By Lauren Gitlin
More than ever before, this year’s third annual Roma Fiction Fest, taking place July 6-11 at the Conciliazione Auditorium, Adriano Multiplex Cinema and LUMSA University in Rome, is striving to become a destination event for the international and Italian drama-producing television industries. This year marks the inception of the first-ever Roma TV Screenings, a new initiative that serves to underscore the growing significance of the event. “We want to be like the L.A Screenings,” Carlo Macchitella, director of the new Screenings section told VideoAge, “and not in competition with MIP-TV and MIPCOM. We hope to serve as a venue where TV executives can screen our fiction and weigh its value to their TV schedules.”
The festival (now cum-market) has, in a short two years, become a significant marketplace for Italian drama, and its growth is indisputable. Last year’s edition, which screened 194 titles from 24 countries (including 15 world premieres), drew 40,000 attendees, of which 4,000 were professionals. Similar numbers are expected to flock to the Italian capital for some 14 hours of Italian drama production, featuring the very best in series, miniseries and TV movies broadcast between September of 2008 and June of 2009. “Italian fiction needs to become more aggressive on the international arena,” added Macchitella, “and we are hopeful that this will happen with new stories, new actors and more competitive production values. We hope that the TV executives who will be attending the Screenings will begin to appreciate [Italian drama] and start thinking of how it can work for their TV networks.”
In addition to providing its pitching and “Speed Dating” sessions (July 8-10 ) aimed at pairing up creatives and producers itching to wheel and deal, this year boasts appearances by Lost creator, writer and executive producer Damon Lindelof and his colleague, Carlton Cuse, who serves as a writer and executive producer on the hit show. The duo will be awarded with the “2009 Roma Fiction Fest Special Award,” a prize bestowed upon them because of the series’ “new and compelling narrative style.” Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God) will also be on hand to speak about television production. “Colorful Mysteries in Black-and-White,” a special retrospective organized in collaboration with RaiTeche (RAI’s archives division) that takes a look back at the history of television drama, will also take place.
The event will be full of competing programs, conferences, business activities, a retrospective and workshops, in addition to the aforementioned activities.