A mod­i­fied Venice Film Fes­ti­val to take place out­doors and on­line

The National - News - - ARTS & LIFESTYLE -

The Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val will go ahead on Septem­ber 2, but with a num­ber of mod­i­fi­ca­tions as a re­sult of the pan­demic.

Or­gan­is­ers con­firmed on Tues­day that the fes­ti­val’s 77th in­stal­ment will in­clude a slightly re­duced num­ber of films in the main com­pe­ti­tion, as well as some out­door and vir­tual screen­ings.

If plans re­main as cur­rently sched­uled, this will be the first ma­jor film fes­ti­val to go ahead since Covid-19 ef­fec­tively shut down the in­dus­try in mid-March.

Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Al­berto Bar­bera said in a state­ment that he is “ex­tremely pleased that the Bi­en­nale Cin­ema can be held with a min­i­mum re­duc­tion of films and sec­tions”. He said that “a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of direc­tors and ac­tors will ac­com­pany films to the Lido”.

There will still be 50 to 55 films in the of­fi­cial se­lec­tion, set to be an­nounced on Tues­day, July 28, and screen­ings will take place in the tra­di­tional venues as well as at two out­door are­nas (the Giar­dini della Bi­en­nale and a skat­ing rink on the Lido), with safety mea­sures in place.

The fes­ti­val will take its Vir­tual Re­al­ity sec­tion on­line this year and forego its Scon­fini sec­tion, which hosts smaller films and gen­res, to ac­com­mo­date more so­cially dis­tanced screen­ings of the ma­jor films in the com­pe­ti­tion. Ac­tress Cate Blanchett is pre­sid­ing over the main com­pe­ti­tion jury.

Travel to Italy, an early epi­cen­tre of the Covid-19 pan­demic, is cur­rently al­lowed from Euro­pean coun­tries. The Euro­pean Union last week said it would re­open its bor­der to 14 na­tions, but most Amer­i­cans have been re­fused en­try be­cause of the soar­ing num­ber of coro­n­avirus in­fec­tions in the US. Coun­tries with travel re­stric­tions will be able to view press con­fer­ences vir­tu­ally, Bar­bera said.

“With­out for­get­ting the count­less vic­tims of these past few months, to whom due trib­ute shall be paid, the first in­ter­na­tional fes­ti­val fol­low­ing the forced in­ter­rup­tion dic­tated by the pan­demic be­comes the mean­ing­ful cel­e­bra­tion of the re­open­ing we all looked for­ward to, and a mes­sage of con­crete op­ti­mism for the en­tire world of cin­ema, which has suf­fered greatly from this cri­sis.”

The Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, which is typ­i­cally held on the heels of Venice in Septem­ber, has al­ready an­nounced plans for a smaller 2020 ver­sion, with fewer films and vir­tual red car­pets.

Both fes­ti­vals serve as ma­jor launch­ing grounds for awards hope­fuls, al­though with the Os­cars en­try time frame ex­tended by two months, it is un­clear how things will work this year.

The fes­ti­val will take its Vir­tual Re­al­ity sec­tion on­line and forego its Scon­fini sec­tion of smaller films to ac­com­mo­date more so­cially dis­tanced screen­ings of ma­jor ti­tles

‘Joker’ di­rec­tor Todd Phillips with the film’s star, Joaquin Phoenix, at last year’s Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val

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