Milan International Film Fest forges ahead

Organizers say 100-plus films have been submitted

LONDON -- Organizers of next year's Milan International Film Festival remain bullish about the event's prospects after announcing a radical shake-up of the event during this year's American Film Festival.

Organizers said more than 100 films from 29 countries have been submitted to the remodeled event in just three weeks.

Changes include dishing 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.

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

So bullish are the organizers that they even mentioned MIFED, the ill-fated Milan movie market that expired in 2004 after 72 editions as the industry turned its back on years of infrastructure concerns and organizational chaos.

Organizes said they hope the festival and prizes will "revive Milan as a major player in the international film industry, a reputation that died when MIFED failed."

"We knew we had to have a state-of-the-art format, but such fast success is a nice surprise for us too," said Andrea Galante, event founder and director of the festival.