Palme d'Or winning Italian director Nanni Moretti is officially back on board as director of the Turin Film Festival, announcing his intention to maintain the festival's focus on new directors and experimental cinema for its 25th edition this year.
Moretti's appointment, announced at a press conference Thursday in Turin, comes one month after his original engagement sparked a feud in the Turin film community over disagreements for a festival revamp. Moretti rejected the idea of being a 'political pawn' between the disagreeing factions and in a shocking gesture, resigned after only two days.
While at the time Moretti expressed regret at stepping down, in Turin Thursday he expressed satisfaction that everything 'worked out'.
The prolific director - who has often stared in his own films - told journalists he needed time to work out his program. While he assured the festival's philosophy would remain intact, it is expected he will pare down the sections.
'Today I am oriented towards an international competition, with an out-of-competition side bar possibly of films that have been to other festivals or of premieres, a section of short Italian films, a section of Italian documentaries and two retrospectives,' Moretti explained. He added he would like to keep the American retrospective as in previous editions.
The addition of a 'permanent laboratory' focusing on screenwriting and film projects is also in the works.
Moretti also said he has asked Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan and Roberto Turigliatto - whose four-year mandate as co-directors of the festival just expired - to work with him. Earlier in the month the duo declined the same offer and sided with Festival founder Gianni Rondolino. Last week Rondolino stepped down, allowing a new board to form. Now the pair are mulling over Moretti's offer.
The new board of directors of the Young Cinema Association (the festival's founding body) will be presided over by Turin exhibitor Lorenzo Ventavoli.
But beyond local battles waged in Turin, pressure on the Turin festival has been mounting ever since glitzy newcomer Rome Film Festival splashed onto the festival scene.
Depending on how things go, Rome can be blamed - or credited - with disrupting the quiet balance Venice and Turin have maintained for years. While Rome did a lot to promo themselves as a popular festival their ability to lure big names like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio
with The Departed, Nicole Kidman with Fur, Richard Gere with The Hoax, as well as Venice Golden Lion winner Mira Nair with The Namesake has put an undeniable jolt in Italy's film festival roster.
The Moretti-run Turin Film Festival is expected to provide final details of its revamp in February at the Berlin Film Festival. But if the last six months serve as example, the industry can expect the
Italian festival scene will reveal a few more surprises in the months to come.