As Travel Agent goes to press, Italian officials are concluding the first Rome Film Festival, October 13 to 21, to apparently great fanfare in both the city and the international media.
"It's going very well," says Publicist Vanessa Jerome on October 17. "The objective was to make it a festival that the public is really involved in, and they certainly are...There's a good ambiance. They're there every night for the red carpet...It's a program that seems to satisfy the public and the true movie goers as well."
Plenty of A-listers turned out: Nicole Kidman, Sean Connery, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Gere, Viggo Mortensen, and Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci. (In a snub, Sophia Loren was not invited for the opening ceremony, which provided much publicity. She reportedly stayed home and ate chocolate with Sister Maria Scicolone.)
One source estimates the crowds showing up for the red carpet entrances each night at the Auditorium Parco della Musica at 600 to 1,200. No word yet on the official number of people who purchased tickets or who participated.
Most luxury hotels in
"We are booked for the film festival," says a clerk
at the Hotel Hassler, echoing confreres at the St. Regis (where Kidman
reportedly stayed) and The Ritz. "
Whiting adds: "The Via Veneto Association, which includes most of the Starwood Hotels in town, as well as Splendid Royal, Bristol Bernini and others, is hosting special events...with movie sets, famous movie's pictures, et cetera."
If you intend to sell next year's event, one festival organizer says he expects the 2006 venues to be used again next year. Movies were screened in 20 sites around the city.
Travel Agent contacted two of Travel & Leisure's
Cushing was far more enthusiastic, saying of whether the
event represented a selling point for agents. "Oh absolutely...the
wonderful thing about
Sertoli, however, said Select Italy tried selling packages to other Italian film festivals in 2004 but they generated only a tepid response from clients.
"It didn't really work out. Probably because it was the
first attempt; probably should have pushed a bit more on the market. It's not
necessarily that easy to combine (a film festival) with traditional tour
elements. It may not be strong enough to motivate an American traveler to go to
"I would be reluctant to say yes based on the experience
we had in 2004, but indirectly, it's something that you can talk about to
increase the interest in a certain place like
For information on the festival, visit www.romacinemafest.org.