Tag Archives: Paolo Baratta

Biennale College – Cinema: Selection announced for the 12 projects of the 5th edition 2016/17

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 1.28.19 AMThe first 12 projects have been selected for the fifth edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2016/17, submitted by teams composed of directors and producers who will take part in the first 10-day workshop to be held in Venice from October 5th to 14th 2016. The international Call was launched on May 6th 2016.
Biennale College is an innovative and complex experience that engages every sector of the Biennale di Venezia.
Biennale College – Cinema is the project that promotes new talents in cinema by offering them the opportunity to work closely with master filmmakers in the production of micro-budget films. 3 of these 12 projects will receive support in the amount of 150,000 Euro to produce a maximum of 3 feature-length films (debut or second film), one of which must be Italian, to be presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2016.
The 12 projects were announced during the press conference held on 4 September on the Lido di Venezia (Palazzo del Casinò), at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (31 August – 10 September 2016), directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.
The 12 projects selected for the first phase of Biennale College – Cinema are:
•  The Anthill Hanna van Niekerk (director, The Netherlands)Maarten Kuit (producer, The Netherlands)
•  ClementineLara Jean Gallagher (director, USA), Karina Ripper (producer, USA)
•  Film di ConfineGiorgio Ferrero (director, Italy), Federico Biasin (producer, Italy)
•  InaccessibleLoran Bonnardot (director, France), Jean des Forêts (producer, France)
•  In the MakingKristoffer Borgli (director, Norway), Riina Zachariassen (producer, Denmark)
•  Killer?David White (director, New Zealand), James Ashcroft (producer, New Zealand)
•  LalaLudovica Fales (director, Italy), Igor Princic (producer, Italy)
•  Lightning RideAlena Lodkina (director, Australia), Kate Laurie (producer, Australia)
•  MartyrMazen Khaled (director, Lebanon), Diala Kachmar (producer, Lebanon)
•  Mirny Mining TownSaverio Pesapane (director, Italy), Costanza Julia Bani (producer, Italy), Fabian Martin Diering (Germany)
•  Night/VisionEva Weber (director, Germany), Nicole Stott (producer, United Kingdom)
•  Voice of Silence EuiJeong Hong (director, South Korea), Afolabi Kuti (producer, United Kingdom)
The 12 projects were selected by the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera, with the help of the Biennale College – Cinema team, and will be documented on the website http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/collegecinema/.
At the close of the first workshop, which will be held in Venice from October 5th to 14th 2016, 3 teams will be invited to participate in two successive workshops, to be held in Venice from December 2nd to 5th 2016 and January 9th to 13th 2017, after which production will begin on 3 feature-length films (debut or second films), one of which must be Italian, which must be low-cost, will be funded in the amount of 150,000 Euro, and will be presented at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2016.
Biennale College – Cinema, organized by the Biennale di Venezia, is supported by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities – General Direction Cinema. Biennale College – Cinema relies on the academic collaboration of the IFP in New York and of the TorinoFilmLab, and continues its collaboration with the Busan International Film Festival. The Director is Alberto Barbera, the Head of Programme Savina Neirotti.
Biennale College – Hybrid
Also, the Biennale di Venezia will further integrate the activities of the Biennale College and the Venice Production Bridge with the launch of the new BIENNALE COLLEGE – HYBRID, a program developed to explore today’s most innovative technology: Virtual Reality. This supports the aim of the Biennale to investigate various facets of the audiovisual creative industries, proposing works of virtual reality and TV series, and presenting projects in the development stage in search of financing.
The Biennale College Hybrid explores the esthetics and the narrative opportunities offered by Virtual Reality, providing filmmakers and creatives all over the world with the proper knowledge for making the most of Virtual Reality. Biennale College – Hybrid, in partnership with Nederlands Filmfonds, will prepare nine teams of directors and producers who will work with Virtual Reality projects in their initial phase, helping them to advance under every aspect: creative, production, audience and the market, and financial.
All projects will be presented as a part of the industry office of the Venice Production Bridge, which this year includes feature films, documentaries, virtual reality projects, TV and web series.
Biennale College Cinema and Biennale College Hybrid 2017/2018
MEDIA – Creative Europe Programme

The 2017 edition of the Biennale College – Cinema  project, which will include Virtual Reality, will receive essential financing from the European Commission – Connect Directorate General’s Media – Creative Europe Programme.  The educational activities of the 2017-2018 edition will thus be funded by a MEDIA grant. This grant is in addition to the funding which the MEDIA Programme has given to the development of the Market and Venice Production Bridge.

– The first edition of the 2012/13 Biennale College – Cinema closed at the 70th Venice Film Festival in 2013 with the screening of the three films: Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (director, Thailand) and Aditya Assarat (producer, Thailand); MemphisTim Sutton (director, USA) and John Baker (producer, USA); Yuri EspositoAlessio Fava (director, Italy) and Max Chicco (producer, Italy).
– The second edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2013/14 closed at the 71st Venice Film Festival in 2014 with the screening of the three films: Blood Cells by Joseph Bull (director, Great Britain), Luke Seomore (director, Great Britain), Samm Haillay (producer, Great Britain), Ben Young (producer, Great Britain); H. by Rania Attieh (director, Lebanon), Daniel Garcia (director, USA), Shruti Rya Ganguly (producer, India), Pierce Varous (producer, USA); Short Skin by Duccio Chiarini (director, Italy), Babak Jalali (producer, Iran/Great Britain).
– The third edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2014/15 closed at the 72nd Venice Film Festival in 2015 with the screening of the three films: Baby Bump by Kuba Czekaj (director, Poland), Madgadalena Kaminska (producer, Poland); Blanka by Kohki Hasei (director, Japan), Flaminio Zandra (producer, Italy); The Fits by Anna Rose Holmer (director, USA), Lisa Kjerulff (producer, USA).
– The fourth edition of Biennale College – Cinema 2015/16 closed at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in 2016 with the screening of the four films: Mukti Bhawan – Hotel Salvation by Shubhashish Bhutiani (director, India) e Sanjay Bhutiani (producer, India); Orecchie – Ears by Alessandro Aronadio (director, Italy) and Costanza Coldagelli (producer, Italy); La Soledad by Jorge Thielen Armand (director, Venezuela), Adriana Herrera (producer, Venezuela), Rodrigo Michelangeli (producer, Venezuela) and Manon Ardisson (producer, Venezuela); Una Hermana – One Sister di Verena Kuri (director and producer, Argentina) and Sofía Brockenshire (director and producer, Argentina).

Opening Press Conference 73rd Venice Film Festival


Yesterday at 1:00PM, Biennale Cinema titans, Paolo Baratta and Alberto Barbera welcomed media guests and visitors to Venice and to the Opening Press Conference of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.

Mr. Baratta opened the remarks detailing the commitment Venice has made to making the festival the best it can be for its visitors and its stakeholders alike. Mr. Barbera then presented the various Juries, VENEZIA 73, ORIZZONTI, OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS, and VENICE CLASSICS and their respective members in alphabetical order as follows; Laurie Anderson (VENEZIA 73), Roberto Ando (VENICE CLASSICS, President), Gemma Arterton (VENEZIA 73), Rosa Bosch (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Brady Corbet (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Giancarlo De Cataldo (VENEZIA 73), Robert Guediguian (ORIZZONTI, President), Jim Hoberman (ORIZZONTI), Nina Hoss (VENEZIA 73), Nelly Karim (ORIZZONTI), Valentina, Lodovini (ORIZZONTI), Pilar Lopez de Ayala (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Chiara Mastroianni (VENEZIA 73), Sam Mendez (VENEZIA 73, President), Joshua Oppenheimer (VENEZIA 73), Jose Maria (Chema) Prado (ORIZZONTI), Moon So-ri (ORIZZONTI), Kim Rossi Stuart (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS, President), Chaitanya Tamhane (ORIZZONTI), Serge Toubiana (OPERA PRIMA – LUIGI LAURENTIS), Lorenzo Vigas (VENEZIA 73), and Zhao Wei (VENEZIA 73).

The conference was quickly opened up to audience members for questions. One of the first questions came from a Chinese agency asking the lovely Zhao Wei, the first Chinese female to sit on the VENEZIA Jury, what she was looking for in films.

Chinese screen starlet, Zhao Wei, addresses the audience at the 2016 Venice International Film Festival’s Opening Press Conference. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Ms. Zhao Wei responded while she has considerable experience in the film industry she was also a still learning about films and would look for quality in all aspects of the film’s production. Next, an Austrian entity inquired regarding the safety in attending such a prestigious and noteworthy festival. Mr. Barbera quickly responded informing the audience the festival had an increased security presence this year and had taken precautionary measures to safeguard this year’s attendees. The second question was no less in ease to answer and came from a Japanese party. The inquiry came from the fact no Japanese film had made the festival for three consecutive years and why? Another quick response from Mr. Barbera provided insight into the festival’s lineup from over 50 countries out of upwards to 188 countries so every country won’t be represented every year. The third question hit the mark with what does VENEZIA73 President, Sam Mendez look for in his analysis of films. Mr. Mendez responded with while he does view many films, he doesn’t have a structured format for his analysis preferring to enjoy the film and find it’s excellence within. Mendez humbly admitted he is still learning about film!

And, as the conference was limited in the amount of time, Barbera thanked the audience for coming and wished each and everyone a safe and wonderful festival.

August 31: Opening of the 73rd Venice Film Festival

The 73rd Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will run at Venice Lido from August 31st to September 10th, 2016, directed by Alberto Barbera.

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue. The Festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution towards a better understanding of the history of cinema.

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(Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/La Biennale di Venezia)

73rd Venice International Film Festival


Screening schedule

Screenings by Director / by Title

International Juries

Introduction by the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta
Introduction by the Director, Alberto Barbera
Productions and co-productions of the films in the official selection
Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement: Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jerzy Skolimowski
Web Theatre: online screening for 18 feature films in the line-up
Lido in Mostra” project: Services and special offers for the public, young people and accredited visitors
Calendar of events, presentations and talks

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Work wrapping up at Lido for Venice Film Festival

Workers wrapping up the day at the Lido Casino for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. Opening night is slated for August 31st, 2016. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)
Workers have begun wrapping it up at Lido for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. A Pre-opening Night film showcase featuring the historic works from the Lumiere Brothers on “views” of Venice, shot and constructed over a three year period from 1896 through 1898 jump starts this year’s event with an 8:30PM Invitation-only SCEENING at Sala Darsena. Furthermore, in recognition of Luigi Comencini’s one-hundreth birthday, a screening of his Tutti a casa, will accompany the Lumiere Brothers” Venice.  The Festival has decided to cancel the Opening Night Gala out of respect for the earthquake victims in Amatrice. Nevertheless, the line-up  features 20 films vying for this year’s Golden Lion. Each and every one of this year’s selection is a bona-fied contender.

In addition, Virtual reality has found a home with Jesus VR – The Story of Christ. A special 40 minute preview of the first feature length virtual reality film will be available for viewing on the 2nd floor of the Casino beginning September 1st.

Even though La La Land, the Opening Night Film, and Jackie, a hot ticket item,  are not receiving the studios significant marketing and publicity efforts here at Lido this year, The Light Between Oceans, is generating heightened buzz commisserate with the blossoming chemistry, on and off-screen, between the film’s dynamic co-stars, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

As with any festival, surprises are waiting to be unveiled. Who or what is waiting for the opportunity at Lido? A wise place to look is the New York Film Academy Student Showcase.

(Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)
For information on tickets click here!

This 73rd edition of the Venice Film Festival seems to be offering something for everyone. On September 2nd, Dawn of the Dead restored in 4K , has the midnight madness audience licking its chops. Following on the heels of the restored Dawn of the Dead is the Final Cut in Venice  workshop from Septmber 3rd through September 5th as part of the Venice Production Bridge. In keeping in line with keeping it fresh, the festival continues to explore its international audiences with its 5th Sala Web offering film lovers from around the world the opportunity to see world premieres and to follow the Biennale buzz on www.festivalscope.com/venicesalaweb2016. The Venice Classics section is screening the censored Moshen Makhamalbaf film, Shabhaye Zayandeh – rood (The Nights of Zayandeh – rood ). Last but not least, the independently run Venice Days section is launching 18 world premieres.

See you at the movies!




Why the Venice Film Fest Matters More to Oscar (Sorry, Toronto)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Ariston Anderson

After premiering three major Academy Award winners in a row, the world’s oldest film fest is once again Hollywood’s awards-season launchpad.

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The past few years, while Toronto bickered with Telluride over which festival could screen which premiere when and where, Venice — after some decidedly lackluster editions — took the high road and worked on improving. The result? It’s back on top after a scorecard that saw successful Oscar wins for Venice premieres three years in a row: Gravity, Birdman and, last year, Spotlight. Hollywood has taken notice. The festival is filled with studio titles this year, which means the red carpet will be filled with A-list talent. The four premieres that already are garnering awards buzz:

La La Land’s Oscar Launch

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With Venice proving to be a good luck charm at the Oscars, one young contender seems to be taking the hint. Damien Chazelle is following up his 2014 best picture nominee Whiplash with festival opener La La Land. The musical stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). The Venice committee, after watching the film, immediately offered Lionsgate the opening slot. “I was so honored to get the invitation to open Venice,” says Chazelle. “It’s the kind of place that seems to belong in a dream. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with this movie: the way things look and sound in a dream, the magic and the romance of it all.”

Chazelle adds that it was a natural choice to follow up his critically acclaimed Whiplash with the challenging genre of the musical. “The thing I love about musicals is that everything is possible. You can combine all the arts — music, dance, painting, theater —  to collectively produce an emotion that can’t be conveyed by words,” he says. “I wanted to try and make a film that told an honest, intimate story but also allowed for that kind of big-screen moviemaking.”

Festival director Alberto Barbera believes that the film, a tribute to old Hollywood musicals, is a natural candidate for the Oscars. “It has all the elements,” he says. “It’s a wonderful story, a classic film. It’s extremely well done with two outstanding lead performances. You have to go back to the ’60s and ’70s to see something that is similar to those performances. It has beautiful music, beautiful dance performances. Everything in the film is definitely outstanding.”

While Lionsgate is planning a big launch at the festival, unfortunately Gosling will not be present, as he couldn’t escape filming duties for Blade Runner 2. Stone will be back in Venice after her 2014 success with Birdman led her to an Oscar nomination.

Mel’s Big Comeback

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After a public meltdown of epic proportions, Mel Gibson retreated from the spotlight, putting his work behind the camera on hold. Now Venice is premiering his first directorial effort since Apocalypto (2006). Never one to retreat from challenging topics, Gibson explores the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, in the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge.

“The movie is special,” says Stuart Ford, CEO of IM Global, which co-financed the film, putting up approximately half of the budget. “Audiences can look forward to a picture that is both an old-school, action-packed wartime epic and also an intelligent and very moving present day statement on the nature of conflict and forgiveness.”

Barbera firmly believes the film marks Gibson’s comeback. “There is a high expectation of course after the previous films and all the issues around his bizarre attitude. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I saw the film,” he says. “I was quite surprised because it is a beautiful, classic war film about a courageous hero and the capability to put one’s own life before others. I think it’s proved that he’s a really great director and I hope that it will forgive some mistakes that he did and some unacceptable behaviors in the past.”

Paolo Sorrentino’s TV Debut

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It’s not just films that are having their moment in Venice. HBO’s launch of Olive Kitteridge in Venice led it to pick up eight Emmy awards last year. As more and more acclaimed cinema directors make the leap into longform TV, all eyes will be on Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino’s TV debut The Young Pope, starring Jude Law as a fictional American pope who is conservative, politically conniving, and incredibly self-reflective. The production is a joint effort of HBO, Sky and Canal Plus.

The Young Pope is a 10-part series but at the same time is a collection of 10 movies, each of them with Sorrentino’s unique flair and enthusiasm in innovating visual storytelling, featuring an inimitable top-notch technical and quality style and starring an outstanding international cast,” says Andrea Scrosati, executive vp programming of Sky Italia says. “So there could not be a more suitable venue than the Venice Film Festival to premiere the first two episodes of this show, and this choice confirms, if any additional proof were needed, that the distinction between cinema and television no longer exists: It all comes down to storytelling.”

FremantleMedia International, which is handling sales, has, not surprisingly, already begun closing deals ahead of the Venice launch. “Jude Law plays a hyper-contemporary and conservative pope, revolutionary, a fundamentalist who goes through life with an absolute faith and devotion to God,” says Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of FremantleMedia Italy. “And all the while he continuously poses to himself and to us the question we are all compelled to ask at least once in our lives: What do we mean exactly when we talk about faith and God? Stories and themes like these inevitably involve a wide audience from each country.”

Sorrentino agrees with the potential wide appeal of the series. “Beyond the interest for the Vatican, a closed and mysterious place, the series turns its attention to the Vatican’s inhabitants,” he says. “I think that the audience, regardless of where they’re from, will be captivated by the human and spiritual lives of these people.”

And with the American election coming up, Sorrentino believes that the candidates could also heed the advice of The Young Pope. “There is always danger around the corner,” he says. “The private biography of a leader can influence his choices for the collective interest of the people and that these choices could be dangerous and ineffective.”

Focus Features’ $20 Million Gamble

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Last year, Focus Features paid a reported $20 million for Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford’s sophomore directorial effort.

Now, Focus is planning on betting a big chunk of their Oscar-campaign money on the dark romance based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan and starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Adams plays an art gallery owner who receives her ex-husband’s violent manuscript in the mail, which she interprets as a threatening tale of revenge and regret. It plays out as a story within a story as Isla Fisher plays Adams in novel form.

Could the L.A.-set noir finally deliver Amy Adams and/or Jake Gyllenhaal their long-awaited Oscars? Focus hopes so, with many more categories to push for. “The film will be one of the highlights of Venice,” says Barbera. “Both Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal could start an Oscar campaign from Venice, definitely.”



Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival

Tuesday August 30th, 8:30 pm in the Sala Darsena

9 “views” of Venice and Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa (1960)

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 11.29.33 PMOne hundred twenty years ago – and precisely on the night of July 9th, 1896 – the Cinématographe Lumière made its first appearance in Venice, with the screening of a programme composed of 15 “views”, held just a step away from Piazza San Marco at the Teatro Minerva. It was not until the following August 21st that for the first time the screening also introduced 3 films made in Venice: Arrival of a gondola at Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Vaporetti at Rialto and The Legendary Pigeons of San Marco, which were followed by others in the days to come.
To celebrate this important anniversary, on the Pre-opening night of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival (Tuesday August 30th, at 8:30 pm) in the Sala Darsena on the Lido, the public gathered to celebrate Comencini’s one-hundredth birthday, prior to the screening of the previously announced restored version of Luigi Comencini’s Tutti a casa, is invited to enjoy  the programme of nine “views” made in Venice by the operators of the Cinématographe Lumière, commented in the theatre by the Director of the Institut Lumière of Lyon, Thierry Fremaux.
The films, which were made over three consecutive years (1896-98), are:
Arrivée en gondole, 1896, N°291
Pigeons sur la place Saint-Marc,  N°292
Tramway sur le Grand Canal, 1896, N°293
Grand Canal avec barques, 1896, N°294
Panorama du Grand Canal pris d’un bateau, 1896, N°295
Panorama de la place Saint-Marc pris d’un bateau, N°296
Venise, place Saint-Marc, 1897, N°430
Arrivée en gondole des souveraines d’Allemagne et d’Italie au palais royal de Venise, 1898, N°1058
Départ en gondole, 1898, N°1059
The Biennale di Venezia wishes to thank Thierry Fremaux and the Institut Lumière for their valuable collaboration, as well as the Alliance française and Carlo Montanaro of La Fabbrica del Vedere in Venice.
The screening of the “views” will be followed, for the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great director Luigi Comencini (1916 – 2007), by the previously announced screening of Comencini‘s masterpiece Tutti a casa (Everybody Go Home, Italy/France, 1960) starring Alberto Sordi, Serge Reggiani, Carla Gravina and Eduardo De Filippo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis, for the world premiere of the digitally restored copy by Filmauro and CSC – Cineteca Nazionale di Roma.
Venetian audiences will be invited to the special Pre-opening tribute-night at the Sala Darsena on the Lido, beginning at 8:30 pm, thanks to the collaboration with the daily newspapers “Il Gazzettino”, “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” and “Il Corriere del Veneto”.
To attend the screening on the tribute-night in Sala Darsena free of charge, interested viewers can pick up their invitation at Ca’ Giustinian (San Marco 1364/a) or at the Lido (Bar Al Leone d’oro, on the corner of the Palazzo del Cinema on the side of Via Candia) starting on the afternoon of Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th (from 10 am – 1 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm) simply by presenting the coupon published from Friday 26th to Monday 29th August on “Il Gazzettino” or “La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre” (or, for online subscribers, by displaying the paid digital edition on their smartphones or tablets) or by following the instructions published on the “Corriere del Veneto” from Friday August 26th through Tuesday August 30th.
·  For information on available invitations call +39 041 2726505
·  Each coupon is good for one invitation for the free admission of one person to the screening
·  Invitations will be distributed on a first come first served basis for the number of seats reserved for each newspaper
                                                                                   ________ . ________
The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 31st to September 10th 2016 directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.
Tutti a casa by Luigi Comencini is one of the most famous and successful examples of what made the “commedia all’italiana” immortal: the blend of comedy and drama, of real and grotesque, of courage and determination to survive. Comencini, with the autobiographical complicity of the two great screenwriters Age and Scarpelli and the bitter laughs provoked by the remarkable performance of Alberto Sordi, tells the story of the chaos that ensued on September 8th 1943, when Badoglio signed the armistice and the soldiers loyal to the King and Mussolini were abandoned to their own destinies, to face many dangers alone. In the film, Alberto Sordi, on the phone under German gunfire, asks his superiors: “Colonel, Sir, this is Lieutenant Innocenzi, something amazing just happened, the Germans have become allies of the Americans. What are we supposed to do?”
Tutti a casa is a “road movie” across the ruins and confusion reigning in Italy at that time, when the soldiers had no one to give them orders and one after another they decided to head back home: tutti a casa, everybody go home. In the story, Second Lieutenant Alberto Innocenzi (Sordi), who is used to obeying and not answering back, is abandoned by his soldiers and flees from north to south with his sick friend, the Neapolitan military engineer Ceccarelli (Serge Reggiani). He runs into German soldiers eager for retaliation who shoot at them, witnesses the odyssey of a Jewish girl attempting to escape (for whom a young Venetian soldier gives his life), meets an American prisoner hiding in an attic, is united with his father (Eduardo De Filippo) who wants to send him back to the Fascist army, until the final redemption during the 4 days of Naples. At the time Comencini stated: “On the 8th of September, people were abandoned to themselves, and that is what I wanted to describe”. The film was a box office hit, bringing in over a billion lire in ticket sales.
Luigi Comencini (1916-2007) who was awarded a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 1987 by the Biennale di Venezia, is considered one of the greatest masters of Italian-style comedy, as well as “the children’s director“. Among his comedies, his first masterpiece was Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams, 1953), with Gina Lollobrigida and Vittorio De Sica, winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin, the prototype for what is known as “neorealismo rosa” and one of the highest-grossing films in the history of Italian cinema, followed over the years by other hit comedies such as Pane, amore e gelosia (Bread, Love and Jealousy, 1954), Mariti in città (Husbands in the City, 1957), Lo scopone scientifico (The Scientific Cardplayer, 1957) and Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! (Till Marriage Do Us Part, 1974).
Comencini addressed the theme of childhood early on in 1946 with Bambini in città, his first short documentary (which won an award in Venice and a Nastro d’argento), while Proibito rubare (Hey Boy, 1948), set among the street children in Naples, was his first feature-length film. His significant production of films on the theme of “childhood” continued with La finestra sul Luna Park (The Window to Luna Park, 1956), Incompreso (Misunderstood, 1966, in competition at Cannes and winner of a David di Donatello), Voltati Eugenio (1980, presented at the Venice Film Festival), Un ragazzo di Calabria (A Boy from Calabria, 1987, in competition in Venice) and Marcellino pane e vino (1991) his last film directed with his daughter Francesca. Also worthy of note are his versions of two classics of children’s literature, such as Le avventure di Pinocchio (The Adventures of Pinocchio, 1972) and Cuore (1984).
A co-founder in 1935 with Alberto Lattuada and Mario Ferrari of the Cineteca italiana in Milan, Comencini directed a total of forty feature-length films, excluding his documentaries, screenplays, and investigative reports for Rai television. He experimented with many genres other than comedy, such as murder mysteries (La donna della domenica, The Sunday Woman, 1975), melodrama (Incompreso, 1966), literary films (La ragazza di Bube, 1963), period films (Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano, 1974), film-operas (La Bohème,  1987), but also experimented with more particular films (Cercasi Gesù, 1982, winner of a Nastro d’argento). In an interview he granted in the early 1980s, Comencini declared that he was willing to defend ten of his films, that “would never have seen the light of day if I had not made other flawed films, wholly or in part. But I have never made a film in bad faith”.



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


Venice Film Festival Announces Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement


French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo and Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski are the recipients of the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.

The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, upon recommendation of the Director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera.

The Board of Directors has decided to award two Golden Lions for Career Achievement at every future edition of the Film Festival, starting this year. One will be given to a director or someone from the world of film production; the second will be awarded to an actor or an actress, i.e., to someone who belongs to the world of acting.

Jean-Paul Belmondo, an icon of French and international cinema, is one of the actors who best interpreted the hallmark modernity of the Nouvelle Vague in his representation of alienated characters, in the movies by Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. Says Festival Director Alberto Barbera, “Thanks to his fascinating face, irresistible charm and extraordinary versatility, he has played roles in dramas, adventure movies and even comedies, making him a star who is universally respected, by committed directors and escapist cinema alike.”

Says Festival Director Alberto Barbera, “Jerzy Skolimowski is one of the most representative exponents of the modern cinema born during the nouvelles vagues of the 1960s. He and Roman Polanski are the two filmmakers who contributed most to the renewal of Polish cinema during that same period.” Polanski himself (who called him in to write the screenplay of his debut movie, Knife in the Water) predicted: “Skolimowski will stand head and shoulders above his generation.”

The Biennale Cinema 2016 will run Aug. 31 to Sept. 10. For more information including the screening schedule click here.

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Sonia Bergamasco to host opening and closing ceremonies for 73rd Venice International Film Festival



la BiennaleSonia Bergamasco will open the 73rd Venice Film Festival on the evening of Wednesday August 31st, on the stage of the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido) for the opening ceremony, and on September 10th the actress will host the closing ceremony during which the winners of the Lions and the other official awards of the 73rd Venice Film Festival will be announced.

The 73rd Venice Film Festival will be held on the Lido from August 31st to September 10th 2016, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Sonia Bergamasco is one of Italy’s most versatile actresses. She was born in Milan, where she graduated in piano from the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, and in acting from the Scuola del Piccolo Teatro. She made her debut in Arlecchino servitore di due padroni with Giorgio Strehler, and was the Blue Fairy in Carmelo Bene’s last version of Pinocchio for theatre and television. In theatre, she has also worked with Theodoros Terzopoulos, Massimo Castri and Glauco Mauri. Since 2001 she has starred in or directed productions in which the experience of music is more deeply entwined with the theatre. Winner of the Premio Duse 2014 for her work as an actress, in 2015 she directed and starred in the production Il ballo (from the short story by Irène Nemirovsky).

She made her cinema debut in 2001 in L’amore probabilmente by Giuseppe Bertolucci, presented at the Venice Film Festival. Winner of the Nastro d’argento 2004 for Best Actress in La meglio gioventù by Marco Tullio Giordana, she also worked with Bernardo Bertolucci in Io e te (2012), with Giuseppe Piccioni in Giulia non esce la sera (2009), with Silvio Soldini in the short film D’estate (1994), with Franco Battiato in Musikanten (2006). She won the Premio Flaiano award as best actress in the film for television De Gasperi, l’uomo della speranza (2005) by Liliana Cavani; also in television, she won great acclaim for the hit series Tutti pazzi per amore (2008-2010) and Una grande famiglia (2012-2015) by Riccardo Milani.

Her most recent accomplishments include her roles in the film Quo vado? with Checco Zalone, directed by Gennaro Nunziante, for which she won the Alida Valli Prize at the Bari Film Festival, and the new episodes of Commissario Montalbano, with Luca Zingaretti.


Biennale College – Cinema


The 73rd Venice Film Festival will screen the four feature films selected, developed and produced at Biennale College – Cinema, a laboratory for advanced training dedicated to the production of low cost films. The laboratory was created by the Biennale di Venezia in 2012 and is open to young filmmakers from all over the world. The four films are: Orecchie, directed by Alessandro Aronadio and produced by Costanza Coldagelli;  La Soledad, directed by Jorge Thielen Armand and produced by Adriana Herrera  and Manon Ardisson; Una Hermana – One Sister, directed by Sofia Brockenshire and produced by Verena Kuri; and Mukti Bhawan, directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani and produced by Sanjay Bhutiani.


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The Biennale also admitted, as a one-time exception, the top-ranked Italian project, considering its particular interest and quality. The goal is to present the 4 feature-length films, debut or second works, at the coming 73rd Venice International Film Festival (31 August – 10 September 2016), directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.
The 8 projects that will not continue to the second workshop will in any case enjoy an online follow-up and will be given various opportunities to find co-producers in collaboration with IFP, TorinoFilmLab and others.
Biennale College – Cinema enjoys the support of the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities – General Direction Cinema, and the Regione del Veneto. For the fourth year in a row, it will rely on the academic collaboration of the IFP in New York and the TorinoFilmLab, and will continue its collaboration with the Busan International Film Festival. The Director is Alberto Barbera, the Head of Programme is Savina Neirotti.
The call for participation in the fifth edition (2016-2017) of the Biennale College – Cinema recently closed on July 1st. Once again participants registered from all over the world. In the coming weeks a selection process will take place to choose the next 12 projects and teams who will be invited to the first workshop in October, the first step in a development process that will end at the 2017 Venice Film Festival with the screening of three new low-cost films. The selection of the 12 projects will be announced at a Biennale College – Cinema press conference that will take place during the Venice Festival.
So far 9 feature-length films have been made during the first (2012/2013), second (2013/2014) and third (2014/2015) editions of the Biennale College – Cinema, and screened as world premieres respectively at the 70th Venice International Film Festival 2013, at the 71st Venice International Film Festival 2014, and at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival 2015 and later at other festivals, winning many awards and receiving excellent critical reviews.
The three feature-length films made during the first edition of the Biennale College – Cinema (2012-2013)
• Memphis by Tim Sutton (director, Usa), John Baker (producer, Usa).
• Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (director, Thailand), Aditya Assarat (producer, Thailand).
• Yuri Esposito by Alessio Fava (director, Italy), Max Chicco (producer, Italy).
The three feature-length films made during the second edition of the Biennale College – Cinema (2013-2014)
• Blood Cells by Joseph Bull (director, Great Britain), Luke Seomore (director, Great Britain), Ben Young and Samm Haillay (producers, Great Britain).
• H. by Rania Attieh (director, Lebanon), Daniel Garcia (director, Usa), Shruti Rya Ganguly (producer, India), Pierce Varous (producer, Usa).
• Short Skin by Duccio Chiarini (director, Italy), Babak Jalali (producer, Iran/ Great Britain).
The three feature-length films made during the third edition of the Biennale College – Cinema (2014-2015)
• Baby Bump by Kuba Czekaj (director, Poland), Magdalena Kaminska and Agata Szymanska (producers, Poland).
• Blanka by Kohki Hasei (director, Japan), Flaminio Zadra (producer, Italy).
• The Fits by Anna Rose Holmer (director, Usa), Lisa Kjerulff (producer, Usa).