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Rome Film Festival Boasts an Impressive Lineup and A-List Attendees

Kayla Pantano (October 12, 2016)
This year's festival (Oct 13-23) will feature an extended program of screenings and talent.

The 11th edition of the Rome International Film Festival opens Thursday at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica with an impressive lineup suffused with world premieres and a star-studded guest list, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep. The second year under artistic director Antonio Monda, the event will run one more day than usual until October 23 at the same budget of 3.4 million euro. Thanks to Monda, who has made a full use of his connections, the festival is doubling its bets on both films and talent.

The Lineup

The 11-day event will open with Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, an acclaimed drama about an African-American in Miami who struggles to reveal he is gay. More exciting October and November releases to follow include: Ron Howard’s Inferno, a mystery thriller filmed in Venice and Florence; Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation, a period drama based on the slave rebellion Nat Turner led in 1831; and Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.

Of the 40 films deriving from 26 countries on the main festival lineup, 11 are from Italy. Four of which are in the official selection, including Maria per Roma by Karen Di Porto, Naples ’44 by Francesco Patierno, 7 Minuti by Michele Placido, and Sole, Cuore, Amore by Daniele Vicari.

Australian crime thriller Goldstone, Chinese 3D martial arts blockbuster Sword Master, Iranian drama Immortal, and the Gavin O'Connor-directed thriller The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick, are just a few more of the highlights.

Several classics are also on the schedule, such as Advise and Consent (1962) by Otto Preminger, Milk by Gus Van Sant (2008), and Lincoln by Steven Spielberg.

The festival will close with Kolkata-based Lion, featuring Nicole Kidman and Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel.

The Stars

The 15 Close Encounters series, up from last year’s 10, are planned with the likes of Roberto Benigni, Bernardo Bertolucci, David Mamet, and Viggo Mortensen, as well as American novelist Don DeLillo and contemporary art duo Gilbert & George. These guests will take center stage and share with the audience their personal experiences and insight into which films shaped who they are today. Fan-favorite Tom Hanks, who is receiving a lifetime achievement award and career retrospective, will participate in the first audience discussion. Equally as rousing, Meryl Streep will host a question-and-answer session for her fans to promote her latest film, Florence Foster Jenkins, directed by Stephen Frears.

Another headliner booked for the occasion is Academy Award winner Oliver Stone. Scheduled to present Snowden, a biographical film about the American whistle-blower that he co-wrote and directed, he will also discuss films on American politics in a sidebar aimed to stimulate discussions in Rome with the US presidential election only weeks away.

To add to the excitement, the innovative Italian singer-songwriter Jovanotti will make an appearance in a segment called “Images, Music, and Words.” No stranger to cinema with songs featured in a wide array of popular movies, he will explain the impact visual influences have on his music and express his admiration for the art of filmmaking.

Monda has also recruited New York Times chief film critic, A.O. Scott, and Los Angeles Times critic, Justin Chang, who will participate in a panel on film criticism and its role in the changing global media landscape.

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