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Discontinuity, quality and variety: Antonio Monda’s Rome Film Festival


- The new artistic director has given us a taste of the tenth edition of the Rome-based festival: a careful selection, retrospectives and meetings with big names in cinema the world over

Discontinuity, quality and variety: Antonio Monda’s Rome Film Festival

A selection of 30-35 films, which will be shown in their European premieres, a couple of retrospectives and a series of meetings with the stars of global cinema, guided by three key words: discontinuity, quality and variety. This is the backbone of the upcoming Rome Film Festival, the tenth edition of which will be held from 16 to 24 October, and the guidelines for which were outlined yesterday by its newly appointed artistic director Antonio Monda. “In a celebration there’s no need to award prizes”, said Monda, “so we will only be awarding the audience prize”. We will no longer have sections, except for the Alice in the City section for little ones. The films that will be shown (some of which will be enjoying their global premieres) will include fiction, documentaries and animations, spanning everything from mainstream Hollywood films to arthouse films, with an overview of TV series: the selection will be announced on 29 September.

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There will be a retrospective dedicated to Antonio Pietrangeli, and another on a big international writer, who has yet to be announced. But the life and soul of the Rome Film Festival (which has a budget of €3.6 million) will lie above all in its meetings, with at least one a day, with industry figures who will talk about their films or love for film. “I believe meetings are important as they represent a great opportunity for learning and pull in more people than anything else”, pointed out Monda, with the support of Piera Detassis, the president of the Rome Film Foundation, according to whom “close-up meetings with the public are what will make the Rome Film Festival unique”. Among others, Joel Coen will speak with his wife Frances McDormand about working with your other half, Wes Anderson and Pulitzer prize-winning writer Donna Tartt will talk about Italian film they love, Carlo Verdone and Paola Cortellesi will be the star attractions of an evening on comedy, William Friedkin will meet his favourite living Italian writer (the name of whom is still under wraps), Paolo Sorrentino will unveil a ten-minute-long unpublished piece of his in its global premiere, and Renzo Piano will talk about the relationship between film and architecture.

The programme includes a tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini, 40 years on from his death. Monda also asked each member of the selection committee to choose a film that’s close to their heart, to rediscover: “There will be six of these. Mine is The Last Tycoon by Elia Kazn”, he revealed. There will be plenty of Italian films, but they will be chosen for their quality, not to fill a section: “I hate the idea of having quotas to fill”, explained the director, “the best way to support Italian film is to only accept good films”. 

So far, the latest additions to this year’s Festival are the network of theatres covering the entire city so that each film can be screened multiple times (“this year we’ll also be able to use some of the 42 film theatres that have closed over the last decade”, declared the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino) and the location of the new MIA (the International Audiovisual Market – see news article), which will be held at the Baths of Diocletian (“a location like no other in the world”, according to the minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini, “which is also important”).

(Translated from Italian)


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