New direction for 2012 Rome Film Festival

The International Rome Film Festival has announced that its 2012 programme under new artistic director Marco Müller will include 60 world premieres, will put more emphasis on contemporary film and will include a new section dedicated to Italian cinema. The new CinemaXXI category will showcase 15 full or short cutting-edge features while the Prospettive Italia section will highlight emerging trends in Italian cinema and feature 14 full-length movies and seven shorts. The "In-Competition" category has been limited to feature a maximum of 15 films, including three Italian movies, and will be judged by a jury of seven figures drawn from cinema and popular culture circles. The festival's expanded Business Street film market will take place in city centre locations – possibly on Via Veneto – away from the festival’s traditional base at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, from 14-18 November. All of the films included in this year’s Official Selection will be world premieres – among the biggest names tipped for inclusion is Quentin Tarantino's upcoming release “Django Unchained”– while it looks likely that Sergio Castellitto’s “Venuto al Mondo” will be among the three Italian films in competition. The programme shake-up is the second major move by Müller and new president, former Warner Bros Italia head Paolo Ferrari, who have wasted little time in putting their stamp on the seven-year-old festival. In May Müller announced the event would move from its usual October outing to 9-17 November, meaning it is now positioned after heavyweight festivals of Venice in September and London in October and before Berlin in February. The new dates could make the Rome festival more attractive to movie companies keen to generate publicity for winter release movies with hopes of Oscar nominations, or targeting the Christmas holiday box office. Müller came to Rome in March after being ousted after eight successful years as artistic director at the historic Venice Film Festival, where he was replaced by film critic Alberto Barbera. Insiders say that Müller’s latest push to raise Rome’s profile will put it on a head-on collision course with its long-established rival in Venice, currently preparing for its 69th edition later this summer.