Giorgio Gosetti • RomeFilmFest
"Working with creativity and the industry in mind"
We meet up with the director of the Cinéma 2007 sidebar and the Business Street market of the 2nd RomeFilmFest (October 18-27).
Cineuropa: What have been your main areas of work for this second edition?
Giorgio Gosetti: We defined the role of the different sections by readjusting them thanks to the work of Piera Detassis for the Première sidebar and the general strength of Extra, which has become a section for documentaries, experimental cinema and meetings. The Cinéma 2007 section (competition and out-of-competition) has been strengthened in the sense that it offers a greater number of high quality auteur films, but those which are selected according to the public’s tastes. It cannot be compared to selections at Cannes or Venice, firstly because of the festival’s young age and secondly because of the great freedom we have in looking for something new or for slightly more varied languages and directors. However, the attraction of a Golden Lion or a Palme d’Or remains incomparable. We have also slightly decreased the overall number of films (15 less) without however having to make the festival less international. We have also chosen more project events, programmes created in the town directly with local cultural bodies, like cinema clubs, associations and so on.
Did you feel extra pressure during your selection process?
A second edition is always more difficult than the first, which benefits from a surprise effect. Expectations from the media and professionals are different. The first time : it’s: "show us what you can do", while the second time, it’s "show us what you want to do" and that’s more difficult. We’ve taken into account demands to build an identity, which were made at the end of the first edition. We have therefore seen many films (1,120 for Cinéma 2007) and we had the usual difficulties that go with a selection, especially after Venice – perhaps even more in the good meaning of the term, as the films we selected were screened later at Toronto thanks to good word-of-mouth at Rome. So in a sense we are like a business card at times. But that doesn’t bother us because it’s not in Rome’s character to be afraid of world premieres.
Does the label "Toronto at Rome", given to you by your detractors, annoy you?
It would annoy me if Rome didn’t include since the start of its selection process the possibility of also considering films from Toronto. And we don’t talk about Toronto being the Cannes of Canada. It’s impossible to compare. Toronto has 350 films and presents itself as the golden door to a continent. Rome is not that and for that reason could never be “Toronto at Rome”. Since the beginning, we have wanted to be clear and have worked with creativity and the industry in mind. Currently, from one continent to another and even if the information is publicised, many of the films aren’t visible and not even industry professionals don’t have time to see everything at Toronto, not to mention the European and Italian press, who don’t cover the Canadian festival in detail. What’s more important: helping the circulation of good films and possibly selling ourselves or trying to be a festival for world premieres? We’ve never had to think twice about this because we are working on a concept that makes Rome an interesting platform for films.
What are your expectations for the Business Street market?
I can see it getting better and better, with 25% more participants already this year. I have the impression that we are already considered an important option, in particular from a European and an Asian perspective, as we don’t have the same dates as Pusan. Europe is what’s most important today, but we shouldn’t forget either that we are in a period of strong globalisation. For the time being, we are focused on the idea that Rome could be a meeting point, for business and for films, which have difficulty in finding a place at markets like the AFM, which doesn’t encourage a certain type of product. This is a year of testing and only inudstry professionals can tell us at the end if we should call it a day or come back again next year, continue to grow slowly or if there are already too many markets.
Could the RomeFilmFest exist without the support and activism of the Rome town mayor?
What has been and still is invaluable is the passion invested by public authorities (city, region, province, chamber of commerce) in the project. And this force goes beyond a specific personality, even if we do have the big advantage of having a competent mayor who loves films. However, he doesn’t want to select films. What’s important and rare is that we are not a festival funded by the State, but an option chosen by all the public authorities.
Isn’t there a need for a single selector who would be a vehicle of identification ?
We decided on a team instead of a single artistic director. The modern idea of a festival comes from a collection of skills, the idea of working as a group, which in the end is more efficient. It’s true that a festival must have a soul, but linking this to one person is perhaps exaggerated, as it’s the project that must be solid and have a soul.
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