FictionFest has negative 'Side Effects'


ROME -- "O Professore," a two-part series about violence in the Italian city of Naples from director Maurizio Zaccaro, was the main screening at the RomaFictionFest Wednesday after the highly-publicized screening of a German film about the connection between birth defects and pharmaceuticals was scratched because of a pending lawsuit.

The Adolf Winkelmann-directed two part series "Contergan" (Side Effects) was originally scheduled to be Wednesday's main event, but it was pulled from the program under standing orders from German magistrates. It was not replaced in the program, and Winkelmann said in a press briefing that he did not know when and where the two 90-minute segments would finally screen.

"The fate of these programs is a mystery," Winkelmann said. "We hoped to show it in Monaco last month and it was pulled. Now it's pulled from Rome. I don't know what is next."

"O Professore" attracted its own negative attention in the Italian media, for casting life in Italy's third largest city in a negative light.

The first-year festival, which focuses on television content, also debuted its version of a "speed dating market" Wednesday, with a series of short meetings between producers of ten television series from Italy, the U.K., the U.S., Greece and international distributors taking place all day.

The market will continue Thursday, with producers of ten short series from Albania, Italy, the U.K., France and Spain set to carry out their meetings with distributors.