By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 3, 2012 at 11:52AM
Since he left the Venice International Film Festival, Marco Müller has been navigating the challenging shoals of the relatively young Rome Film Festival, changing the dates for the 7th installment (November 9 – 17, 2012) as well as its location (Auditorium Parco della Musica and other Rome venues). He has now made his plans known for this year's fest and announced his programming personnel.
Muller plans sixty world premieres, a showcase of new trends in contemporary cinema, a series of master classes, and an array of initiatives devoted to Italian cinema and coproductions. There will now be an Official Selection to be composed of an International Competition of fifteen world premiere films (with rare exceptions), a choice of as many as six films Out of Competition, and two additional competitive showcases: CinemaXXI (21st-century Cinema) and another competition selection of up to fourteen features and seven shorts, Perspectives Italy.
This festival brings increased focus to the Italian film industry via a market; along with screenings, there will be a special program of meetings with film professionals, conferences, seminars, and workshops for film projects. From November 14-18, The Business Street (TBS), and its co-production market, New Cinema Network (NCN), will be held in the center of Rome.
Müller's selection committee, already scouting for titles for the main Competition, non-competitive Section and the competitive showcase CinemaXXI, is composed of recently departed London Film Fest director Sandra Hebron as well as programmers Marie-Pierre Duhamel, Enrico Magrelli, Giona Nazzaro, Laura Buffoni, and documentary expert Mario Sesti.
Other consultants aiding Marco Müller in specific areas include Chen Zhiheng (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan), Deepti D'Cunha (India), Elma Hadzirdezepovic Tataragic (the Balkans), Sheri Jennings (United States), Babak Karimi (Iran), Diego Lerer (Latin America – Central America, and South America), Paolo Moretti (“out-of-format” works – CinemaXXI), Alëna Shumakova (Russia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States), and Tomita Mikiko (Japan).
Alongside the Official Selection, starting this year the Festival will host Alice nella città, the showcase of youth-oriented cinema, as an independent sidebar. The Festival program will also include retrospectives and tributes to leading film figures and will pay tribute to an influential figure in contemporary cinema with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The films in the International Competition will be judged by an International Jury of seven leading figures in film culture from around the world, who will assign the Golden Marc’Aurelio for Best Film, the Best Director Award, the Special Jury Prize, the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, the Emerging Actor or Actress Award, the Award for Best Technical Contribution, and the Award for Best Screenplay.
An International Jury of five leading film and visual art figures will present the CinemaXXI Award and also the Special Jury Prize to feature-length films competing for CinemaXXI, as well as the Award for Short and Medium-length Films in the same section.
A Jury of five Italian film and culture mavens will make awards to films screening in Perspectives Italy: Best Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Short Film.
And an International Jury of five film and art world personalities will select the Fest's first Best Debut Film Award open to all first feature films premiering in the various sections of the Official Selection.
As before, audiences at the Rome Fest will electronically select the BNL Audience Award for Best Film to one film competing in the Official Selection.