The Venice Film Festival announces a pared-down programme, but with the main sections intact
- The gathering is getting rid of Sconfini, but has confirmed the competitive Venice 77 and Orizzonti sections, Out of Competition and Biennale College Cinema; the VR competition will unspool online
"The first international festival following the forced interruption dictated by the pandemic becomes a meaningful celebration of the re-opening we all looked forward to, and a message of concrete optimism for the entire world of cinema, which has suffered greatly from this crisis,” said Venice Film Festival artistic director Alberto Barbera during the announcement of a number of changes to the upcoming edition, as a result of the health and sanitary protocols imposed by the COVID-19 emergency.
So as to comply with the mandatory measures required to guarantee that participants may attend the 77th edition of the festival (2-12 September) safely – first and foremost by adhering to social distancing – the overall number of films in the Official Selection will be lower, although not by much. The line-up in fact confirms the competitive sections Venezia 77 and Orizzonti, which will maintain their usual procedures and format, as will the Out of Competition section, and Biennale College Cinema. The screenings will take place in the theatres where they have been traditionally held on the Lido, adopting all the safety measures established by the competent authorities for the health emergency and in force on the date of the event. The Venice Virtual Reality competition, on the other hand, will be shown entirely online, rather than on the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio, thanks to an innovative, dedicated platform accessible to all accredited visitors, in collaboration with VRChat and HTC Vive Pro.
As for the Venice Classics section, it will be hosted as part of the programme of the festival Il Cinema Ritrovato, a showcase for restored films promoted by the Cineteca di Bologna, which will take place from 25 to 31 August in Bologna. This collaboration between the two festivals offers an unprecedented solution to an exceptional situation. The selection of restored classics, to which new titles will be added, will then be screened in Venice in the following months.
The festival this year will forego organising the Sconfini section, with the purpose of guaranteeing the greatest possible number of seats for the repeat screenings of the films in the main sections confirmed above.
Two outdoor arenas will also be installed in the Giardini della Biennale and in the skating rink on the Lido. Most of the films in the official line-up will also be screened at the Cinema Rossini in Venice and at the Centro Culturale Candiani in Mestre, for the Esterno Notte programme organised by the Comune di Venezia’s Circuito Cinema.
Barbera added, “The Official Selection, with its 50-55 films from around the world, will provide its traditional overview of the best that the film industry has produced in recent months, thanks to the extraordinary response by directors and producers, despite the arduous working conditions over these past few months. A significant number of directors and actors will accompany the films to the Lido, while Internet connections will make it possible to hold press conferences with all those who will be unable to participate in person, due to the travel restrictions that remain in place”.
The 5th edition of the Venice Production Bridge (3-11 September) will be held as an in-person and on-site event with its usual elements on the third floor of the Hotel Excelsior on the Lido di Venezia, with specific components also taking place online. Virtual one-to-one meetings with projects presented in-person will also be organised online for accredited professionals who are unable to travel to Venice.
The physical event on the Lido will therefore be maintained with the Venice Gap Financing Market (VGFM, feature films) and the Book Adaptation Rights Market to be held in person, while also offering many possibilities to participate remotely from all around the world (the VGFM for all the Virtual Reality projects, Final Cut in Venice, the Market screenings and the European Film Forum). Panels and events that will take place physically at the Hotel Excelsior will for the first time be streamed on the website of the Venice Production Bridge, where all the details of the programme may be found.
The complete programme and further details of the event will be announced during the press conference to be held this month on 28 July.
(Translated from Italian)
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