Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 to get sneak peek; world premieres will include L’Industriale and Someday This Pain Will BeUseful To You.

The sixth edition of the International Rome Film Festival kicked off last night (Oct 27) with Luc Besson’s Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady out of competition starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis, who were on hand to providing red carpet elegance alongside director Besson.

Boy George was also on hand for Rome’s opening while Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch were featured in a pre-opening day “duet” alongside actor/director Sergio Castellitto to discuss their new film project Twice Born.

As in past years, local crowds were plentiful on the festival’s opening night, solidifying the festival as a “festa” or Italian word for party. Organisers said 10,000 tickets were sold in the first day of ticket presales.

Other official selection highlights include Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria, Korean director Jung Jaihong’s Poongsan written by Kim Ki-duk, Italian newcomer Pippo Mezzapesa’s Il Paese Delle Spose Infelici, among other titles, while anticipated world premieres out of competition include Giuliano Montaldo’s L’Industriale and Roberto Faenza’s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You starring the UK’s Toby Regbo.

Other sections of the festival to kick off Thursday included Mario Sesti’s Extra section dedicated to documentaries and cutting edge works with Norway’s Turn Me On Goddamit by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen.

The UK retrospective Punks And Patriots also got underway.

The well-crafted side bar Alice In The City led by Gianluca Gianelli got off to its start with Steven Spielberg’s 3D The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. The section on Saturday will offer a sneak peek to the anticipated tween product The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 via Eagle Pictures with actors Nikki Reed and Taylor Lautner expected.

Other highlights of the section include Canada’s Little Glory about a high school drop out left to fend for himself and his sister after their parent’s death and Ecuador’s En El Nombre De La Hija by Tania Hermida a cross generational family comedy-drama set in 1976, sold by The Match Factory and which is having its market premier at Rome’s Business Street (TBS).

For the industry, Rome’s business events – the New Cinema Network (NCN) and Business Street also got underway Thursday.

Roberto Cicutto, who presides over the business initiatives told ScreenDaily, “I always thought that the market section of the Rome Film Festival is actually a section of the festival, not a separate thing. I feel like Rome is a big meeting where people watch movies but particularly get to meet others in person – this is the way we conceived the informal organization of TBS and NCN, which is part of a co production network.”

While there will be no Italian screenings this year – the visiting buyers and sellers will get a glimpse of the 2012 Italian production screened in trailers at a industry bash at the Maxxi museum on Saturday as well as some during market screenings at this year’s Business Street.

An in-depth conference on the European audiovisual industry will be held on Saturday focusing on opportunities offered by new technologies and financing schemes hosted in part by the European Audiovisual Observatory among others, at Business Street hub the Hotel Bristol Bernini, where industry professionals will hold tocks on an array of topics. Italian film funds, including Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and the Business Location Sud Tirol will also be present during Business Street.

The festival’s over all budget has often been a contentious point for struggling festivals. With 70% from private sponsors – the 2011 budget is approx Euros 12.5 mil slightly down from 2009’s Euro 13 mil but still more than respectable in comparison to other Europe’s other top festivals.

The Rome Film Festival will wrap Nov 4.