Milan mulls yet another Italian film fest


ROME -- Italy's already packed film festival calendar may become even more crowded, as the northern city of Milan said Thursday it is mulling the possibility of creating another festival.

The municipality of Milan confirmed Thursday that the city's culture secretary, culture and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, and actor and critic Enrico Ghezzi were working on a plan that could add a new Milan festival to an already overburdened calendar that already includes international festivals such as the venerable Venice Film Festival, the upcoming RomaCinemaFest, Sicily's storied Taormina Film Festival, the Turin Film Festival, plus scores of other smaller niche festivals.

Italy is already home to around 50 competitive festivals of various stripes, including nearly a dozen created in the last three years.

According to Ghezzi, the names under consideration for the new Milan festival are "Mnemosine" (Mnemosyne), the name of the mother of the nine muses in Greek mythology, and "Epifanie" (Epiphany).

Officials said the largest contributor to the new festival's budget would be the city, which would have to triple its funds destined for film promotion to some €2.4 million ($3.4 million).

It is not clear what part of the year the festival would take place or what its relationship would be with the Milan International Film Festival, which held its seventh edition in April.

The news come two months after it was announced that Milan would also be the site of an ambitious new plan that would create a massive 84,000-square-meter (900,000 square feet) film studio and back lot set to rival Rome's noted Cinecitta studios. The new studio project, to be built at the site of an abandoned tobacco plant, is expected to be open for business in 2010.