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ROME – The much-heralded official appointment of Marco Mueller as the next artistic director of the International Rome Film Festival was delayed Monday amid a new controversy swirling in the Italian media over Mueller’s reported salary.
Paolo Ferrari, appointed as the Rome festival’s president March 5, strenuously denied the reports that Mueller would be paid €1.5 million ($1.95 million) for a three-year term, and festival officials told The Hollywood Reporter that the reports were groundless and that the delay was due to purely procedural reasons.
The reports, which circulated in the Italian press Monday, said Mueller would be paid a sum roughly equal to the festival’s €1.35 million ($1.76 million) deficit from last year’s event. That reportedly angered shareholders, many of whom are still licking their wounds after a long and contentious fight over the appointment of Ferrari and the resignation of his predecessor, Gian Luigi Rondi.
The vote on Ferrari was delayed three times as the parties with votes on the matter remained deadlocked. The issue was not resolved until Rondi stepped down Feb. 24.
Monday’s reports returned the twisting and turning ten-week story over the future of the seven-year-old Rome event to Italian media headlines after a week hiatus.
Ferrari’s appointment was supposed to clear the way for Mueller, who had a successful eight-year in Venice before being ousted in favor of National Film Museum president Alberto Barbera in December. Mueller is still almost sure to be appointed as Rome’s artistic director, but the process has so far been bumpier than expected.
Once appointed, Ferrari and Mueller will have to work quickly to hammer out the details for their inaugural edition of the festival, which will likely take place in October.
Rome officials now say the stakeholders meeting that will officially appoint Mueller to the job will take place Thursday or Friday.
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