Rome festival taps Piera Detassis

Film journalist will become main artistic director

ROME -- Veteran film journalist Piera Detassis officially took over as the main artistic director of the Rome Film Festival on Monday, while the festival announced that producer Roberto Cicutto would come on board to direct the market.

The changes represent the latest shake-up in a volatile year for the festival, which saw its founder and president step down, its name changed and the composition of the festival take on a more Italian flavor after a new political party took over the Rome mayor's office for the first time in a generation.

The appointment of Detassis, who took a more central role in the festival's 2008 edition, officially does away with the event's original structure, in which five co-directors headed various sections.

Of the original five, only two remain. In addition to Detassis, Mario Sesti will continue to head the innovative "L'Altro Cinema" section, previously known as the "Extra" sidebar. Cicutto, meanwhile, will head the Mercato Internazionale del Film, formerly known as the Business Street.

The 60-year-old Cicutto, a longtime collaborator of director Ermanno Olmi, has produced more than 30 films, including last year's high-profile "Miracle at St. Anna" from Spike Lee.