The Rome Film Fest on Friday unveiled the lineup for its 11th edition, with 44 films in the official selection from 26 nations.
The focus of the event, under the artistic direction of Antonio Monda, draws heavily from other fall festivals, but the lineup also includes new films, such as Gavin O'Connor's highly anticipated thriller The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick.
As previously announced, Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, the story of a young Miami man struggling to find himself across multiple eras, will open the fest.
A slew of recent Toronto films and other buzzed-about pics are once again filling the program this year. Among them are Genius by Michael Grandage, Hell or High Water by David Mackenzie, Denial by Mick Jackson, Into the Inferno by Werner Herzog, Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan and The Birth of a Nation by Nate Parker.
Birth of a Nation has been shrouded in controversy since this summer when accusations of rape and bullying resurfaced against Parker and the film's co-writer, Jean Celestin. The accuser later committed suicide. The tumult also is beginning to register in local Italian press.
Oliver Stone will come to Rome to present Snowden, as well as discuss American politics on the eve of the U.S. election. The Benedict Cumberbatch-narrated documentary Naples '44, directed by Francesco Patierno, also will play the fest.
Meryl Streep will hold court with festival attendees, as well as have her latest film, Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins, screened at the event. Honorary Oscar recipient Andrzej Wajda will be on hand to speak with audiences and present his new film Afterimage.
Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas will be in attendance to mark the 20th anniversary of The English Patient. And Michael Buble will journey to Rome to present the Brett Sullivan doc Michael Buble - Tour Stop 148.
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Featured documentaries include Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein and The Rolling Stones Ole Ole Ole!: A Trip Across Latin America by Paul Dugdale.
John Krasinski's directorial debut, The Hollars, a comedy about a man returning home to attend to his sick mother, also will play the festival. In Gordian Maugg's Fritz Lang,the pic finds the legendary director immersing himself in a murder case to research his famous film M. And Jim Sheridan's drama The Secret Scriptures, starring Rooney Mara and Vanessa Redgrave (who will be in attendance), will come to Rome after playing the Toronto and London film fests.
Mara will be represented by multiple films including Benedict Andrews' Una, Trevis Knight's animated film Kubo and the Two Strings and the closing film Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. Patel plays an adopted Indian boy who sets off to find his lost family.
In keeping with previous years, there will be no jury, but an audience award will be given to the most popular film as voted by ticket holders, similar to TIFF's People's Choice Award.
Close Encounters audience talks in Rome are planned with Roberto Benigni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Don DeLillo, David Mamet and Viggo Mortensen.
Tom Hanks, who will receive the fest's lifetime achievement award and a career retrospective, also will participate in an audience discussion. Meanwhile, Rome tribute screenings are planned for Michael Cimino, Gregory Peck, Alberto Sordi and Lang.
A retrospective of films on immigration is also planned, with the lineup including Italy's Oscar foreign-language submission, Gianfranco Rosi's Fire at Sea. And a series of films on American politics - including Michael Ritchie's The Candidate, Oliver Stone's Nixon and the original The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith - will help initiate a global discussion about the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
The Rome Film Fest is set to run Oct. 13-23.