ROME – The International Rome Film Festival’s Twilight Saga day drew to a close Tuesday with an eight-hour-long marathon showing the first four films in the franchise back-to-back, concluding early Wednesday morning at twilight.
About 275 excited fans started a full day of activity related to the film, sponsored by the Rome festival’s Alice in the City sidebar, which focuses on films for young people. Activities included screenings of top scenes from the series, meetings with the Italian actors who dubbed the main roles in the films, a Twilight Saga trivia contest, a 12-minute featurette made up of scenes from Richard LaGravenese's upcoming film Beautiful Creatures, and culminating with the international premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which screened to a full house at the festival’s main venue, and then the all-night marathon.
The premiere took place in Rome without high-profile stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who were instead at the U.S. launch of the film at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. But that just put the fans center stage for the Rome premiere.
Around 100 giddy fans stuck with the program long enough to start the eight-hour film marathon, in which they’d be rewarded during the break between each film with special gifts related to the film, including books, tee-shirts, and DVDs. Each seat in the cinema came equipped with special cans of Pepsi Cola from the soft drink maker’s special limited edition series focusing on the film’s three main characters.
Several of the fans dressed up as characters from the film, and while waiting in line, recited fan favorite lines from the movies and quizzed each other on scenes from the series.
“Most of these people have seen all the films several times and so it’s interesting that they’re here to stay up all night to see them again,” said Donatella Lambertucci, 34, an office administrator who traveled to Rome from Le Marche, a region around 10 miles north of Rome. She said she made the trip for the Twilight Saga films and to catch a glimpse of Sylvester Stallone, who stars in Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head, which will premiere at the Rome fest Wednesday.
Other fans were less analytical about their reasons for watching the films. “It’s for the actors! They’re great!” 12-year-old Lea and her 13-year-old friend Virgilia, both from Rome, shouted and giggled when asked why they were waiting in line to see the four films in a row.
Alessandro, 12, said he was just drawn to films with “supernatural characters,” while 12-year-old Marina said she came to the marathon for the now rare chance to see the films on the big screen. “Most of the time we have to watch a DVD to see them and it’s better on a huge screen,” she said.
A few of the moviegoers came with their parents: “My son talks about these films every day but I’ve never seen more than a few scenes, so this is a way for me to see what all the fuss is about,” offered Marco Masciarelli, 44, an engineer.
This year’s Rome festival is the first under the artistic director of Marco Mueller, who came to Rome after a successful eight-year stint at the Venice Film Festival. He was approved for the post only five months before announcing the festival lineup, and the local media has criticized him for not attracting more big name premieres to the festival. But The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, along with Hill’s Bullet to the Head, Dreamworks’ animated adventure tale Rise of the Guardians, and Tar, the latest project involving James Franco are helping to stem some of those criticisms. Both Bullet to the Head and Rise of the Guardians premiere Wednesday, while Tar will screen later in the week.
The seventh edition of the festival, which got underway Nov. 9, concludes Saturday.