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Giorgio Gosetti • Director of the RomeFilmFest

"Cinema needs to get back in touch with its audience"

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Giorgio Gosetti • Director of the RomeFilmFest

Director of the first edition of the RomeFilmFest (October 13-21,2006), Giorgio Gosetti brings the new Roman event his experience as vice president of the Venice Film Festival, former director general of the promotional agency Italia Cinema and founder of Venice Days. We take a glance at the birth of the RomeFilmFest.

What are the advantages that enabled you to successfully carry out such a creative project as the RomeFilmFest?
Giorgio Gosetti: Firstly, infrastructure because cinema always needs a roof, a home and we have both the Renzo Piano auditorium and Via Veneto for the Business Street. We also had to make it appealing to professionals and present a quite original and strong project on an artistic and organisational level. Fortunately, we have had a fantastic response from all the public authorities, the region, the city and the province. And finally, it requires something that, in my view, plays an ever more important and decisive role: the audience. Cinema needs to get back in touch with its audience, on the one hand, to be sure it still has one and, on the other hand, to meet its expectations. A large city like Rome has what it takes to do this. So we wanted to create a film festival that would not be a festival in a literal sense, but rather an event for the city that would be in touch with its people. It should also not be forgotten that the FilmFest has the advantage of having a cultural base, which is already quite stable thanks to the current policy of mayor Walter Veltroni and, in the past, that of his predecessor Francesco Rutelli (now Italian Minister of Culture). This has enabled us to launch several projects, ideas, events, which, of course, take place in permanent buildings: the Mastroianni retrospective at the Cinema House, concerts devoted to jazzmen at the Jazz House, sessions on the restoring and recuperation of Italian documentaries at the Memory House are just a few initiatives that have been organised independently, as a sideline to the festival but still part of the overall project.

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This first edition seems to have sparked strong synergies from public authorities and private sponsors.
The €12m FilmFest budget includes technical support, access to the Auditorium with all its expenses. Yet, the actual amount we got is nearer to €10m. However, if we want to hold an important event in an important city, we need an appropriate budget. Also, despite the large seating capacity of the Auditorium theatres, we have anticipated that the event may exceed its proportions, which is not unimaginable given the number of requests and the pressure we have felt, plus having to set up a mobile seating structure of 1900 places opposite the Auditorium.

How did you create the film programme, which is particularly plentiful?
The project was first defined by Mario Sesti, whose idea of placing the actor as the central theme of the festival attracted the Mayor’s attention, then the selection work really only begun a little over a year ago. We first waited until the end of the Locarno Film Festival in 2005 to know if it would be possible to add Teresa Cavina to our team. Having accepted to take part in this adventure, she started by travelling all over the world in search of films. Each film has an international release strategy and there is competition: everyone has to accept this verdict. Everyone thought that there would be fierce competition, but in reality nobody can say they were harassed by the Romans who wanted to present their film or that we spoke badly of other festivals just because films were selected for Rome. A festival director’s job is to help creators and professionals, and our objective is to help films achieve success in the media and professionally.

Why did you choose Via Veneto as a location for your film market Business Street?
It was necessary to provide professionals, who are bringing us the films, to have good working conditions during their stay in Rome. So the mayor wanted to use Via Veneto again. It’s a great opportunity because it will be like a proper market with stands, small professional theatres, but also a pleasant place to meet that offers useful working facilities, such as WiFi. All this presents a positive image for a film market because we don’t neglect the idea of creating a top class professional support network in a place rich with memories.

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