Paolo Baratta Introduces 73rd Venice Film Festival

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President of La Biennale di Venezia Paolo Barrata
We won’t linger more than necessary over routine questions such as the usefulness of film festivals in the face of the ongoing changes in the demand and offering of works, how they are viewed, how they are produced, etc.
Our recognition of everything that is evolving around us and could influence this demand finds us primarily involved in adopting initiatives which can help address the changes.
All the while holding fast to a number of principles regarding our mission as a cultural institution and maintaining a number of organizational formulas. A certain stability in operating methods encourages rather than hinders the transit of innovations and the aggregation of extra initiatives.
As in other art forms, in film, too, great attention must be paid to the quality and the vitality of the works, above and beyond their genre.
Only through courageous choices and the ability to take risks can a “cultural” function be performed. We will be useful as long as we know how to be fairly unpredictable.
It is no paradox that, as long as we remain faithful to these principles and maintain this specificity, we will also be able to preserve and reinforce our ability to overcome strong international competition and attract quality productions which consider participation in our Festival a way to obtain added value for their commercial launch. The most recent editions of the Festival have shown this very clearly, and this year’s Festival in particular.
The three main innovations of this new phase are: the inauguration of a “new screening room” which is also a new section; increased commitment to the “Biennale College” (an instrument to foster film development from the initial project to the completed production, and whose results have already proven to be more than gratifying); the launch of the “Venice Production Bridge,” a new instrument which can lead to the complete financing of fully planned works.
These innovations mark both our receptiveness toward a greater range of works and genres, and the intensification of our contribution to those energies which conceive, construct and make films. These work commitments go well beyond the actual days of the Festival.
The hole has been covered over! To the municipal authorities, our gratitude for the promptness with which they dealt with the issue, once the knots created by controversy and dispute had been untangled. We finally have a new open-air space which allows us to redraw the map of the Citadel of Cinema; we can integrate traditional programs with new initiatives.
We will continue to oversee the decentralization of the festival’s films to other Italian cities, and of the Italian films to our cultural institutes abroad.
We thank everyone, from Alberto Barbera and his collaborators to everyone at the Biennale who helps organize the Festival and develop our program.
Our thanks to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism , the local authorities, our sponsors and the members of the press who, starting tomorrow, will work with and at the Festival. And to the city of Venice, whose many initiatives help foster greater hospitality and more heartfelt participation.
P.S. Yesterday marked the beginning of the Biennale-Theatre program, which will conclude on August 14th. Directed by  Àlex Rigola, it represents a successful alliance between Festival and College: a unique formula which involves a great many young people (307 of them, from 22 countries), who attend works by maestros as spectators and also collaborate with them on specific projects, many of which are later performed in public.
P.P.S. A few days ago, the call was concluded for the selection of the 12 film projects which will participate at the Biennale College; 205  applications were submitted.
Paolo Baratta
President of La Biennale di Venezia
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