If I were to combine Greek Gods, schizophrenia and La Dolce Vita's Via Veneto, you would think I was mad. Meh, in Rome, it's all in a days work when the 8th edition of Rome's Film Festival (8th-17th November) is approaching.
Marco Mueller, art director of Rome's Film Festival, explained that the eighth edition will be "contradictory, schizophrenic." He said, "the first seven days of the festival in the Eternal City will feature a nightly screening of a U.S. film with 'an important star' on the red carpet." Nothing less than the top: Scarlet Johansson, Christopher Walken, Sharon Stone and Christian Bale, to name but a few.
An international jury composed of seven leading personalities in the field of cinema and culture will award the following prizes: Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Emerging Actor/Actress, Special Jury Prize, Best Technical Contribution, and The Golden Marc Aurelio, Best Film Award.
There will be a Cinema Maxxi category of awards, which will include the special Lifetime Achievement Award, short film awards and documentary awards. US director James Gray, best known for his 2007 crime drama ‘We Own the Night,’ will head the jury for the festival.
Movies and shakers
Mueller also said there was no overriding theme linking the films selected: "We chose the ones that moved us, that spoke to our hearts, our guts."
There will be a big focus on American movies. Critics and audiences are looking forward to American producer Mark Turtletaub's first film as director, "Gods Behaving Badly," starring Christopher Walken as Zeus, Sharon Stone as Aphrodite, Oliver Platt as Apollo and John Turturro as Hades. It sees a mortal couple run across the down-on-their-luck Greek gods, living it up in New York city.
This year’s lineup will include 71 full-length films and another 30 shorts or mid-length films from 31 different countries. Officials said more than 1500 feature length films, and more than 1,000 shorts, from a total of 76 countries were considered for the lineup.
As previously announced, Giovanni Veronesi's comedy, "The Fifth Wheel," will open the nine-day festival on November the 8th.
As is tradition, we can expect a very exciting Directors Masterclass with Johnathan Demme, director of "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia." The use of the Maxxi museum for some screenings, is exciting too.
Rome Film Festival: a 'European Toronto'?
With so much going on, and big names to dazzle the crowds, Mueller and other officials are referring to the event as a "fest-festival," saying the uncertainty hurt preparations for this year's event: "Until the beginning of summer, we did not know what the new political figures wanted from us," they claimed.
That's because the festival is still struggling to find a balance between making a boom on the international scene, where it is overshadowed by the highly acclaimed and much established Venice Film Festival, and serving as something of a 'cinema themed party' for the Roman elite.
But Mueller explained that the Rome Film Festival aims at becoming a kind of "European Toronto," referring to the just completed Canadian giant that blends a big market event with popular and niche films, together in a sprawling lineup. Considering that organizers and stakeholders will be speaking to more than 700 journalists, photographers and festival officials, it seems to be heading in the right direction.
For the complete Rome competition lineup, visit: http://www.romacinemafest.it/ecm/web/fcr/en/home/sections/competition
The Cinema Village ticket office at the Auditorium, Parco della Musica (Viale P. de Coubertin, 30) from November 8 to 17th, from 10 am to 11 pm.
The Cinema Barberini ticket office (Piazza Barberini 24) on November 9th, from 5 pm to 11 pm; from November 10 to 17th, from 8.30 am to 11 pm.
The MAXXI Museum ticket office (Via Guido Reni 4/a) from November 8 to 17th, which will open and close depending on the schedules of screenings that require a ticket, but (open exclusively for the Festival screenings held at the MAXXI Museum).
BUY YOUR TICKET ON LINE www.romacinemafest.org
'Bottoms down, Popcorn up' - enjoy!