Venice sails on regardless

Festival director rules out link with Cannes

by Richard Mowe

Walking the red carpet in Venice last year: Film festival organisers plan to go ahead with the event.
Walking the red carpet in Venice last year: Film festival organisers plan to go ahead with the event. Photo: La Biennale di Venezia
The organisers of the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival, due to take place from 2 to 12 September have confirmed that the event will go ahead as planned despite Italy being among the hardest hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic.

Roberto Cicutto, president of the film festival’s organising body the Venice Biennale also underlined in an interview with the Italian news agency ANSA that there no plans to collaborate with the Cannes Film Festival on a joint event despite the possibility being raised by Cannes director Thierry Frémaux. Cannes has been cancelled due to strictures imposed in France despite as yet undefined efforts to salvage some kind of offering at a later date.

Cicutto said: “With Cannes everything is possible. But I find it disconcerting that Thierry Frémaux keeps saying he is continuing to examine the situation and does not say what he wants to do. We are going forward with our programme … there is no dialogue [with Cannes].”

Although cinemas and other non-essential businesses have been closed during Italy’s lockdown the Venice organisers feel confident that the Italian authorities would grant Venice permission to open six or seven cinema for festival screenings.

Given health concerns and travel restrictions likely to still be in place by the time of the festival the organisers do not anticipate a large global attendance. The festival plans to use digital technology to allow foreign journalists, for example, to cover the event from afar.

It is expected that more detailed plans will be revealed by the end of May - but with the absence of Cannes the programmers are likely to be spoilt for choice in their selections.

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