#RomaFF12 | Close Encounters, all the protagonists

The 12th Rome Film Fest devotes an ample section of its programme to the onstage conversations with directors, actors, and important cultural and sport figures.

Forty years after the release of his first feature film, Eraserhead, the Rome Film Fest celebrates the genius of David Lynch by honoring him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The director of astonishing films known for their surreal atmosphere, hypnotic images and non-linear plots, after an early interest in painting Lynch broke into film with a short entitled Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times), filmed in 1966 on a budget of just $200. In 1971, while studying at the American Film Institute Conservatory, he started to film Eraserhead, which would come out in 1977 –  one of the quirkiest and most unsettling debuts in the history of film. In 1980 Mel Brooks turned to Lynch to direct The Elephant Man, a runaway hit that racked up eight Oscar® nominations, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. A wearer of many hats – as director, painter, musician, composer, actor, editor, set designer and author – Lynch will meet Rome Film Fest audiences to retrace the steps of his remarkable career (along with the above-mentioned films, his oeuvre includes Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Inland Empire and the cult tv series Twin Peaks). At the Auditorium, Lynch will also speak about the three films that have influenced his filmmaking the most, including Fellini’s 8 ½.

At twenty-eight, Xavier Dolan already has an impressive film career to his credit, one that offers proof of a continuous evolution of both style and content. With his Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, which he won for Mommy, along with a 2016 Grand Prix for It’s Only the End of the World (which was selected to represent Canada at the 2017 Oscars® for Best Foreign Language Film), the young Canadian filmmaker is certainly the most original and charismatic of his generation. Actor, screenwriter, producer, dubber (he voiced Stan in the French version of South Park, and Rupert Grint in the “Harry Potter” saga), and director of six hit features and two videoclips – including Hello by Adele – Dolan started acting as a child, but fell in love with directing in 2008. His very first film, J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother), based on a script he wrote at the age of sixteen, was a success and shot straight to Cannes, instantly establishing him as an enfant prodige of the big screen. With his extremely intimate and personal conception of film, Dolan manages to express the feelings to be found in little things, made even more vivid by the sweeping love stories Dolan takes on with a confidence and maturity simply extraordinary for his age. At the 12th Rome Film Fest, he will share his thoughts about his prolific career as an actor and all-around auteur.

Fresh from his triumph in the third season of Italian tv show Edicola Fiore and after announcing his return to variety shows, Rosario Fiorello is considered one of the heavyweights in Italian entertainment.
Famous for his start as an entertainer at vacation resorts and his legendary rejection at his audition with legendary Italian tv presenter Pippo Baudo, Rosario was a smash hit as the host of several seasons of Karaoke, a programme that turned into a social phenomenon.
In 1993 he became the host of Festivalbar, working with Claudio Cecchetto. That year he won a Telegatto award as the Personality Revelation of the Year and one as the Programme Revelation of the year; the following year he was chosen as Male Personality of the year. Following his fifth place at Sanremo music festival, in 1995, he took on a series of important roles as a television host, during which he progressively developed and imposed his style, distinguished by his light touch and perfect comedy timing. His excellent singing skills and remarkable talent as an imitator led to his incredibly successful eight-year run as the host of Viva Radio2.
His versatility opened the doors of cinema – he appeared in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley with Matt Damon and Jude Law, in which he sang Carosone’s hit song Tu vuò fà l’americano – and voice acting: he has been the voice talent of animated cartoon characters such as Dimitri in Anastasia, Johan Padan – the character created by Dario Fo, Garfield the cat in the homonymous film, and served as the narrating voice for the documentary March of the Penguins.

With a director for a father (Stephen Gyllenhaal) and a screenwriter for a mother (Naomi Foner), Jake Gyllenhaal’s fate was decreed since childhood. At the age of ten, he made his film debut in Ron Underwood’s City Slickers. After graduating from Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles in 1998, Jake enrolled at Columbia University in New York to study Eastern religions and philosophy, but dropped out two years later to concentrate on his career as an actor. He achieved international fame in 2001 thanks to Richard Kelly’s film, Donnie Darko, whose cast also featured his sister Maggie. Following, he acted in a series of successful films, including The Day After Tomorrow by Roland Emmerich and the award-winning Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee, which won him a nomination for the Academy Award and a Bafta Award. In 2007, he was in the cast of Zodiac, the thriller by David Fincher in which he played a cartoonist obsessed with crossword puzzles beside Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, and Rendition by Gavin Hood. In 2013, he starred in two more thrillers, both directed by Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners and Enemy. November 2014 marked the release in Italian theatres of Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, a film that featured Gyllenhaal in a double role as both lead actor and producer. Jake Gyllenhaal is involved in many social projects to promote culture, human rights, non-violence, and environmental protection. In 2015 he founded with veteran producer Riva Marker Nine Stories Productions, a New York-based independent production company. At the Rome Film Fest he will be featured in an onstage conversation with the audience.

With over a thousand victories to his name, Phil Jackson is the coach who holds the record for most games won in American professional basketball. His legend began when he was a player, winning two championships in the Seventies with the New York Knicks.
In the Eighties, he made his coaching debut in the now-defunct CBA, winning the championship in 1982 with the Albany Patroons. He joined the NBA in 1987, as assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls. His job there was to catechize an extraordinary player who was somewhat averse to teamwork, a certain Michael Jordan. Jackson became head coach of the Bulls in 1989, and between 1991 and 1998, won six NBA championships. Between 2000 and 2002 he had another three-year winning streak as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing home the championships again in 2009 and 2010.
Phil Jackson reinvented the role of coach, adopting practices such as meditation and motivational psychology, exploiting elements such as Native American traditions or philosophy to draw out the best from his players, with the purpose of building tight, result-driven teams. The “Zen Master”, as he was nicknamed by journalists, is one of the most iconic sports figures of all time. With the support of the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

He was thirteen years old when he had his first role in a Shakespeare play as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. After receiving a degree in English literature from Cambridge and spending ten years learning the ropes in regional theater companies, in 1964 Ian McKellen was invited by Sir Laurence Olivier himself to join the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic. He acted in stage classics and was wildly acclaimed at home and abroad. This was one reason McKellen took on the big screen rather late in his life, drawing the mainstream audience’s attention in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in films like Six Degrees of Separation and Richard III. His role in Gods and Monsters earned him his first Oscar® nomination for Best Actor. He went on to work with Bryan Singer, first in Apt Pupil and then in X-Men, as Magneto. But it was his star turn as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring that earned him his second Oscar® nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actor. After winning a Golden Globe award and two Tony awards, in 2006 the Berlin Film Festival awarded him an Honorary Golden Bear Award. Ian McKellen will be sharing his love of cinema and specifically the comic genius of Jacques Tati with the audience at the Rome Film Fest.
Ian McKellen presents
by Joe Stephenson, United Kingdom, 2017, 96’ | Doc |
The documentary is based on an exclusive 14-hour interview with Ian McKellen by Joe Stephenson, during which the English actor talks about his life: from his education in Wigan to his international fame, and his work as a gay activist. The documentary features rare archives materials: photographs never released before, exclusive films of his early work in theatre and scenes from his life presented on the big screen.

For over forty years, Nanni Moretti has been a lucid observer and unflinching critic of our society and its cultural and political drift. At the Rome Film Fest, he will go through his fascinating career on the big screen and his many incarnations, including that of actor and director of all his films, as well as actor, producer, distributor, and spectator at large, plus juror at the Cannes Film Festival.
One of the leading filmmakers of the post-1968 generation, Moretti has placed generational conflict, troubled family relationships, political disillusionment, the ills of conformism, and all the contradictions of contemporary society at the center of his films, all filtered through his unmistakably ironic and disenchanted gaze. He has starred in all his films, starting with his first feature I Am Self-sufficient (Io sono un autarchico) in 1976 to his most recent title My Mother (Mia madre) in 2015, and all the others in between: Ecce Bombo, Sweet Dreams (Sogni d’oro), Bianca, The Mass Is Ended (La messa è finita), Red Wood Pigeon (Palombella rossa), Dear Diary (Caro diario), April (Aprile), The Son’s Room (La stanza del figlio), The Caiman (Il caimano), and We Have a Pope (Habemus Papam). In 1987 he co-founded, with producer Angelo Barbagallo, Sacher Film, the production company that in 1991 acquired the Nuovo Sacher cinema, a historic art-house theater in Trastevere.
Over the course of his career Moretti won eight David di Donatello awards, the award for Best Director for Dear Diary at Cannes in 1994, and the Palme d’Or for Best Film for The Son’s Room in 2001. He also won the Special Jury Prize for Sweet Dreams (1981) at the Venice International Film Festival, bestowed on him by author Italo Calvino, and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for The Mass Is Ended (1985).

A remarkably sophisticated director, composer, pianist, conductor and musicologist, Michael Nyman will meet the audiences of the Rome Film Fest to talk about the close bond between cinema and music and of his career in visual art and photography. His films screened at prestigious international cultural institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate Modern and the British Museum in London. Born in London in 1944, he began his career in music in the late 1960s, when he coined the term Minimalism (a movement to which Philip Glass and Steve Reich also belong) and was commissioned to write the libretto for Harrison Birtwistle’s opera “Down by the Greenwood Side”. Author of some of the most unforgettable soundtracks in the history of cinema, from Prospero’s Books by Peter Greenaway – a director with whom he would build a true partnership, composing twelve soundtracks for him, including the splendid score of The Draughtsman’s Contract – to The Piano by Jane Campion, and The End of the Affair by Neil Jordan, Nyman combines folk, electronic, sacred and classical music, creating a new and exciting sound mix. Winner of the prestigious Ivors Classical Music Award, in 2013 he worked on creating a soundtrack for Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein. In 2015, he presented his project War Work, to commemorate the centennial of the outbreak of World War One, accompanied by suggestive images from the archives.

An author known for his surreal, unconventional and controversial style who has penned a number of global bestsellers, Chuck Palahniuk is one of the leading cult writers in the last two decades, particularly acclaimed by younger readers for his debut novel Fight Club (1996), which won international recognition when it was adapted for the screen with the same name by David Fincher in 1999.
Palahniuk studied journalism at the University of Oregon and graduated in 1986. He moved to Portland, where he briefly worked for a local newspaper, then became a mechanic. In this period, he wrote auto repair manuals and contributed to newspapers occasionally. In 1996, after it was rejected by various publishers, he finally published Fight Club, followed by Invisible Monsters and Survivor (1999), Choke (2001), Lullaby (2002), Diary (2003), Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (2004), Haunted (2005), Rant (2007), Pygmy (2009), and Doomed (2013), as well as other stories and novels. Palahniuk writes in a bare, minimalist style, often violent, with short, punchy sentences that underscore the dreariest and most depressing features of life on the wrong side of the tracks.
Chuck Palahniuk will be taking the stage for an onstage conversation entitled “American Gothic”, during which he will talk about the horror films that have thrilled him, and upset him the most.

Italian actor, director and dubbing artist, a flamboyant performer and minstrel for the spirit of Rome – its many facets and its memory which he continues to represent – Gigi Proietti is the perfect incarnation of theatre in the broader sense of the term, perfectly balanced between highbrow and popular culture.
Born in Rome in 1940, after graduating from high school, he enrolled at university to study Law, but abandoned his studies to dedicate his life to his real passion: art. He plays several instruments, including guitar and piano, which he used to accompany him for his first night club acts. He began to do theatre with the Gruppo Sperimentale 101 and, in 1970, was asked to substitute for Domenico Modugno in the musical comedy Alleluja brava gente, his first success.
In 1976 he partnered with Roberto Lerici, working in shows such as Leggero leggero and A me gli occhi, please. In 1978, with Sandro Merli, he became artistic director of the Teatro Brancaccio in Rome (a position he left in 2007 to become director of the Gran Teatro), a commitment that allowed him to create his own workshop for young talents. Starting in the Sixties, he began to lend his unmistakable voice to stars such as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Marlon Brando.
Alongside his career in the theatre and as a voice talent, Proietti made his debut as a film actor: his first starring role was in 1968, in The Howl (L’urlo) by Tinto Brass, followed by a series of hits such as Brancaleone at the Crusades (Brancaleone alle crociate), La proprietà non è più un furto by Petri and Horse Fever (Febbre da cavallo) by Steno. In his career, he also worked for international directors such as Sydney Lumet and Robert Altman.

With a career spanning over fifty years, Vanessa Redgrave is considered one of the world’s greatest living actresses. Born in London in January 1937, she had theatre in her blood: her father, Sir Michael Redgrave, and her mother, Rachel Kempson, were both actors and members of the Old Vic Theatre. At just twenty, Vanessa launched her stage career by joining the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford-on-Avon, after making her stage debut with her father in the play “A Touch of the Sun” and in the famous production of “Coriolanus” starring Laurence Olivier. Stage roles led swiftly to film roles, and in the latter half of the 1960s Redgrave established her reputation as a screen actress thanks to films such as Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment by Karel Reisz, A Man for All Seasons by Fred Zinnemann, and above all Blow Up by Michelangelo Antonioni, as well as The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tony Richardson and The Devils by Ken Russell.
In the years that followed, Redgrave continued to divide her time between film, theatre and political activism, taking part in her country’s social and political life from an early age and campaigning for nuclear disarmament. She is a two-time winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Best Actress and has racked up six Academy Award nominations, winning in 1978 for Best Supporting Actress in Fred Zinnemann’s Julia. In addition, she earned thirteen Golden Globe nominations and two wins, five Emmy nominations and two wins, while, as a stage actress, she has been honoured with the prestigious Tony Award and Olivier Award. The actress will attend an onstage conversation during which she will look back on her brilliant and intense career.
Vanessa Redgrave presents
by Vanessa Redgrave, United Kingdom, 2017, 74’ | Doc |
Vanessa Redgrave makes her directorial debut with a film that is exemplary in terms of its human and social content. A documentary about migrants seeking asylum in Europe, Sea Sorrow is the result of the actress’ personal journey in Italy and Greece, in Lebanon, in Calais and London, following the tracks of people who abandoned their own country to flee war, dictatorship and violence.

Born in Vienna in 1956, Christoph Waltz has been breathing the atmosphere of the stage since he was a child, thanks to his parents who were set designers and his grandparents who were actors. Following his acting studies at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in Vienna and the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, he began his film career in the 1990s working with Krzysztof Zanussi in Vita per vita – Padre Kolbe and in Fratello del nostro Dio. In 2009, his versatility with languages (he is fluent in English, German, French and Italian) led Tarantino to choose him over Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Hans Landa, the cruel and magnetic character of Inglourious Basterds. His performance as the ruthless Nazi won him a series of awards: Best Actor at Cannes, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. On the heels of this remarkable success, Michel Gondry chose him for the role of the Russian psychopath in The Green Hornet and Polanski tapped his drama talent in Carnage. In 2012 he won another Academy Award with Tarantino who starred him in Django Unchained beside DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx in the role of Dr King Schultz, a Teutonic bounty hunter with questionable morals. He later portrayed the disturbed Qohen in the dystopian The Zero Theorem by Terry Gilliam, the imposter in Big Eyes by Tim Burton, and starred in the role of Blofeld, James Bond’s arch-enemy, in Spectre by Sam Mendes.


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