This week’s post comes from our ACCENT Rome Study Center. As we move into the latter half of October, the whole city starts gearing up for the Festa del Cinema di Roma, an annual film festival attended by big-name directors, writers, producers, and celebrities. Films are screened, auteurs discuss their works, and viewers cast their vote for “Il Premio del Pubblico” — the People’s Choice.
Once known as “Hollywood on the Tiber,” Rome has always had a deep connection with the world of cinema. Back in the 50s, Cinecittà Studios transformed the Eternal City into a glamorous hotspot. Some of the most iconic films of those years— such as La Dolce Vita, Ben Hur, and Cleopatra— were shot at the Roman studios. And many American actors, directors, and producers flocked to the city, attracted by the cheap costs of filming and Rome’s undeniable beauty. Rome was the place to be.
Today, this open-air set remains a busy hub of creativity for the film industry, housing the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the oldest film school in Europe and exclusive location of many events and festivals.
Cinema represents a huge part of the identity of this city as well as a lively sector of its economy: there are more than 1,300 enterprises active in the film industry that benefit from a strong public-private cooperation. Even UNESCO has appointed Rome a place in its Network of Creative Cities along with Sofia, Galway, Santos, and Sydney.
Fall is the perfect season to explore the history and identity of Italian Cinema, as at the end of October, one of the most renowned film festivals in Europe crams the venues of the Auditorium Parco della Musica: the Roma Film Festival. International guests, dozens of screenings, master classes, and exhibitions are just some of the events in the revelry. This year, the festival will feature talks with David Lynch, Chuck Pahalaniuk, and Jake Gyllenhall.
Although the festival is a non-competitive, the audience, after a week of selected unreleased screenings, is called to vote for their favorite movie. The idea behind the People’s Choice Award (Premio del Pubblico BNL) is to provide a tool for social inclusion and cohesion, while also creating a platform to continue to cultivate the excellence of Italian cinema.
In the Fall Semester of 2013, Kenyon College professor Jon Sherman was able to incorporate the Festival into his film course:
“We were so thrilled to discover that we could attend the Rome Film Festival during our semester in Rome. It became the centerpiece of the semester abroad. Students attended talks by Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, and John Hurt, and we got each student a pass so that they could see as many films as they liked. I even had a friend who was premiering his film at the festival that year so our students got to meet him on the “red carpet” and sat right with the filmmakers at the premiere. I think that each of our students would say that it was one of the top highlights of an already incredible few months in Italy.”
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