Rome Film Festival 2021

An overview of the 16th edition

After a difficult 2020 edition, the 16th Rome Film Festival (RFF16) kicks off today, October 14, 2021, and runs until Sunday the 24 at Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, Italy.

The poster of the 16th edition features actress Uma Thurman, a tribute to director Quentin Tarantino who is one of the special guests of the festival.

Artistic Director, Antonio Monda, and President of Rome Cinema Foundation, Laura Delli Colli, had to take into consideration the pandemic even for the 2021 edition: all the attendees, from press to audience, have to book in advance their seats for masterclass and premieres, to ensure social distancing and respect the restrictions.

However, this year’s festival will guarantee more encounters in person and theaters full for the 80% of their capacity. Here’s an overview of what’s to come.


Rome Film Festival 2021 – Official Poster. Credits/ Fondazione Cinema per Roma


The Eyes of Tammy Faye, by Michael Showalter, will open the 16th edition of the festival. The film, based on a true story, tells about the rise, fall and redemption of the televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, portrayed by actress Jessica Chastain. Between the 70s-80s, Tammy Faye and her husband Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield) established the most important American religious network. Tammy’s lashes, her singing style and her enthusiasm in welcoming people, coming from different social backgrounds, became legendary. However, financial issues, rivalries and scandals reversed her apparently well-built empire.

Other titles competing in the Official Selection include Joe Wright’s musical Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage and Hailey Bennett; Les Jeunes Amants by French director Carine Tardieu and Dear Evan Hansen, by Stephen Chbosky, which stars Ben Platt portraying a teenager who suffers from social anxiety. 


The section dedicated films coming to Rome Festival, after a surprising international debut, this year includes: Mothering Sunday by Eva Husson, a British drama which premiered at Cannes Festival, starring Odessa Young, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth and the Spanish film Libertad, a coming-of-age story directed by Clara Roquet.


This section includes films dedicated to young audience. The black-and-white comedy-drama Belfast, by Kenneth Branagh and the fantasy film Eternals, by Chloé Zhao, are two of the must-watch of this year’s festival. Also, actor Johnny Depp will participate in a special event, giving a masterclass for the audience of Alice Nella Città. 


Directors Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton will receive the Career Awards for their achievements and, as usual, both will be participating in the Close Encounters as well as other cinema stars, like actors Jessica Chastain, Peter Dinklage, directors Luca Guadagnino, Joe Wright, Alfonso Cuarón and Marco Bellocchio. Transversal characters, like writer Zadie Smith and comic book writer/penciller Frank Miller will be participating in this section. 

All the encounters are open to a limited audience, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but the events will be streamed live for the rest of the public in separate venues. Other guests will talk to the audience via video.


The retrospective of the 16th edition of the Festival, curated by Mario Sesti, is dedicated to Arthur Penn, one of the most representative authors of cinema history. Over the decades, the American director and producer brought the contradictions of contemporary society onto the big screen, TV and theatre, balancing his ability and delight to tell stories with social and political responsibility. 

This year’s tributes will remember Italian director Ettore Scola and actor Nino Manfredi. The restored version of Scola 1974’s C’eravamo Tanto Amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much) will premiere in this section. 

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