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Rome Film Festival Breaks Box Office Records

 

Sunday, October 21--------The Rome Film Festival, in only its second year, has broken last year’s box office records. A total of 42,000 tickets have been sold so far, with many screenings filled to capacity. The Festival’s website, www.romacinemafest.org, has also seen a veritable boom in visitors, with more than one million webpage impressions recorded in the last few weeks. “The Festival has been a tremendous success with the public”, declares Goffredo Bettini, President of the Fondazione Cinema per Roma, “which goes beyond every expectation, even the most optimistic. The people flocking to our events, exhibitions, encounters, screenings and book presentations are proof of a great passion and curiosity for culture.” 

The Cinema Village, a sprawling area of promotion tents, restaurants and temporary screening theaters, was certainly packed when I arrived at the Festival headquarters yesterday. Tables at the restaurants were impossible to come by, and every square inch of the area was packed with people on their way to screenings, press conferences or simply to drink in the atmosphere of the event.  

The Cinema Village is built in and around the Auditorium of the Parco della Musica, a massive theater complex that is used throughout the year for music concerts, built by prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. The futuristic style of the buildings, combined with the Cinema Village walkways, is a far cry from the historic center of Rome, just a kilometer away. In fact, my colleague Richard Meinking remarked, where we first arrived at the area, that “this must be the new Rome”. It is certainly where the cultural elite rubs elbows with the mass of young people and yuppies who seem to make up the core of the attending public.  

The Festival has highlighted itself as a “popular” Festival, an event designed to involve the people of Rome and Italy, rather than simply the media professionals. This is the great goal of the Festival, to bring quality international films to a growing public, and to foster Rome as a contemporary place of culture, not just a historic citadel of ancient civilization. From the pushing and shoving of the crowds experienced last evening, the program seems to be working (or maybe people were just huddling close together due to the unusually cool weather that seems more like Alaska than Italy). So far, a very interesting and enlightening atmosphere and a welcome addition to the roster of world-class film festival events.

 

Sandy Mandelberger, Rome FF Dailies Editor

 

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Online Dailies of CINEMA: Rome Film Fest: October 18-27, 2007

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