History of the Venice International Film Festival – Recent editions, 2012-15

The 69th Festival in 2012 saw Alberto Barbera as the new artistic director alongside remarkable new initiatives: the launch of Biennale College – Cinema, a higher education training workshop for the development and production of micro-budget audio-visual works, and the establishment of the Venice Film Market in dedicated spaces at the Excelsior Hotel. As part of the renovation – in agreement with the City of Venice – of the existing facilities of the Festival, which included the restoration of the Sala Grande in 2011, a new, larger and more functional foyer in the Palazzo del Cinema was built to welcome the public. The intervention also included the renovation of two historic screening rooms, the Pasinetti and Zorzi, for an overall extension of 50 more seats.


Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.04.13 PMThe retrospective was titled «80!» on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Venice Film Festival (1932-2012) and presented unique copies of films thought to be lost but actually existing in the Biennale’s ASAC archive collections. This was complemented by theVenice Classics section of restored classic films. The opening film was Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist; the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was given to Italian director Francesco Rosi, who received the award from Giuseppe Tornatore. The main jury chaired by Michael Mann awarded the Golden Lion to Pieta by Kim Ki-duk and the Silver Lion and the Coppa Volpi for best actor to The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson and the two actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Among the stars that were on the red carpet, Robert Redford (his first-time attendance on the Lido), Michael Cimino (Persol Award), Spike Lee (Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Film-maker Award), Brian De Palma, Jonathan Demme, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Winona Ryder, Michael Shannon, Ray Liotta, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Fassbender, Isabelle Huppert, Claudia Cardinale, Noomi Rapace, Kristin Scott Thomas, Olga Kurylenko, Emmanuelle Seigner, Takeshi Kitano, Peter Brook, Liliana Cavani, Marco Bellocchio, Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Barbora Bobulova and teen-idols such as Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, James Franco, and Shia LaBeouf.

To celebrate its 70th edition, the Festival of 2013, directed by Alberto Barbera, created the special project,Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded. 70 directors from all around the world made a short film, lasting between 60 and 90 seconds, in total creative freedom. All these short films were given their world premiere at the Lido during the 70thFestival, and later published on the Biennale website http://www.labiennale.org in a new and specific page dedicated to the history of the Festival, with the addition of rare photographs and unique documents preserved at the Biennale Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC), as well as 40 excerpts from footage films kept in the archives of the Archivio Storico Istituto Luce Cinecittà (which were screened at the Festival before the films from the Official Selection).
The 2013 edition also presented successfully the 3 feature films of the Biennale College – Cinema, an advanced workshop opened to young filmmakers from around the world for the production of micro-budget films, launched at the 2012 Festival. It also announced the 12 projects of the 2nd edition of the Biennale College – Cinema 2013/14. The 2nd edition of the Venice Film Market also proved to be a success, set up in dedicated spaces at the Hotel Excelsior, and involving 246 major distributors. As part of the redevelopment of the historic structures of the Festival – carried out jointly with the City of Venice – the Palazzo del Casinò had a new 150-seat room (Sala Casinò) and the Press Room was expanded and technologically improved. Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Sandra Bullock

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.05.20 PM and George Clooney, was the opening film in 3D. The Golden Lion for lifetime achievement of the Biennale was awarded to American film director William Friedkin. The Jury of the Venice 70 competition, headed by Bernardo Bertolucci, awarded the Golden Lion to the film Sacro GRA by the Italian director Gianfranco Rosi. The Silver Lion for Best Director was awarded to Alexandros Avranasfor Miss Violence (Greece), the Grand Jury Prize went toJiaoyouby Tsai Ming-liang (Chinese Taipei). The Coppa Volpi for Best Actor was awarded to Themis Panou forMiss Violence (Greece), the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress to Elena Cottafor Via Castellana Bandiera, by Emma Dante. The Italian film master Ettore Scola received the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award. For the occasion his film was screened, Che strano chiamarsi Federico, a homage to Federico Fellini 20 years after his passing; present at the screening was the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano. Among the other masters and stars at the Lido were Andrzej Wajda (Persol Award, awarded in the presence of Lech Walesa), Paul Schrader, Bret Easton Ellis, Mia Wasikowska, Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, James Franco, Scott Haze, Tom Welling, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hardy, Scarlett Johansson, Errol Morris, Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, Amos Gitai, Kim Ki-duk, Patrice Leconte, Pablo Larraín, Sion Sono, Edgar Reitz, Tsai Ming-liang, Wang Bing, Philippe Garrel, Anna Mouglalis, Louis Garrel, Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman, Richard Madden, Carrie Fisher, Martina Gedeck, Virginie Ledoyen, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Jiang Wen, Ken Watanabe, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gianni Amelio, Alba Rohrwacher, Antonio Albanese, Giuseppe Battiston, Anita Caprioli, Marco Paolini, and Carlo Verdone.

In 2014, following an agreement with the Venice City Council, the Sala Darsena theatre was completed renovated and enlarged from 1300 to 1409 seats: the inaugural event took place on 26 August for the Festival pre-opening dedicated to the anniversary of World War I, featuring the screening of Maciste alpino (1916) by Luigi Maggi and Luigi Romano Borgnetto (direction supervisor Giovanni Pastrone) in a new restored copy. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance by Alejandro González Iñárritu starring Michael Keaton was the opening film on 27 August. The Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement were awarded to film editor Thelma Schoonmaker and to director Frederick Wiseman. The Venezia 71 jury, chaired by Alexandre Desplat, awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film to En duva satt på en gren och funderade på tillvaron (A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence) by Roy Andersson. The actor, director, screenwriter and producer James Franco was presented the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award 2014. For the occasion, James Franco’s new film, The Sound and the Fury screened out of competition. Actress Frances McDormand was presented the Persol Tribute to Visionary Talent Award 2014, and Olive Kitteridge directed by Lisa Cholodenko starring Frances McDormand screened out of competition.
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 7.06.49 PMStars on the red carpet included Al Pacino, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Chiara Mastroianni , Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Ethan Hawke, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Shannon, Abel Ferrara, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Andrea Riseborough , Stellan Skarsgård, Tahar Rahim, Maria De Medeiros, Anna Mouglalis, Elio Germano, Riccardo Scamarcio, Luca Zingaretti, Milla Jovovich, Ryô Kase, Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario, Shinya Tsukamoto, Wang Xiaoshuai, Amos Gitai, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Ann Hui, Im Kwontaek, Barry Levinson, Hong Sangsoo, Fatih Akin, David Gordon Green, Andrew Niccol, Benoît Jacquot, Xavier Beauvois, Ulrich Seidl, Aléx de la Iglesia, Ami Canaan Mann, and Michael Almereyda. Three feature films in the Biennale College – Cinema section were presented: H. by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, Blood Cells by Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull, and Short Skin by Duccio Chiarini. Biennale College – Cinema is a project promoted by the Biennale di Venezia since 2012 and aimed at new talents in cinema by offering them the opportunity to produce micro-budget feature films; the 12 selected projects for the 3rd edition of the Biennale College – Cinema 2014/15 were also announced. The 3rd edition of theVenice Film Market took place in dedicated spaces at the Excelsior Hotel.

The Biennale Cinema 2016 will run Aug. 31 to Sept. 10

*Featured photo credit: Yves Fostier


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