Venice Film Festival expected to run as planned

Governor gives assurances as region emerges from lockdown

by Jennie Kermode

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 2020 Venice Film Festival is to go ahead as originally scheduled, it was announced today. Veneto governor Luca Zaia, a member of the Biennale di Venezia board of directors, revealed that he expects it to take place between the 2nd and 12th of September.

Zaia, who is a member of the far right League party, has a history of speaking out against lockdown and attracted controversy when he began to lift restrictions a week ahead of the rest of Italy. The region was hit hard early on but has latterly experienced significantly fewer deaths than neighbouring areas. Only a limited range of businesses are currently open and some social distancing measures continue to apply.

Italy placed restrictions on its film industry during the early stages of the pandemic and the existence of similar measures across Europe means that there are likely to be fewer films shown at the festival than usual. This may make it possible to incorporate additional safety and hygiene measures.

The probability is that Venice will now be the first major festival to be held following the initial wave of Covid-19, though it remains to be seen how effective infection control measures will be over the long term, so other festival organisers remain cautious.

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