Rome film festival under way

Oct. 18, 2007 at 10:26 AM

ROME, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- International stars flocked to Italy for the second Rome Cinema Festival, which kicked off Thursday and will showcase 167 films from 40 countries.

Expected to attend the festival were Cate Blanchett, Keira Knightley, Halle Berry, Monica Bellucci, Sharon Stone, Robert Redford, Tom Cruise and Sean Penn, ANSA reported.

Italian screen icon Sophia Loren is to receive a lifetime achievement award during the festivities. Rome will have a retrospective of her work, including the 1964 classic, "Marriage Italian Style" with Marcello Mastroianni.

Arriving Thursday, Loren predicted the event would be "a bellissima festa."

Many of the screenings in Rome will be open to the public, unlike some other festivals which only invite the media and industry to watch the movies.

The festival also boasts a new movie theater for children and a kiosk where professional hairdressers and makeup specialists will bid to make fans looks like movie stars.

"There'll be double the theaters outside the auditorium and we'll be selling many more tickets," festival President Goffredo Bettini told ANSA.

Bettini said he expects at least 500,000 visitors at this year's event,matching the crowd for last year's festival.

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