Rome was not built in a day. Neither were movie festivals. Rome took years to become what it is today, and Festivals too.
But the new Artistic Director of the Rome Film Festival, Marco Mueller, would, given a chance, build the cinematic event into a canvas of magnificence before we can spell Rome.
Mueller, who, though credited with salvaging the sinking Venice Film Festival and anchoring it firmly on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, had to leave after a distinguished record of eight years. He is now ringing in remarkable changes for Rome. Its seventh edition will run from November 9 to 17, and looking at what is coming, Rome may well be an imposing competitor to Venice.
Mueller plans to fill his Festival with premieres; in his last year at Venice in 2011, every movie in the Festival’s top two sections were premiers. Rome will have about 60 premieres this year.
Besides this, Mueller in introducing two additional competitive sections: Cinema XXI (21st-century Cinema) and Perspectives Italy. These will be in addition to International Competition with about 15 films, and Out of Competition with six entries.
Cinema XXI will through its selection of 15 features (both long and medium-length) and shorts will showcase “the continuous reinvention of cinema on the contemporary visual scene.” Perspectives Italy will reflect new trends in the country’s cinema, and include 14 works.
Helping Mueller to find the cream of cinema across continents will be Deepti D’Cunha from India, Chen Zhiheng (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan), Elma Hadzirdezepovic Tataragic (the Balkans), Sheri Jennings (USA), Babak Karimi (Iran), Diego Lerer (Latin America – Central America, and South America), Paolo Moretti (“out-of-format” works – Cinema XXI), Alëna Shumakova (Russia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States), and Tomita Mikiko (Japan).
A seven-member jury will judge movies in International Competition, and it will give away the Golden Marc’Aurelio for Best Picture, the Best Director Award, the Special Jury Prize, the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, the Emerging Actor or Actress Award, the Award for Best Technical Contribution, and the Award for Best Screenplay.
An international jury of five men and women will present the Cinema XXI Awards and also the Special Jury Prize to feature-length films as well as the Awards for Short and Medium-length movies.