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The Industry Dimension of the Rome FilmFest

Excelsior Hotel, Via Veneto, RomeExcelsior Hotel, Via Veneto, Rome 

Monday, October 22-------A film festival, even one that is dubbed a “public festival” as is the Rome FilmFest, always has a professional dimension to it. Films that are shown have either been sold or are actively being promoted to distributors in the host country. A strong response from the public or from film critics can foster the alchemy that allows films to be sold internationally. The Rome Filmfest has determined to facilitate this professional perspective by an initiative it calls The Business Street.

The Business Street follows the model of such events as the Toronto Film Festival---in offering film producers and sales agents the opportunity to connect with film buyers and programmers in an informal manner (as opposed to the formal markets associated with Cannes, Berlin or the American Film Market). Therefore, a “sales office” was set up at the Excelsior Hotel on the famed Via Veneto to give professionals in the film business an axis of activities for the films being screened as part of the Festival. In all, over 250 professionals participated in The Business Street….a mix of sales agents, producers, film promotion boards, film distributors, buyers and programmers. In addition to providing a networking point, the Festival organized industry-only screenings of films that were both in the Festival proper and those only being shown as market screenings.

Participating companies included such active industry players as Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures (Canada), Amuse Entertainment (Japan), Angel Films (Denmark), Arclight Films (USA), Bac Films (France), Cinecitta (Italy), Cinemien Film and Video (Holland), Distribution Company (Argentina), Extra Virgin (Thailand), Filmexport Group (Italy), Focus Features International (UK), Golden Scene (Hong Kong), Independenta Film (Romania), Kinowelt International (Germany), Media Luna (Germany), Mikado Film (Italy), New Line Cinema (USA), Pathe Distribution (France), RAI Trade (Italy), Sogepaq (Spain), The Co-Production Office (France/Germany), The Weinstein Company (USA), Wild Bunch (France) and Xenix Filmdistribution (Switzerland).

The above list represents a small percentage of the companies who assembled in Rome for The Business Street initiative. It is, by any standards, an impressive list. And if no specifics are yet available about sales or acquisitions done here, it is clear that when one mixes sellers and buyers that outcomes do result. If nothing else, Rome has replaced the gap left when the MIFED Film Market closed a few years ago of a Europe-based event where international professionals can keep tabs on new product and offer a preview of titles that will be available in two weeks time at the gargantuan American Film Market in Los Angeles. In this sense, Rome has room to grow as a place where films are not only appreciated, but where actual deals (or at least dialogues) can occur.

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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