As the Rome Film Festival opens its fourth edition with Danis Tanovic’s Triage today – the festival’s collateral industry events – Business Street and New Cinema Network also kick off.

It is a pivotal year for the Rome team as Piera Detassis’ faces her first year as solo artistic director. After one week of sales, the festival has sold over 20,000 tickets for 130 screenings.

It is also Roberto Cicutto’s first edition in charge of Business Street. The event is steadily growing with 15% more attendees this year compared to 2009. Its relevance to the local market is clear as all but one Italian sales agent has decided to skip next month’s American Film Market and concentrate on Rome.

Buyers en route to Rome can expect to see a portfolio of twenty new Italian titles at the Italian screenings that have been revived after a five year absence.

Cicutto told ScreenDaily: “I see the 2009 edition of Business Street as the start of one big common market for European cinema, open to the world’s industry and creativity.”

Paola Corvino from sales agent Intra Movies, which has three titles – including Giorgio Diritti’s The Man Who Will Come and Donatella Maiorca’s Sea Puprle - in Rome’s official selection, welcomed the return of the Italian Film section after a five year gap. “They should attract a lot of attention.”

She added that with Business Street gathering strength each year, it has made Rome a useful autumn meeting. “AFM has gone down a market for European quality films, ever since it moved its date to November. European distributors seem to concentrate more on Berlin as a market. I think buyers are happy as it is for the time being, I wouldn’t call Rome a market but a nice moment to meet.”

Meanwhile, Adrianna Chiesa is not going to AFM for the first time in more than 20 years. “We had to do it because of the continuous changes in our world - we noticed there are fewer and fewer buyers of European films at the AFM,” she said, although she adds that Rome needs time to grow.

Chiesa will screen Federico Moccia’s Amore 14 – which Medusa will release on 500 screens on October 30. She is also repping a plethora of new local projects including an in production 3D animation title Orlando – the Eco Friendly Ogre from Non Solo Cartoons.

The Film Export Group is the only Italian sales agent to skip Business Street in favour of AFM. The company’s Roberto Di Girolamo said he would like to see it become Europe’s new market but is wary of the free terrace meetings and lack of a fixed work area.

 “I think a new market in Italy would make us happy. Europeans would be willing to come to Rome over AFM,” he added.

The International Rome Film Festival runs October 15 - 23; while Business Street and the New Cinema Network run October 15 -19.