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Italy's 'other' film fest to kick off in Rome

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Italy's 'other' film fest to kick off in Rome
US director Martin Scorsese, shown here at Cannes earlier this year, is one of many A-listers who will attend the Rome Film Fest. Photo: YANN COATSALIOU / AFP
05:17 CEST+02:00
Cate Blanchett, Martin Scorsese, Sigourney Weaver and Michael Moore will all be attending this month's Rome Film Fest, Italy's 'other' cinema gathering after Venice. Just don't call it a festival.
"We are not a festival and those who want a festival will always be disappointed here," the Fest's director Antonio Monda told journalists on Friday ahead of the October 18-28 event which does not include a competition.
 
"What distinguishes us is that artists, directors, actors, actresses and producers choose Rome even if they don't have a film, book or CD to sell," Monda said.
 
The fest's 13th edition will screen 60 features, including 34 premieres. For the first time in Rome, two 'major' studios will premiere films. Sony Pictures will premiere the latest instalment in the Millenium series, "The Girl in the Spider's Web",
to be attended by the cast including star Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series "The Crown". France's Studio Canal will show "Mia and the White Lion" about an 11-year-old girl's relationship with a lion.
 
US director Barry Jenkins, who won the Oscar for Best Film in 2016 with "Moonlight", returns with "If Beale Street Could Talk" which tackles US racism and discrimination in 1970s. 
 
Martin Scorsese returns to his roots to receive a lifetime achievement award on October 22.
 
Other workshops and discussion groups will be held with the likes of Blanchett, Weaver and Isabelle Huppert, who will also receive a lifetime achievement award.
 
Moore on Trump
 
The director of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux will discuss the thorny issue of Netflix and the often delicate relationship between streaming services and film fests/festivals. 
 
Rome's show opens with "Bad Times at the El Royale" starring Dakota Johnson and Jeff Bridges, which tells the story of seven strangers at a run-down hotel in the Sierra Nevada.
 
Outspoken US documentary maker Michael Moore will show "Fahrenheit 11/9" about the day that Donald Trump became US president.
 
"An entertaining and worrying film that mixes Michael Moore's irony, intelligence and prophetic spirit," said Monda.
 
British documentary maker Tim Wardle will show "Three Identical Strangers" about triplets adopted by separate families who discover each other's existence aged 19.
 
The "Stan & Ollie" biopic about Laurel and Hardy, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly will also be screened, along with "A Private War" by Matthew Heineman, about Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Homs, Syria in 2012.
 
By AFP's Franck Iovene
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