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The Rome Film Festival has just one award, and this year Danish film director Janus Metz Pedersen took home the prize, the BNL’s People’s Choice Award, for his new film Borg vs. McEnroe.
The pic tells the story of the famous 1980s rivalry between tennis greats John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) and Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason). It had its world premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was the opening-night film. Borg vs. McEnroe is set to open Thursday in Italy via distributor Lucky Red.
The Rome Film Fest closed on another high note this year under the leadership of director Antonio Monda, who has been confirmed to run the event through 2020.
The festival once again grew under Monda’s direction, with tickets sales rising 13 percent from last year across 106 and 268 screenings, including 14 world premieres. The total audience including badge-holders and ticket buyers exceeded 50,000, with festival venues covering the designated UNESCO City of Film.
Monda hosted a series of sold-out “Close Encounter” talks this year, bringing guests including Vanessa Redgrave, Xavier Dolan, Christoph Waltz, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ian McKellen to discuss their careers in front of festival guests.
“They don’t come to promote films,” said the fest director as to what he believes makes Rome unique. “Xavier Dolan knows his next film isn’t going to be finished for six to eight months, but he comes here to explain what he loves about cinema.”
Monda was particularly thrilled to close the festival Saturday night with a lifetime achievement award ceremony honoring David Lynch. The filmmaker is set to greet Italian fans at the fest’s final “Close Encounter,” where he will discuss highlights from his career and a few of his favorite films, including Federico Fellini’s 8½.
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