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ROME – The International Rome Film will on Monday take its first official step toward putting the last messy weeks behind it by naming Paolo Ferrari, the widely respected former head of Warner Bros. Italia, as the festival’s president and setting up the almost assured appointment of former Venice artistic director Marco Mueller to take the same position in Rome.
Weeks of acrimonious fighting came to a close Feb. 24 when critic Gian Luigi Rondi stepped down as president in a move he said was calculated to “save the festival.” Rondi had been a strong backer of former artistic director Piera Detassis, who he said should have her mandate extended for at least another year.
With the official appointment of Ferrari, the next phase in the festival’s history will get underway.
Ferrari, who has also served as president of the Italian audiovisual trade group ANICA, will be charged with helping assuage the concerns of many of the festival’s biggest backers, some of which supported Rondi and Detassis. But his most high profile move is expected to be to appoint Mueller as artistic director.
Other changes are likely to follow for the seven-year-old Rome event, which is reportedly set to move its dates back a month to the end of November, at the halfway point between the close of the Toronto Film Festival in September and the start of the festival in Berlin in February. The festival is also expected to ramp up its The Business Street market event, and, organizers hope, attract a powerhouse lineup with Ferrari and Mueller at the helm.
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