The Rome Film Fest's recently appointed president Gian Luigi Rondi has announcedsome significant changes to the event as it heads into its third year.
The changes include sweeping away elements that differentiated the young city-oriented 'festa' from the Venice Film Festival and other major international film festivals. For example, Rome's populist moniker of Festa will be replaced with the name Il Festival International del Film di Roma, or, The International Film Festival of Rome.
As of the next edition, Rome will also replace their popular jury of fifty cinema-goers overseen by a top director with two different award formats.
Rome's previous top prize, the Marco Aurelio Award will now be called the Gold Marco Aurelio Award.Previously, the top honor carried a $238,000(Euros 150,000) prize with it. As of the third edition, this award carries a $119,000 (Euros 75,000) prize to be divided between the director and the majority producer to be voted on by all cinema-goers with the regulations for this voting procedure to be announced at a later date.
Rome has also announced the adoption of a second prize for films in the official selection to be voted on by a jury for of seven members of the international film community who will assign the following prizes: Critics prize for the Best Film - this prize will also receive $119,000 (Euro 75,000) in prize money to be divided between the director and majority producer. They will also award a Best Actress and Best Actor prize.
The jury can add other prizes, such as career awards or special prizes at their discretion.
As of this year, The International Film Festival of Rome will also streamline its two stand out sections into one 'official selection.'
The Competition (Cinema 2008) curated by Giorgio Gosetti and Teresa Cavina and Premiere (dedicated to big red carpet stars and gala fare) curated by Piera Detassis will maintain their own identities but operate under one 'Official selection.' Official selection films must be first views (if Italian) or seen only in the country of origin.
Piera Detassis will additionally act as coordinator across all sections.
The previously titled 'Extra' section will now be called 'l'altro cinema' (The Other Cinema) - the gist of the section remains as that in the past as it aims to showcase new technology in cinema and will also continue to focus (as in past editions) on actors and actresses, retrospectives and also documentaries. This year, meetings with David Cronenberg and Michel Cimino have been confirmed.
A fifth focus section called 'Occhio sul Mondo' or Eye on the World will include cultural focuses on national cinemas as Rome has already integrated in their first two editions.
The successful Alice in the City section dedicated to youth and kids fare will continue as in previous years, as curated by Gianluca Gianelli.
Likewise, Rome's market industry event The Business Street and the New Cinema Network co-production will continue to work in tandem in order to promote new talents and assist in project financing.
Little talk today was aimed at bringing the Film Festival of Rome closer to being a promo vehicle for local product - rather than Hollywood film - which was one of the reasons that Rome's new right wing mayor had insisted on a change in leadership - forcing ex president Goffredo Bettini out, and forging the way for Rondi to take over.
Rondi however said at the press conference today that while he defends Italian cinema he will accept films proposed from all over the world.