Mark Valley, Wendell Pierce and Khandi Alexander at Roma Fiction Fest 2010

Day 2 of the 2010 edition of the Roma Fiction Fest brought another full programme of TV gems – so many, in fact, that I was forced to pick and choose between concurrently running shows on the numerous screens at Cinema Adriano. Yesterday saw the Italian premieres of two excellent, if entirely different, shows with the actors present to introduce the pilots.

Wendell Pierce and Khandi Alexander introduced the stunning opening episode of the post-Katrina New Orleans-based drama Treme, directed by Agnieszka Holland, which centres on the first second-line musical parade after the devastation of the storm, reuniting jazz musicians and residents as they start to face the rebuilding of both the destroyed city and their personal lives. Pierce was born and raised in New Orleans and said that his own family had lost everything and also mourned the loss of neighbours, so for this reason could verify the absolute truth and authenticity of Treme, which out of respect for the city and for those who had died, tells it like it really is. Mindful of the mostly Italian audience he invited us to make the connection with Italian neorealism which showed an Italy struggling to recover after the devastation of the Second World War, whilst Khandi Alexander suggested we should watch the episode as if it had been filmed for the cinema, rather than for television. I was totally absorbed by Treme and could have happily watched it all afternoon!

Mark Valley is a familiar face on the small screen having appeared in hugely popular shows such as Boston Legal and ER, and most recently Fringe. Yesterday evening he was in Rome for the Italian launch of his latest hit show Human Target in which he stars as the body guard with a difference Christopher Chance. Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, this was an adrenalin packed action show – think Bourne movies – with smart and droll dialogue and an undeniably charismatic central performance by Valley. I thoroughly enjoyed it and after one episode am completely hooked! The actor gave a lengthy interview beforehand – even speaking a little Italian at the beginning, to the delight of those present – talking about his military career prior to becoming an actor, the demands of filming the spectacular fight scene in that particular episode, the special effects in the show and also his own influences, naming Steve McQueen as an actor that he really admired.

Watch some moments from Mark Valley's appearance at the festival below or click here to watch on YouTube.