Bringing its passion for driving to a celebration of film, Mazda is collaborating with the 11th annual Rome Film Fest, which runs from 13-23 October. This is the fourth consecutive year the Japanese carmaker has supported the event, and it has something extraordinary in store for friends and fans of the iconic MX-5 roadster.

Mazda will invite MX-5 friends and enthusiasts chosen from across Europe during competitions to drive their MX-5s to Rome, where an extraordinary cinematic experience awaits on the first weekend of the Fest. This of course is in addition to numerous attractions including screenings of outstanding films and film material spanning various genres, public appearances by Hollywood stars like Oliver Stone, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, and an atmosphere that aims to stir people’s emotions rather than focusing on rituals and competitions.

“We’re here to wholeheartedly celebrate film from the viewer’s perspective,” says Artistic Director Antonio Monda, who took on the position prior to the 2015 Rome Film Fest. “The Rome Film Fest is about the love of cinema, pure and simple. We’re taking the event back to its roots and putting the festivalgoer in the spotlight.”

It’s an uncompromising approach, and one that mirrors Mazda’s attitude towards driving fun as best characterised by the MX-5. The roadster was also front and centre at the 2015 Rome Film Fest, which attracted more than 150,000 visitors. Last year’s highlights included an interactive 360° MX-5 selfie experience, a snug MX-5 cinema venue for two, and a convoy of MX-5s driving from the event to the “Miataland” resort outside Rome.

The MX-5 does indeed have many fans in Europe and around the globe, having sold more than 1 million times since first launched in 1989. Today it remains the standard for affordable and reliable sports cars as well as driving fun. The MX-5 has officially held the Guinness World Record for bestselling two-seater sports car since 2000. And in spring, the current fourth-generation model won 2016 World Car of the Year.