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Mueller appointed artistic director of Rome Film Festival

Marco Mueller has been appointed artistic director of the International Rome Film Festival, after weeks of speculation and infighting over the appointment.

In December, Mueller was unexpectedly replaced from his position as artistic director of the Venice Film Festival, after eight successful years at the helm, by film critic Alberto Barbera.

It is believed that Mueller will now use his considerable experience to reshape and boost the Rome festival's profile on the international stage. Among the ideas he is said to be considering is an outdoor summer presence for the festival, as well as the possibility of a parallel event showing only Italian movies, after Barbera announced he was abandoning a similar event initiated by Mueller in Venice.

Mueller said that he was flexible regarding the dates of the festival, although his stated preference is for the third week of November, which caused anxiety for the organisers of the 30th edition of the Turin Film Festival, running from 25 November - 3 December.

Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno intervened to say that the Rome festival was scheduled to run from 18 - 26 October this year, but Mueller said that the dates were still up for discussion.

Mueller's appointment follows a protracted power struggle in Rome, which saw former festival president Gian Luigi Rondi oppose Mueller and insist on the return of outgoing artistic director Piera Detassis.

In the end, 90-year old Rondi stepped down on 24 February, "for the good of the festival", and was replaced by Paolo Ferrari, who had held the post of head of Warner Bros. Italy for the last 21 years.

Ferrari and Mueller are expected to embark on an international tour soon, including stops in Los Angeles and New York.

With no love lost between Mueller and Barbera, as well as his former employers, tensions between the oldest film festival in the world and its seven-year-old rival in the capital are likely to increase.

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