EXCLUSIVE: One of the hot talking points at this year’s EFM is what Marco Mueller will do should he take charge of the Rome International Film Festival, as is looking likely.
The former Venice festival chief, reliable sources say, is planning to move the Rome festival to the third week of November - starting before the US Thanksgiving holiday - and create a solid concurrent market focused on attracting European and Asian buyers.
The logic behind the move of Rome from late October to later in November is to create a fourth major film festival three months after Venice/Toronto and three months before Berlin, and to offer an alternative premiere outlet for the logjam of titles that competes for Venice, Telluride and Toronto.
Mueller’s appointment is not yet finalised and is contingent on the departure of president Gian Luigi Rondi, whose contract expires in June, and the incoming president, assumed to be ANICA head and former Warner Bros Italy chief Paolo Ferrari.
Mueller has been in Berlin taking meetings with producers and sales agents pitching the new date which would insist on world premieres in the festival and tie the festival and market more closely than the existing Rome structure. While Rome would fall after AFM in Los Angeles, he would focus on strengthening market ties between west and east, namely China, Russia and India. He is apparently close to recruiting a market chief.
There is also talk of a second 10-day festival of gala premieres in Rome in June/July which would act as a launchpad for films for local and international press. The films would screen at the Massenzio, a 1700-year-old open-air theatre located in the heart of the Forum.