by Alessandra Cardone
ROME, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The complete line-up of the 2018 Rome Film Festival was unveiled here in a press conference on Friday.
The 13th edition of the festival will run at the Auditorium Parco della Musica complex in the Italian capital from Oct. 18 to Oct. 28, opening with the screening of "Bad Times at the El Royale" by American director Drew Goddard starring Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges along with Cynthia Erivo, Chris Hemsworth, and Dakota Johnson.
The complete program comprises 38 films and documentaries in the Official Selection, plus seven pre-opening screenings and 13 tributes and restored film.
"We have been able to forge the (new) identity for this Fest, which is now well recognized at international level, and has seen a 20 percent audience increase in last four years," Antonio Monda, artistic director since 2015, told the press conference.
"The quality of the films presented here has been acknowledged by the press around the world, and I would only mention three titles as example, such as 'They Call Me Jeeg' (2015), 'Moonlight' (2016), and 'I, Tonya' (2017)," he added.
This edition will feature a large presence of women among directors, with 12 female filmmakers in the official selection.
The screening of Italian Paolo Virzi's "Notti Magiche" (Magic Nights) will close the Fest.
As planned by Monda since he took the reins of the event in 2015, the Fest will be non-competitive: there would be no jury and no awards but the audience's prize, as well as no opening or closing ceremonies.
Martin Scorsese and Isabelle Huppert will both be honored the Lifetime Achievement Award during the festival, and both will be among the protagonists of the "Close Encounters" section, to which the artistic director Monda has always devoted much attention.
The Encounters see cinema stars, as well as renowned artists and professionals (such as architects and writers) speaking from the stage with an interlocutor from the festival and with the audience on a variety of cinema-related topics.
Many of these speakers would not have films competing at the Rome Film Fest, nor would they come to promote their latest movie, book, or project.
"One characteristic of this Fest, in which we take pride, is the fact that many of our guests (at the Encounters) do not come here for the red carpet or the competition, but just for the pleasure of talking with us and the public about cinema," Monda stressed at the conference.
Major guests at the 14 Close Encounters scheduled this year will also include two-time Oscar winner Australian actress Cate Blanchett, Iranian photographer and video-artist Shirin Neshat, American novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, and French Thierry Fremaux, artistic director of Cannes Film Festival and director of Lyon-based Institut Lumiere.
There will also be Italian renowned filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, and American actress Sigourney Weaver.
SIDE-EVENTS ACROSS THE CITY
As usual for the Fest in the last four years, the program at the Auditorium will be accompanied by cultural initiatives across the Italian capital, including screenings, shows, exhibitions, and meetings.
At least two film screenings will be offered to patients at Rome's major Policlinico hospital, and to inmates at Rebibbia prison, while some Close Encounters will be broadcast live at the National Museum of 21th Century Arts MAXXI in the north of the city.
Red carpets will run at the main venue of the Auditorium, as well as in some of the most glamorous places of the Italian capital -- such as Via Veneto, Via Condotti, and Galleria Alberto Sordi -- with "events combining music, dance, art, and culture that celebrates the world of films and its relationship with Rome," according to organizers.