The 71st Venice Film Festival will kick off at the traditional four-screen multiplex dubbed Palazzo del Cinema on August 27on the Venetian island of the Lido, while the third edition of the Venice Film Market (VFM) will begin the next day at the Excelsior Hotel, just down the block.
The market, in keeping with its promising growth trend, will be looking to add to the 264 distributors that attended last year. To coax exhibitors into participating in the VFM, the organizers offer facilities that go well beyond the great location and luxurious hotel.
For the Italian film sector, in addition to the video library, screening rooms, clubroom and business center, there will be a specific focus on improving the internationalization of Italian movies, with over 200 members of the Italian industry gathered to attend networking events and seminars. There will also be a special networking session on August 31, bringing together international sales agents and independent exhibitors. Other perks for market attendees include a large number of conferences organized by VFM’s industry office. Plus, attendees with Industry Trade Passes or Gold Passes will be able to make use of the market’s unique social network; the VMF Platform, where participants can create a profile and post various items, such as their agenda, news and catalog.
Furthermore, the first European Gap Co-Financing Market will be launched on August 29 with the goal of establishing a new, parallel marketplace to help producers finance the final third of their projects. To apply, producers have must have already finalized 70 percent of financing. If admitted, producers will meet potential financiers from a variety of backgrounds (producers, distributors, or promoters) for one-on-one meetings. This year, 15 projects have been admitted to this finance marketplace, and six have an Italian producer or co-producer, by far the largest contingent.
Introducing Italian producers to the various ways in which international producers secure financing will hopefully put Italian producers on the movie production map. This could become a critical service because in recent years, especially for the least politically connected, there has been a drastic reduction in Italian government subsidies.
On August 31, a similar financing initiative will take place, focusing on works-in-progress from Africa and the Levant. Six titles have been selected for this initiative.
Both of these financing initiatives could prove especially helpful for the large number of Mediterranean producers selected for participation, considering that many have found themselves abruptly orphaned by their formerly generous state-controlled financiers. Hopefully, more projects will be admitted in future markets as this initiative grows.
On the festival side, the films submitted for the jury’s evaluation have already been announced. French film composer Alexandre Desplat, who has penned six Academy Award-nominated film scores, will head the jury tasked with assigning the coveted Golden Lion. Other notables in the jury include English actor Tim Roth, Italian actor/director Carlo Verdone and Jhumpa Lahiri, an Indo-American Pulitzer-Prize winner, among others.