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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 14:06 GMT
Venice film festival selects boss
Indian director Mira Nair won the Golden Lion last year
Indian director Mira Nair won the Golden Lion last year
A director has finally been found for the world's oldest film festival in Venice.

After weeks of political wrangling the former head of Berlin's film festival, Moritz de Hadeln, has been picked as director of the Italian event.

Mr de Hadeln, from Switzerland, had been the director at Berlin for 22 years before leaving in 1991 after falling out with the German Government.


I am very sad that a brilliant country like Italy was not able to find a director that represents it

Producer Aurelio De Laurentiis
His appointment as head of the Venice festival comes after a host of "no thanks" from possible successors to outgoing director Alberto Barbera.

The rejections came amid reports that the Italian Government wanted to interfere with some of the country's cultural institutions, a charge denied by the culture ministry.

Minister Giuliano Urbani said the appointment of Mr de Hadeln reflected his will to guarantee "the full respect of cultural and artistic pluralism".

"The appointments were made giving full attention to the best professional qualities," he said, also referring to the other apointments for the Venice Biennale of arts, which includes the film festival.

Upset

However then announcement is already causing controversy because Mr de Hadeln is not Italian.

Film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis said: "I don't feel represented by him. I am very sad that a brilliant country like Italy was not able to find a director that represents it."

But Mr de Hadeln hit back, saying: "I denied categorically that I don't love Italian cinema."

The 62-year-old created the Nyon documentary film festival in Switzerland and also headed the Locarno film festival before taking over the Berlin film festival in the early 1980s.

Nicole Kidman was one of the stars at the festival
Nicole Kidman was one of the stars at the festival
While in charge there he faced criticism from the local film industry during his reign for not doing enough to promote them.

The Venice film festival is regarded as one of the most glamorous events on the movie calendar.

It is perhaps a more commercial prospect than its Cannes equivalent, with more Hollywood films and their stars in attendance.

Nicole Kidman and Gene Hackman were among the stars last year.

The Indian film, Monsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair, won the main prize at Venice, the Golden Lion award, at the last festival.

The 2002 film festival runs from 29 August to 8 September.

See also:

24 May 01 | Film
Moretti on Venice jury
28 Aug 01 | Film
Venice set for Film Festival
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