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ROME – Nearly two months after he was first appointed as the new artistic director for the International Rome Film Festival, Marco Mueller‘s job became official when the festival’s stakeholders finally approved his contract.
Mueller was appointed to the post March 16 after a long and tumultuous selection process that forced stakeholders to decide between Mueller and then-incumbent Piera Detassis. But then contract talks dragged on from there amid reported controversies over Mueller’s salary, contract terms and changes he wanted to put in place for the festival.
The contract agreed to Wednesday will pay Mueller €120,000 ($160,000) per year, the same salary Detassis earned for the job. As reported earlier, the festival will also move its dates from late October to Nov. 9-17, about a week later than Mueller said he wanted when he was first appointed.
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Overall, Mueller said he was pleased with the latest developments. “This will allow us to start the work we need to make this the best festival possible,” he said in a brief interview following the approval of his contract.
The festival’s market event, known as The Business Street, will remain in its downtown location along Rome’s picturesque Via Veneto, though some parts of the market will take place at the Maxxi Museum nearer the Auditorium Parco della Musica venue that houses most of the festival’s screenings. The market will take place Nov. 14-17 to keep the maximum distance from the American Film Market.
Mueller’s contract was the last significant hurdle for the festival, though a few other issues remained unresolved, such as whether or not some screenings would take place in cinemas closer to central Rome, and if the festival will feature an Italian film sidebar that could fill the void left when Alberto Barbera, Mueller’s successor in Venice, cancelled the festival’s Contracampo Italiano sidebar. Mueller said those decisions would be made in good time.
“Let us just take a moment to catch our breath and then we’ll focus on those things in a few weeks, after Cannes,” Mueller said.
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