Sept: The International Film Festival of Venice

by Simona P.K. Daviddi
Venice Film Festival, photo credits Shutterstock by Matteo Chinellato

The world’s spotlight are trained on Venice during the Festival del Cinema, happening in September. The festival is thought to be the most glamorous event on the showbiz calendar, and every year, stars, directors and VIPs flock to the Lagoon.

The best-loved red carpet

At the end of summer, the Venice Film Festival turns the sleepy Lido into a mini Hollywood, attracting rising stars of the screen, eager to be photographed, plus hordes of fans, film buffs, and onlookers.

Mel Gibson signing autographs, photo credits la Biennale di Venezia - foto ASAC

A chance to meet the movie stars

Although, Venice never loses its ability to enchant, as summer comes to an end, the International Film Festival and the aura of glamour surrounding it attracts not only the cognoscenti of the movie industry but thousands who, despite having nothing to do with the official events, are eager to participate in the glitz and the glamour, soak up the atmosphere of exclusive parties and endless gossip, catch sight of actors and directors and, if they’re lucky, take selfies with a movie star.
Perhaps because they’ve fallen victim to the city’s irresistible charm, celebs, when in Venice, tend to be particularly generous with fans, and it’s easy to meet them in the halls of the most elegant hotels, at top restaurants or in exclusive boutiques.
Fans will also have a chance to watch celebrities, wearing sumptuous outfits strutting their stuff on the red carpet or attending some ritzy party either on a magnificent terrace or at one of the city’s stunning historic palazzos.

The winged lion: the symbol of the Festival

Lav Diaz receiving the Golden Lion in 2016
Lav Diaz receiving the Golden Lion in 2016

According to tradition, the event kicks off with the opening ceremony and ends with the prize-giving ceremony, when the Golden Lion and other prizes will be awarded.

As well as the press hype, there’s the real festival, the actual competition, boasting a line-up of 20 world premiere feature films, all contending for the festival’s prestigious Gold or Silver Lion awards. These coveted, winged-lion statues, the symbol of Venice, are awarded by an international jury to the best film screened during the competition at the festival, and to the best director in the competitive section.

Special awards

In addition to the prestigious official selection ‘Venezia 74’, other sections have been created over the years to increase the viewing experience at the happening. For example, the ‘Out of Competition’ section now features documentaries; ‘Venice Classics’ is dedicated to re-runs of restored cult movies; ‘Orizzonti’ features up-and-coming directors and trends; ‘International Critics’ Week’ promotes eight films chosen from among the debut works presented, and ‘Venice Days’ an independent section promoted by the Italian Association of Filmmakers.

Eagerly awaited awards

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in 2016
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in 2016

Other highly sought-after awards, presented at the closing ceremony on the last day of the festival, include the ‘Volpi Cup’ (based on the name of one of the founders of the festival) for the best actress and best actor, awarded in 2016 to the beautiful Emma Stone for her role as an aspiring actress in La La Land; the Premio (Prize) for the best screenplay, the Golden Lion Career Award, won in the same year by Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jerzy Skolimowski; the Marcello Mastroianni Award for the best emerging actor or actress and the Orizzonti Award for the best original screenplay.

The programme

The line-up of films scheduled to premiere at the Venice Film Festival is usually announced at the end of July.

Check this year’s edition of Venice Film Festival

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