Protestors Disrupt Rome Film Fest Red Carpet
ROME – The International Rome Film Festival got underway Thursday amid protests from hundreds of angry movie industry workers that forced the red carpet ceremony for "Last Night," the festival's opening film, to be scrapped.
Police estimated the crowd of protestors at between 800 and 1200 actors, directors, screenwriters, technicians, and other industry figures who blocked the red carpet protesting cuts in spending on the arts.
Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi blasted the protests as "unjustified," and Gianni Letta, a leading figure in the Silvio Berlusconi government, said it could backfire on the protestors.
"By showing this decisiveness at a high profile event, it could end up discouraging international investors," Letta said.
The unscheduled protest forced festival organizers to scrap the planned appearance from "Last Night" director Massy Tadjedin and stars including Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes. The cast was instead ushered into the international premiere of the infidelity drama with bodyguards. Later, Tadjedin said they skipped the ceremony in part in solidarity with their Italian colleagues.
The film tells the story about a young and successful married couple, played by Knightley and "Avatar" star Sam Worthington, dealing with temptation for infidelity.
In a press conference Thursday, Knightley said the film was meant to "provoke discussion" without making a moral judgment about the notion of infidelity.
The fifth edition of the Rome festival runs until Nov. 5.