'Too Big to Fail' Screens to Full House at Rome Film Festival

HBO Films
"Too Big to Fail"

All signs are pointing to this year's The Business Street, the fest's informal film market, as being the most successful yet.

ROME – Too Big to Fail, the drama from Curtis Hanson that details the 2008 collapse of banking giant Lehman Brothers, premiered to full house at the Rome International Film Festival Wednesday, while the official numbers from the festival’s market event were released showing an overall increase in activity compared to last year.

Too Big to Fail, which is part of the official selection but not in the main competition, is part of a wider theme in Rome this year, which features several films and events that touch upon the world financial crisis.

Among the other titles to touch on the theme are L’Industriale (The Industrialist) from Italy’s Giuliano Montaldo, and French film Une vie meilleure (A Better Life) from Cedric Kahn -- both of which screened earlier in the week. L’Industriale screened out of competition, while Une vie meilleure is among the 15 in-competition films.

Meanwhile, two days after the close of The Business Street, Rome’s informal film market, indications are that it might be the most successful version of the event yet.

Overall attendance rose for the sixth time in as many years (792 accreditations were issued), and for the second consecutive year, international industry figures outnumbered Italian, though this year the gap grew significantly.

“In a way, the economic crisis is actually helping us because many buyers were too cautious to close deals in Toronto, and for Europeans, the American Film Market is too expensive,” said Sylvain Auzou, The Business Street’s international manager, adding that the total number of screenings was reduced to 172 to make it easier for individual projects to garner attention.

“I got a great deal of positive feedback on the number of screenings, the number of meetings to take place [the festival said 950 co-production meetings took place in the five days of the event], and the number of deals people said they were able to close or work on,” Auzou said.

Auzou said The Business Street’s timing -- it ran Oct. 27-31 -- made it an attractive alternative to AFM, which runs Nov. 2-9, for Europeans. But it may lose that advantage next year, when Rome moves back two weeks to its usual slot on the calendar.

Next year will also see most of the activity at The Business Street moved from its home on Rome’s picturesque Via Veneto to Rome’s new Maxxi Museum of Modern Art, which, unlike the Via Veneto, is within walking distance of the festival. Though most participants will still stay in hotels in the Via Veneto area, they’ll move by shuttle to the spacious Maxxi, where screenings and conferences will be held. The market may also shed some of its informal atmosphere with room for traditional market stands for producers.

The festival runs through Friday.

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