'Lion,' 'Birth of a Nation' Among Rome Film Festival Lineup

The Hollywood Reporter

The Rome Film Festival on Friday unveiled the lineup for its 11th edition, with 40 films from 26 nations. 

The focus is on hits from other fall festivals, but the lineup also includes Gavin O'Connor's new thriller The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick.

As previously announced, Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, about a young man struggling to find himself across multiple eras in Miami, will open the fest. 

A slew of recent Toronto films and other buzzed-about awards contenders 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 Nate Parker's Birth of a Nation. 

Birth of a Nation has been shrouded in controversy since this past summer when accusations of rape and bullying resurfaced against Parker and the film's co-writer Jean Celestin. The accuser later committed suicide. The controversy is beginning to register heavily 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, will also play the fest.

Among the other guests is Meryl Streep, who will hold court with Rome festival attendees, and will also have her latest film, Stephen Frears' Florence Foster Jenkins at the festival.

Jon Krasinski's directorial debut, The Hollars, a comedy about a man returning home to his sick mother, will also play the festival. 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 London Film Festival.

Mara will be on double duty at the fest with the closing film Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. Patel plays an adopted Indian boy who sets off to find his lost family. 

Close Encounters audience talks in Rome are planned with Bernardo Bertolucci, Don DeLillo, David Mamet and Viggo Mortensen. And Gordian Maugg in his new film, Fritz Lang, explores the director immersing himself in a murder case to research his famous film M.

Tom Hanks, who will receive the fest's lifetime achievement award, will also participate in an audience discussion. Meanwhile, Rome etrospectives are planned for Michael Cimino, Gregory Peck, Alberto Sordi and Lang. 

And a series of films on American politics right before the election will help set a global discussion for the U.S. election. 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. 

Read more: Tom Hanks to Get Rome Film Fest Honor