Vatican body ready for its film close-up

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ROME -- The Vatican's Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo is getting more involved in the film industry, playing a role to coincide with the soon-to-start RomaCinemaFest and launching its own festival to take place in December.

Headed by Dario Edoardo Vigano, the Vatican's 60-year-old main foundation overseeing the entertainment industry will host two events to coincide with the Rome event that takes place Thursday through Oct. 27: a special sidebar and celebration of spiritual film set for Thursday at the Santa Scolastica monastery and four days later a round-table, "Critics' Worry," which will discuss films that polarize critics.

A separate festival sponsored by the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo -- called Third Millennium -- will take place in December, featuring the Italian premiere of Aleksandr Sokurov's "Aleksandra" about Chechnya.

Although the events are of limited scope, they are significant because they reflect a growing role for Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo, which has previously limited itself to commenting on spiritual issues related to the entertainment industry. Officials from the group said increased visibility likely is in the future.

In December, the organization attracted attention by helping to organize the world premiere of the Christmas drama "The Nativity Story," which screened at the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

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