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ROME – Gabriele Salvatores, the director behind 1991 foreign language Oscar winner Mediterraneo, is being rumored as the next artistic director of the Turin Film Festival, following in the footsteps of auteur Gianni Amelio, whose mandate expires at the end of this year — though both Salvatores and Amelio on Thursday refused to add to the speculation.
The story first appeared in Wednesday’s edition of La Repubblica, which quoted anonymous sources within the organization of the 30-year-old northern Italian festival as saying Salvatores, 62, would be officially named after Amelio’s mandate expires.
On Thursday, both directors brushed aside the story — though neither denied the reports were true.
“It’s curious and bizarre,” Salvatores said. “I am sorry for the buzz that has arisen around a fellow director who I respect greatly and who is still in charge.”
For his part, the 67-year-old Amelio — best known as the last Italian to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film festival for Cosi ridevano (The Way We Laughed) from 1998 and for Cannes jury prize winner Il ladro di bambini (The Stolen Children) — said he was upset such a story would make the rounds while he and his staff are “working hard to prepare for this year’s edition of the festival.”
This is set to be a difficult year for the Turin, after the International Rome Film Festival moved its dates so that it will conclude just six days before Turin gets underway. New Rome artistic director Marco Mueller pushed for the change so that Rome could occupy the mid-way point between the Toronto Film Festival in September and Berlin in September, and Berlin in February. But Turin organizer said that the close proximity of the two events would make it more difficult to attract sponsors and media attention. Rome will take place this year Nov. 9-17, while Turin takes place Nov. 23-Dec. 1.
Turin has already said it will give a lifetime achievement prize to Ken Loach this year, while Italian director Paolo Sorrentino will head the main jury.
If Salvatores is indeed tapped to replace Amelio, he will be the third consecutive Italian film director to hold that position. Roman director Nanni Moretti, a six-time nominee for Cannes’ Palme d’Or and winner of the festival’s best Director prize for 1993’s Caro diario (Dear Diary), preceded Amelio in the job.
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