Milan fest organizers reinventing event

Event will be renamed MIFF Awards

Milan International Film Festival organizers are reinventing the Northern Italian event with a fresh approach to the awards and a name change.

The event, scheduled for its ninth rollout in May next year, will be renamed MIFF Awards, and will dish out prizes on the opening night of the event rather than the end.

The awards program will be modeled on classic AMPAS rules with nominations in categories and the winners plucked from there.

Organizers said the aim is to allow new, not-yet-released films into competition with nominations with the "revolutionary format" designed to best push the titles during the coming days of the event armed with the Milanese festival's Leonardo's Horse statue.

Event founder and director of the festival Andrea Galante is set to formally announce the changes to his event here today at a private lunch. Galante will be joined by the IIC Director Francesca Valente, the coordinator of all eight Italian Cultural Institutes in the United States.

Galante said: "We'll place the Award Ceremony at the beginning of the festival, give audiences good films 'worthy of viewing' in the beginning, and then let them decide in addition to our jury who'll become the winners -- eventually country by country."

The new-look event is scheduled to run May 4-12, 2009 in Milan.