The film festival calendar is such a tight affair that even a slight change has cataclysmic repercussions on events both big and small. When longtime Venice Film Festival topper Marco Mueller’s contract was not renewed, the upstart 7 year old Rome Film Festival immediately grabbed him. The Rome event, with its market sidebar and access to the professionals based in the Italian capital, has been a growing event, if not in glamour than in influence. Traditionally held in October, the Festival has pushed its dates one month later, in order to avoid being crowded out for event films by Venice (which begins later this month and runs through September 10. The new dates are November 9 to 17, which avoids a direct conflict with the 30-year-old Turin Film Festival, a prominent discovery festival that will take place this year from November 23 to December 1. However, it will overlap with the entire schedule of the 53-year-old Festival dei Popoli in Florence, the country’s oldest documentary festival, which is scheduled for November 10-17. Since all Italian festivals receive large chunks of change from the federal government, this a delicate decision, since both festivals named risk decreased media attention and possible public funding. Rome organizers believe that by changing its dates to November, the festival’s The Business Street market event will gain stronger footing as a halfway point between the big markets at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Additionally, they hope that with a late-in-the-year date, the Festival might serve as a new springboard for winter releases either vying for Oscar eligibility or the Christmastime box office.
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