Rome fest director to exit in compromise

Goffredo Bettini steps down to retain city's backing

ROME -- The battle between the three-year-old RomaCinemaFest and Rome's new mayor may be drawing to a close, with a surprise agreement that will see festival president Goffredo Bettini step down and Mayor Gianni Alemanno agree to continue the city's financial and political backing of the event.

Bettini and Alemanno met late Tuesday, and sources said they will officially announce the plans for the festival -- including Bettini's resignation -- in the next several days.

Bettini's replacement is not yet known, though there is speculation that it could be Rome Chamber of Commerce official Andrea Mondello, a nonpartisan figure who would be a compromise candidate between the center-right government in City Hall and the center-left governments at the provincial and regional level.

Those four governmental organizations -- along with the host site Auditorium Parco della Musica -- each appoint one seat to the festival's five-member board, which then officially selects the president.

One name no longer under consideration, sources said, is writer-director Pasquale Squitieri, Alemanno's first choice for the post, who attracted a great deal of criticism with blistering rhetoric against the festival.

Alemanno was elected Rome mayor a month ago after running on a platform that said the city should abandon its backing of the film festival in favor of more spending on basic services. But the 50-year-old mayor has tempered his views toward the festival recently.
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