Rome Fest President Says Event Could Move From Current Home

Paolo Ferrari Headshot - P 2012

Paolo Ferrari Headshot - P 2012

Paolo Ferrari, appointed in March, said in an interview it would be "ideal" if the festival moved; he also said this year's event will have more money than expected.

ROME – The “ideal” future for The International Rome Film Festival would be to move from its current location at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the president of the foundation that oversees the festival said in an interview published Friday.

Former Warner Bros. Italia head Paolo Ferrari, who earlier this year took over as the president of the Fondazione Cinema per Rome (The Cinema for Rome Foundation), the entity that administrates the Rome festival, also told Corriere della Sera that the festival’s budget would be increased by at least €1 million ($1.25 million) compared to previous estimates.

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Ferrari was appointed March 5, and he soon after appointed former Venice Film Festival artistic director Marco Mueller to take the same position in Rome. Mueller had been ousted from Venice in December.

The seven-year-old Rome festival has been associated with Parco della Musica from the start: the festival’s predecessor was a series of one-off cinema events at the facility under the auspices of current Taormina Film Festival artistic director Mario Sesti, and Parco della Musica’s director, Aurelio Regina, is a member of the festival’s five-member board. In fact, the Italian media has reported that Regina at first opposed the appointment of Mueller to replace then-incumbent artistic director Piera Detassis based on part on speculation that Mueller might push to move the event from its home.

The modern facility, designed by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano, has earned kudos from architecture critics but has earned mixed reactions from festival goers, at least in part because it is located on Rome’s northern edge, far from the historical center and the best-known parts of the city.

In the interview, Ferrari said “The Festival? The ideal would be to have another base,” though one of the places he mentioned as a possible alternative location was an undeveloped area near the Maxxi Museum of Modern Art, which is in the same area as Parco della Musica.

In informal conversations, other festival officials have mentioned the possibility of relocating the festival one day to a collection of locations within the city’s historical center.

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If the festival were to move, it would not be imminent. Mueller already ruffled feathers when he pushed the festival’s dates from late October into mid-November, leaving only a six-day gap between the end of the Rome festival and the start of the 30-year-old Turin Film Festival. And it is believed the festival is contractually obligated to stay at Parco della Musica at least through 2013.

Regarding the budget, Ferrari said it will come in at between €12 million and €13 million ($15-16.25 million), which is greater than the €11 million ($13.75 million) originally approved by the board after Ferrari took the job in March. The extra money will likely come from increased private sponsorship, Ferrari said.

Ferrari is the Rome organization’s third president, following 92-year-old Gian Luigi Rondi, who stepped down to pave the way for Ferrari’s appointment in February, and Goffredo Bettini, one of the founder’s of the festival and a left-leaning senator who was forced out in 2008 after the election of right-wing Gianni Alemanno as mayor of Rome.