Seven artistic directors of the principal European film festivals got together during the opening night of the 77th annual Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2020 in Sala Grande in the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, in representation of the community of film festivals in Europe and around the world.
It is believed that this is the first time in history that directors of the world’s most important film festivals met up. In addition, it is also considered remarkable that such a meeting — held with all the precautions necessary — had happened during a pandemic, which showed great leadership and resolve.
The seven directors were: Alberto Barbera (Venice International Film Festival), Carlo Chatrian (Berlin International Film Festival), Thierry Fremaux (Cannes Film Festival), Lili Hinstin (Locarno Film Festival), Vanja Kaludjercic (International Film Festival Rotterdam), Karel Och (International Film Festival Karlovy Vary), and José Luis Rebordinos (San Sebastian International Film Festival), pictured above with presenter Anna Foglietta (center), an Italian actress.
On this occasion, in this exceptional year, the directors reiterated the importance of the art of cinema as a sign of solidarity with the global film industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many of their colleagues forced to cancel or postpone their festivals.
Over the course of the evening, the seven directors went on the Sala Grande stage to read a shared document that reassessed the fundamental value of cinema, and the role and importance of festivals in the support and promotion of cinema from all over the world — European cinema in particular.
Festivals — they reaffirmed — are not mere promotional showcases to highlight the best of authors’ and filmmakers’ creativity, but are increasingly becoming centers of culture, places of education at the service of young directors, opportunities for the cultural enlightenment of audiences, and places to educate young people about the beauty and richness of the film experience. Festival can also foster research and debate, and are places where creativity and freedom of artistic expression come together to produce a fertile and indispensable dialogue with audiences and society.