Gabriele Salvatores Too Busy to Run Turin Film Fest

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Gabriele Salvatores

The director announced that his next film, "Siberian Education," could be headed to the Berlin fest and would hit cinemas Feb. 28.

ROME – Oscar-winning Italian director Gabriele Salvatores is no longer a candidate to be the next artistic director of the Turin Film Festival, event organizers said Thursday, a day after remarks from Salvatores himself indicating he was too busy to consider taking on the job.

Salvatores spoke Thursday at the Courmayeur Noir Festival in the Italian Alps, where he also announced that his next project, Educazione siberiana (Siberian Education), would premiere in cinemas Feb. 28, adding it could have its world premiere before that at the Feb. 7-17 Berlin Film Festival. The film, based on a book by Russian-born and Italy-based writer Nicolai Lilin, stars John Malkovich in a coming-of-age story based in the semi-autonomous break-away Republic of Transnistria, located on a sliver of land wedged between Ukraine and Moldova.

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Salvatores said it would be “difficult” for him to take the job in Turin due to his busy schedule, though he said the 30-year-old Turin event was his “favorite” film festival.

Salvatores is best known as the director of the war drama Mediterraneo, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign language Film in 1992.

Salvatores had been widely reported as likely to take over the Turin event, and it is not clear which other figures are being considered for the job. Cannes regular Paolo Sorrentino, who was president of the Turin jury this year, was quick to squash speculation that he might be interested in the job as the festival drew to a close last month, saying he had no interest in the position.

In the wake of Salvatores’ remarks in Courmayeur, Ugo Nespolo -- president of the National Film Museum, the Turin festival’s parent organization -- along with local and regional government leaders on Thursday met with Salvatores in Turin. Following the meeting they officially announced he was no longer a candidate for the job.

The last two directors of the event were noted film directors: Gianni Amelio, the last Italian to win Venice’s Golden Lion with 1998 drama Cosi ridevano (The Way We Laughed), directed the festival through its last edition, following a mandate from six-time Cannes Palme d’Or nominee Nanni Moretti.

The 30th edition of the festival, which ran Nov. 23-Dec. 1, drew accolades for its lineup, but earned most of its headlines internationally after UK director Ken Loach announced he would turn down the career tribute the festival planned to honor him with in protest of alleged worker abuses at the National Film Museum.