By Sonia Malpeso
ROME, Oct 16 - The third edition of Roma Film Fest kicked off on Oct. 22 with the return of internationally acclaimed movie stars and directors in a week-long celebration at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica.
The event’s title alteration, from last year’s “Cinema Festa Internazionale di Roma” to “Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma” was decided by new festival president, Gian Luigi Rondi, who wanted a stronger Italian identity. With notably fewer American stars appearing at this year’s event, the new philosophy seems to be putting a greater emphasis on Italian cinema rather than Hollywood.
The highlight of the festival is the “Cinema 2008” Selection, consisting of 14 European and International premieres which compete for two prizes: the "Marco Aurelio d'Oro" Award for Best Film of 75,000 euros, chosen by votes of the audience members, and the Premio della Critica (Citics’ Prize) for Best Film, awarded by a jury of international professionals. The jury will also preside in awarding prizes to the Best Actress and Best Actor. Al Pacino will be this year’s guest of honor, and will be the receiver of the Marc'Aurelio Alla Carriera Acting Award, given on behalf of Actor’s Studios. Previous recipients of the award included Sofia Loren (2007) and Sean Connery (2006).
One anticipated segment of the festival will be “L’altro Cinema/Extra,” incorporating screenings of independent and documentary films along with the opportunity for moviegoers to exchange dialogue with some of today’s most acclaimed actors and directors, including Al Pacino and David Cronenberg. “L’occhio del mondo/Focus,” is the section of the festival that is meant to capture and explore cultures from all over the world through music, art, and literature. This year’s “Focus” is dedicated to Brazil, unraveling its national traits, through photography exhibitions, film screenings, and dance concerts. A special feature of the Brazil showcase will be the Italian-Brazilian co-production Estômago/Una storia gastronomica, directed by Marcos Jorge, which won 4 out of 6 prizes at the 2007 Rio Film Festival.
Two films kicked off the festival. The first is L’uomo che ama directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi, starring Monica Bellucci and Pierfrancesco Favino The second opening film will be the international film Huit/Eight, directed by eight world-famous filmmakers: Jane Campion, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jan Kounen, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noé, Abderrahmane Sissako, Gus Van Sant, and Wim Wenders, was inspired by the UN 8 Millennium Development Goals and its campaign to end global poverty.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the Ticket Office in the Auditorium Parco della Musica or at authorized ticket outlets. For more information regarding tickets, schedule, and transportation, visit the official website.