Stars flock to Rome's 'multicultural' film festival

Actresses Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes and Julianne Moore are among the movie stars set to attend the 2010 Rome film festival this month, which will focus on independent cinema, organisers said Thursday.

"It's an international programme, particularly multicultural, with films by independent directors born for the most part in 1964," festival director Piera Detassis told journalists.

The festival, set up in 2005 by then mayor of Rome and film enthusiast, Walter Veltroni, will run from October 28 to November 5 and feature films from countries including the United States, Mexico, Ireland, Denmark and Japan.

The wide range of international co-productions combines traditional themes such as family and childhood with multi-ethnic and "intense, contemporary obsessions," Detassis said.

Kurdish Iranian director Fraiborz Kamkari, who lives in Italy and whose "The Flowers of Kirkuk" will be screened at the festival, is described as a "stateless" film-maker.

Films such as Liu Binghian's French-Hong Kong production "The Back", and Iranian American director Hosein Keshavarz's "Dog Sweat", are just as difficult to categorise.

"Oranges and Sunshine," the eagerly awaited debut by British director Jim Loach, will be screened at the festival following its premier in Korea this month.

The film, shot on location in Nottingham, London and Adelaide, South Australia, is based on the scandal, discovered in the 1980s, of thousands of children deported without their parents' knowledge to Australia, where many suffered abuse.

Six works will have their world premier, including a feature film on the adventures of London-based "nightmare investigator" Dylan Dog, the star of a popular Italian horror comic strip.

The festival, which has an annual budget of 13.5 million euros (18.7 million dollars), has received more support from 160 sponsors and is 70 per cent self-financed, organisers said.