Turin Piedmont Film commission president Steve Della Casa will take the reins as Rome Fiction Fest's artistic director while Raimon Astarita has been named general manager of the Fiction Fest in its second year, the Fest announced from Cannes today.

The nominations were long awaited as the first year's artistic director (previous Taormina Film Festival director Felice Laudadido) had signed on just to set the festival up in its first edition.

Della Casa says this year's festival will have more title than the first edition, which hosted 149 programmes, 29 of which were world premieres. He say's the festival's summer placement provides perfect ground for international broadcasters who can use the festival as a 'test site' for autumn programmes.

While last year most of the programmes presented in competition were dramas from Europe, Hollywood and Asia were also well represented.

The high-profile Fiction Fest, which is supported in part by API, the
Italian Association of Independent producers and the region of Lazio, was conceived as a sister event to the Rome Film Fest.

For the 2008 edition, ex-Banff Festival president Pat Ferns, who is also an award-winning TV programme producer and pitching expert, will lead the festival's co-production pitching sessions. Project submission deadline for the sessions is May, with details available at www.romafictionfest.it

Fiction Fest will run July 7-12.