NEW YORK: Actor Robert De Niro and the growing Tribeca Film Festival he founded gave support on Thursday to Rome s new international film competition ahead of its debut in mid-October. The Rome festival, the pet project of Rome mayor and movie buff Walter Veltroni, will screen 10 films from New York s fifth Tribeca festival, held earlier this year, officials said at a news conference. In return, Tribeca s 2007 festival will show a selection of films from Rome. Selections shown at Tribeca this year to be screened in Rome included The Yacoubian Building, billed as the most expensive film ever made in Egypt and The War Tapes, a documentary filmed by National Guard Soldiers in Iraq.
De Niro said he looked forward to a long relationship with the Rome event, which will start with a 20-minute screening next month of select scenes from The Good Shepherd, a film he directed starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie. Veltroni, who has defended his new Festa del Cinema against concerns it would compete with Venice s Mostra del Cinema, the world s oldest film festival, said the New York festival had much in common with Rome. Both festivals love quality but they also love the audience, he said. They do not believe quality and the audience are opposites. Both Veltroni and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg are in favor of boosting their cities capital by establishing them as film-making hubs, but Bloomberg on Thursday focused on the cultural benefits from sharing film selections. The films would not only be exposed to new audiences and the festivals promoted internationally, but the reciprocal screenings would in turn help New York and Rome become even greater movie towns, he said. De Niro declined to say much about the growing impact of the New York festival, which he founded to revitalize the Tribeca area after the World Trade Center attacks, but other officials hoped its growth would inspire Rome. We started our festival from scratch so we know what it takes to start out, said Jennifer Maguire, president of the Tribeca Film Festival. And Bob De Niro loves Rome, so that is a big part of this.