VENICE. June 28, 2012. This year the world’s oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals, the Venice Festival (August 29 – September 8) will present a big change from its previous edition.
New director. At the turn of this year artistic director Marco Mueller was replaced by Alberto Barbera following a decision by the festival board. Barbera officially returned to the film festival’s helm where he served as Venice artistic director between 1998 and 2002.
New strategy. Barbera starts a new strategy to win a tough competition against a fast-rising new rival – Film Festival in Rome. He plans to build a cost-effective structure of Venice Film Festival competitive to Cannes Film Festival/Market. One of the lost-to-be-found opportunities is a film market built anew which has been visualized as one of Venice’s failings in the last decade or so.
Over the past eight years Mueller has markedly increased the annual number of films (180 titles in 2011). Now Alberto Barbera plans a major reduction, nearly three times, for the benefit of quality of films.
Now the main competition will accept only 20 entries and 11 titles in non-competition program.
Barbera still keeps dark the existing lineup of titles of competition program. However, speculations are that Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master”, Brian De Palma’s “Passion”, Terrence Malick’s “The Burial” and a number of films from Colombia, Indonesia, Burma, Costa Rica, Argentina and Thailand have been accepted.
The Jury. Michael Mann, a US film director, screenwriter and producer will chair the International Jury for the Competition at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
Film Market is held between August 30 and September 3. Barbera has an ambitious plan to build a major film market in Venice to recoup a huge loss for domestic film industry when MIFED in Milan was destroyed by LA’s AFM. If so, Venice will outsmart the rival Film Festival in Rome which already has a small market.
The Director of the Market is Pascal Diot from France, who has experience in co-production, distribution and international sales, and in the organization of film markets.