Rome fest will stay relevant, Rondi says

Some doubt the event will continue to draw A-listers

ROME -- The next president of the RomaCinemaFest, Gian Luigi Rondi, declared himself a fan of the three-year-old event and promised to keep it relevant on the international stage. But industry insiders said it is unclear whether big-name stars would continue to attend the festival.

Rondi -- the 86-year-old film critic, head of the David di Donatello Awards and one-time director of the Venice Film Festival -- agreed Wednesday to succeed Goffredo Bettini as president after a political battle that held the event's fate in the balance. He will officially take control Monday.

Rondi told the Italian media Thursday that he "enjoyed" the first two editions of the RomaCinemaFest and has no plans to reduce the festival's interest in international fare. He said the event would focus new attention on Italian cinema, but he would not fuse the festival with the Donatellos, Italy's highest film honors.

Italian producers said the coming weeks would tell whether A-list talent would continue to be drawn to Rome.

"It's one thing for them to be allowed to come, another for them to be seduced into coming," one Italian producer said in an interview.