The president of Rome’s Cinema Foundation Gian Luigi Rondi tendered his resignation on Friday (Feb 24), paving the way for Mueller to be named head of the Rome Film Festival.

In a statement released by the festival on Friday, Rondi said: “I felt it was necessary… to meet with Mayor Gianni Alemanno and the Lazio Region Governor Renata Polverini to inform them of my unflappable decision to re-nominate [previous artistic director] Piera Detassis… The reply was negative because once again, another candidate was favoured… Worried about the festival… and it’s future… I could no longer contrast [sic] the authorities… so I preferred even if with some regret, to step down.”

Anica, the Italian motion picture organisation, also increased the pressure this month. The powerful body led by Cattleya’s Riccardo Tozzi flexed its muscles and came forth with support for Mueller, whose ouster from the Venice Film Festival after eight years sent the festival world into a tailspin.

The developments mean that Rome will likely save its €2.8m in funding from the regional government, an allocation that was at risk had Mueller not been named. Rondi has also paved the way for Paolo Ferrari, the former Anica president and Warner Bros Italia chief, to take over his spot as president of Rome’s Cinema Foundation.

It is expected Ferrari will soon be nominated and that he will nominate Mueller as artistic director of the eternal city event.

Mueller is expected to move Rome’s event to a November slot. That month offers the hottest period of the year for box office returns in Italy and a switch would likely act as leverage in getting distributors to launch their films in Rome.

Detassis, whose mandate expired in December, has been the sole artistic director of the festival since 2008 and her work was largely appreciated and considered a success.

Ironically, she also navigated one of Rome’s first political upheavals and therefore is also credited with helping keep the festival afloat.

Detassis had also been one of the five founding artistic directors in 2006.