Rome Film Festival Eyes Change in Venue

Marco Mueller - P 2011
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Marco Mueller wants to move the seven-year-old fest from the Auditorium Parco della Musica to various locations in the city's historical center.

ROME – If new International Rome Film Festival artistic director Marco Mueller gets his way, the seven-year-old event will not only change its dates but it will also shift away from its current location at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.

Auditorium Parco della Musica, the sprawling iconoclastic complex located in northern Rome and designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, has earned praise for the quality of its facilities, but has also been criticized for its location -- distant and hard to get to from the center of the city and built in part underneath a highway off-ramp. In addition to the festival, Auditorium Parco della Musica is used for theatre and dance events, concerts and exhibitions.

The Italian media reported Thursday that Mueller had indicated he would like the festival to shift its location from Auditorium Parco della Musica to various locations in the city’s historical center. The changes would be made in stages, with the first taking place as soon as this year.

If the festival’s location does expand beyond Auditorium Parco della Musica, it will be the latest in a series of dramatic changes for the Rome festival this year. Already, Mueller’s appointment as artistic director in March made him the first person to hold that position who was not one of the festival’s founding officials -- indeed, Mueller was artistic director at the rival Venice Film Festival when the Rome Film Festival was founded in 2006.

Additionally, Mueller has said he wants to shift the festival’s dates from their traditional home in October back to late November, where it would be a mid-way point between September’s Toronto Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival in February.

But all this has been happening while contract discussions for Mueller have dragged on without completion. Officials now say the contract should be finalized either on Friday or Monday.