ROME – The International Rome Film Festival announced Tuesday that this year’s edition, the festival’s eighth, will take place Nov. 8-17, ensuring another year of conflict with the rival Turin Film Festival, which will start just five days after the Rome festival concludes.
The Rome event, entering its second edition under the artistic direction of former Venice head Marco Mueller, will also last a day longer than last year’s edition, organizers announced.
When Mueller was named artistic director in Rome last year, one of his first acts was to push the festival’s dates from October into November, where he believed the event would be able to launch some of films angling for year-end releases, as well as to serve as a halfway point between the established film markets in Toronto in September and Berlin in February. But the move ruffled feathers in Turin, where organizers feared that the small gap between the two events would rob their festival of sponsorship and media interest.
The conflict was supposed to be a one-off event, as Turin last year agreed to move up to Rome’s old slot on the calendar come 2013. But new Turin artistic director Paolo Virzi surprised observers in January by announcing Turin would not move to October. Instead, it will take place Nov. 22-30, meaning the gap between the festivals will actually be reduced by a day compared to last year’s six-day gap.
Turin did fine in 2012, despite the small gap and a high-profile 11th-hour decision from would-be career achievement prize winner Ken Loach to refuse his award in order to stand in solidarity with workers from Turin’s National Film Museum, the festival’s parent organization. The event was the only large festival in Italy to see ticket sales rise last year, and there was plenty of media attention.
Rome, meanwhile, saw ticket sales drop by about a sixth compared to 2011, and the festival drew fire on multiple fronts: for a relative lack of star power, for the absence of many high-profile films, and for some of the prizewinners the jury selected. But Mueller and former Warner Bros.-Italia head Paolo Ferrari, the festival’s president, have vowed to build on last year’s foundation for the 2013 event.
The earlier decision from Virzi and Alberto Barbera, the National Film Museum director who replaced Mueller in Venice, assures that Rome will have to do so with Turin’s inconveniently close dates.
The festival has plenty in store: the event’s Business Street market event, which will include the New Cinema Network’s Fabbrica dei Progetti (Projects Factory), will run Nov. 13-17. The market will continue to take place near Rome’s picturesque Via Veneto, while the festival itself will be centered in the state-of-the-art facilities at the Renzo Piano-designed Auditorium Parco della Musica venue on Rome’s north side.