “Captain” in Italy.

Another standout film by a U.S. director, Justin Tipping’s inner city coming-of-ager “Kicks,” which opened Tribeca this year, won the Alice Nella Città TaoDue award, decided by a jury headed by Matt Dillon. The sidebar’s Golden Camera award went to Finnish director Selma Vilhunen’s family drama “Little Wing,” which premiered in Toronto.

Rome’s eleventh edition saw a plethora of stars on the red carpet, some of whom came even though they didn’t have movies to plug.

“They [the stars] don’t come to Rome for the red carpet and a press conference; they come to spend an hour-and-a-half with the public,” Monda said. “They come to share their love for cinema; that’s what makes Rome different,” he noted.

Monda’s “Close Encounter” conversations with no promotional purposes included Meryl Streep, David Mamet, Don DeLillo, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Roberto Benigni, the latter scheduled to take place Sunday during a post event coda.

While the fest has ended, Rome’s Mia market dedicated to feature films, TV series, documentaries and video games is still underway after kicking off Thursday. More than 400 international buyers, sales agents and producers have made the trek to the second edition of the new-concept market dedicated to feature films, TV series, documentaries and video games. Mia wraps Monday.

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