Then & Now: Rome’s Cinematic Festa

Then & Now: Rome's Cinematic Festa

From 2006 to 2019: the evolution of the Festa del Cinema di Roma

With the beloved fall season here, and the charm and cool weather that comes with it, events in the eternal city have been brewing and are ready to go. One of the most anticipated October events is the cherished cinematic festa, this year in its 14th edition, which goes by the name of Festa del Cinema di Roma. With lauded names like Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, Ron Howard, and more attending this year’s fest, audiences are gearing up for what seems to be one of the most exciting editions yet.

Nestled between the Venice Film Festival in August/September and the Torino Film Festival in November, Rome revels in making October its own cinematic celebration. Although this edition is undeniably star studded, the previous editions of the Rome Film Fest are not far behind. In fact, just last year’s edition saw Cate Blanchett, Sigourney Weaver, and Martin Scorsese walking down the red carpet.

Then & Now: Rome's Cinematic Festa

Albeit the festival may be young on paper, don’t let its youth fool you. Back in 2006, during its first edition, the festival boasted Sean Connery as a guest, followed by Clint Eastwood, Frances McDormand, Paolo Sorrentino, Scarlett Johansson and more in the following editions. Taking place in Rome’s auditorium Parco della Musica, designed by the renowned Renzo Piano, the festival has welcomed international audiences and stars since its conception.

The festival is divided into different sections that include: Close Encounters, Official Selection, Retrospectives, Tribute and Film Restorations, and Films of our Lives. A special segment, and one of the most treasured, is the Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates leading individuals in the world of art and culture. Where the main hub for the festival is the auditorium, events also branch out in different locations around the city. In addition to the customary MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts and the Casa del Cinema, this year will also see two sections of the festival at the MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. Just in case Rome itself as a setting wasn’t enough for the guests, the statues given out are a silver miniature version of the Roman emperor Marc Aurelius in Michelangelo’s famous Campidoglio Square; talk about Roman pride. 

Then & Now: Rome's Cinematic Festa

While it started out as a jury-based festival, since its 9th edition in 2014 the festa became a non-competitive international film festival where the audiences cast their vote after screenings; similar to the Toronto International Film Festival. By allowing participation and inclusion, the festival has created a special environment that allows the audience a unique level of engagement that nowadays is hard to come by. Thanks to the forum-like ambiance that presides the festival as a whole, each year the audience, and attention surrounding the festival, grows. 

What started out as the “Cinema. Festival Internazionale del film di Roma” in 2006, and is today the “Festa del Cinema di Roma” is a case in point of what love for cinema can create, uphold, and like its name states, celebrate.

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