The Venice Film Market, which has been held alongside the Venice Film Festival since 2012, has been fine-tuned and renamed Venice Production Bridge. The new event was held on September 1-5 (within the 73rd edition of the Venice Film Festival, running August 31-September 10) and was directed by Pascal Diot, with Savina Neirotti as content curator.

The Production Bridge focused on the presentation and exchange of original projects for films, TV, Web and virtual reality works, in an effort to meet the needs of industry professionals who are increasingly interested in opportunities for co-productions and new projects’ leads more than finished works. It also meant to address how to revitalize the weeping state of Italian productions that are appreciated internationally.

The event once again encompassed the Venice Gap-Financing Market, now in its third edition. This year, 40 projects in the final stages of development and funding were presented: 18 movies, seven documentaries and 15 works between television series, virtual reality films, Web series — from 26 different countries, with France and Italy taking the lion’s share. Among the titles included in the selection were feature film Let It Be Morning from Israel’s Dori Media, Luxembourg from Germany’s Tandem, and TV series Nemesis from Italy’s Indigo Films. All the events of the Production Bridge were held on the third floor of the Excelsior Hotel in Venice Lido and services offered to participants included a digital video library, an expanded industry networking area and a business center.

Other initiatives held alongside the Production Bridge were the traditional Final Cut in Venice, a workshop for a restricted number of works in progress from Africa and the Middle East; and the European Film Forum, featuring two well-attended conferences, one on access to finance for creative industries, and one on the future of cinema. This year’s event also launched the Book Adaptation Rights Market, which welcomed 15 invited international book publishers.

Pascal Diot, director of the Production Bridge, told VideoAge he was very pleased with the growing success of the market, which this year registered 1,800 professionals (up 12 percent from 2015). He pointed out that he wouldn’t want the event to grow too big because it would lose its intimate nature and pose new problems. Growth would mean accommodation problems and would be logistically difficult in a city like Venice. He’s already dealing with delegates getting stuck on the other side of the water basin for a variety of boat transportation delays.  

He also stated that the goal of this market is to become the “producers’ rendez-vous of the year,” explaining that he was not so much interested in attracting distributors — who can find a much larger venue at the Toronto Film Festival, held immediately after Venice — but instead he prefers to have producers, directors and financiers in attendance.

Diot also stressed the importance of presenting works-in-progress belonging to a variety of genres — not just films — expanding the offerings to television, the Web, and virtual reality to better accommodate the needs of a rapidly evolving content industry. It’s also worth noting that this year the Venice Film Festival inaugurated a state-of-the-art virtual reality theater with individual seats that pivot 360 degrees.

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