Paolo Ferrari Named President of the International Rome Film Festival

11:49 AM PST 03/05/2012 by Eric J. Lyman

The former Warner Bros. Italia head becomes the third president of the festival after the festival's stakeholders voted on Monday.

ROME -- Former Warner Bros Italia head Paolo Ferrari was officially named the third president of the International Rome Festival after a vote of the festival’s main stakeholders Monday in what was likely the final hurdle ahead of the appointment of Marco Mueller as the seven-year-old festival’s artistic director.

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Ferrari’s appointment, which was widely expected, came by a four-to-one vote, with only the Province of Rome voting against. Province President Nicola Zingaretti had been a strong supporter of retaining recently resigned president Gian Luigi Rondi and artistic director Piera Detassis in lieu of Ferrari and Mueller.

The next step is for Ferrari, who has also served as president of the Italian audiovisual association ANICA, to officially appoint Mueller.

Ahead of the vote, the 91-year-old Rondi, who stepped down Feb. 24, issued a statement in which he praised the then-likely appointment of Ferrari, who Rondi referred to as “an old friend.” But Rondi did not mention Mueller, who he strongly opposed for the artistic director job.

The appointment of Ferrari officially brings to a close the highly contentious battle of succession in Rome sparked when Mueller was ousted as the Venice Film Festival’s artistic director Dec. 27. Mueller was immediately floated as a possible replacement for Detassis, whose mandate expired four days later, and soon after battle lines were drawn between those who supported giving her another term and those who backed Mueller’s appointment.

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Ferrari becomes Rome's third president in its seven-year history. Rondi, who served for four years, replaced the festival's co-founder Goffredo Bettini, a left-leaning senator, after the election of right-wing Gianni Alemanno as mayor of Rome in 2008. This time around, Alemanno called for removing Rondi in favor of Ferrari.

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