The Venice Film Festival or Venice International Film Festival (Italian: Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, "International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art of the Venice Biennale") is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the "Big Three" film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. The Big Three are internationally acclaimed for giving creators the artistic freedom to express themselves through film.
Founded in Venice, Italy, in August 1932, the festival is part of the Venice Biennale, an exhibition of Italian art founded by the Venice City Council on 19 April 1893. The range of work at the Venice Biennale now covers Italian and international art, architecture, dance, music, theatre, and cinema. These works are experienced at separate exhibitions: the International Art Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Music, the International Theatre Festival, the International Architecture Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance, the International Kids' Carnival, and the annual Venice Film Festival, which is arguably the best-known of all the events.
The festival is held in late August or early September on the island of the Lido in the Venice Lagoon. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. The festival continues to be one of the world's most popular and fastest-growing.
|Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica|
International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art
Venice Cinema Palace on the Lido island
|Founded||6 August 1932|
|Awards||Golden Lion and others|
|Artistic director||Alberto Barbera|
|No. of films||87 in 2018|
During the 1930s, the government and Italian citizens were heavily interested in film. Of the money Italians spent on cultural or sporting events, most of it went for movies. The majority of films screened in Italy were American, which led to government involvement in the film industry and the yearning to celebrate Italian culture in general. With this in mind, the Venice International Film Festival was created by Giuseppe Volpi, Luciano de Feo, and Antonio Maraini in 1932. Volpi, a statesman, wealthy businessman, and avid fascist who had been Benito Mussolini's minister of finance, was appointed president of the Venice Biennale the same year. Maraini served as the festival's secretary general, and de Feo headed its executive committee.
On the night of 6 August 1932, the festival opened with a screening of the American film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the terrace of the Excelsior Palace Hotel. A total of nine countries participated in the festival, which ended on 21 August.
No awards were given at the first festival, but an audience referendum was held to determine which films and performances were most praiseworthy. The French film À Nous la Liberté was voted the Film Più Divertente (the Funnest Film). The Sin of Madelon Claudet was chosen the Film Più Commovente (the Most Moving Film) and its star, Helen Hayes, the best actress. Most Original Film (Film dalla fantasia più originale) was given to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and its leading man, Fredric March, was voted best actor.
Despite the success of the first festival, it did not return in 1933. In 1934, the festival was declared to be an annual event, and participation grew from nine countries to seventeen. That year the festival also gave its first official awards, namely the Mussolini Cup for Best Italian Film, the Mussolini Cup for Best Foreign Film, and the Corporations Ministry Cup. Seventeen awards were given: fourteen to films and three to individuals. Five films received honorable mentions.
The third installment of the festival in 1935 was headed by its first artistic director, Ottavio Croze, who maintained this position until World War II. The following year, a jury was added to the festival's governing body; it had no foreign members. The majority of funds for the festival came from the Ministry of Popular Culture, with other portions from the Biennale and the city of Venice.
The year 1936 marked another important development in the festival. A law crafted by the Ministry of Popular Culture made the festival an autonomous entity, separate from the main Venice Biennale. This allowed additional fascist organizations, such as the Department of Cinema and the Fascist National Federation of Entertainment Industries, to take control of the festival.
The fifth year of the festival saw the establishment of its permanent home. Designed and completed in 1937, the Palazzo del Cinema was built on the Lido. The Palazzo has since been the site for every Venice Film Festival, with the exception of the three years from 1940 to 1942, when the festival was moved away from Venice for fear of bombing. However, Venice received almost no damage during that time.
The 1940s represent one of the most difficult moments for the festival itself. Nazi propaganda movie Heimkehr was presented in 1941 winning an award from the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture. With the advent of the conflict the situation degenerated to such a point that the editions of 1940, 1941 and 1942, subsequently are considered as if they did not happen because they were carried out in places far away from Lido. Additionally, the festival was renamed the Italian-German Film Festival (Manifestazione Cinematografica Italo-Germanica) in 1940. The festival carried this title until 1942 when the festival was suspended due to war.
The festival resumed full speed in 1946, after the war. For the first time, the 1946 edition was held in the month of September, in accordance to an agreement with the newly-born Cannes Film Festival, which had just held its first review in the spring of that year. With the return of normalcy, Venice once again became a great icon of the film world.
In 1947 the festival was held in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace, a most magnificent backdrop for hosting a record 90 thousand participants. The 1947 festival is widely considered one of the most successful editions in the history of the festival.
In 1963 the winds of change blow strongly during Luigi Chiarini’s directorship of the festival (1963–1968). During the years of his directorship, Chiarini aspired to renew the spirit and the structures of the festival, pushing for a total reorganization of the entire system. For six years the festival followed a consistent path, according to the rigid criteria put in place for the selection of works in competition, and took a firm stand against the political pressures and interference of more and more demanding movie studios, preferring the artistic quality of films to the growing commercialization of the film industry.
The social and political unrest of 1968 had strong repercussions on the Venice Bienniale. From 1969 to 1979 no prizes were awarded and the festival returned to the non-competitiveness of the first edition. In 1973, 1977 and 1978, the festival was not even held. The Golden Lion didn't make its return until 1980.
|1983–1987||Gian Luigi Rondi|
|2002–2004||Moritz de Hadeln|
|since 2012||Alberto Barbera|
The long-awaited rebirth came in 1979, thanks to the new director Carlo Lizzani (1979–1983), who decided to restore the image and value the festival had lost over the last decade. The 1979 edition laid the foundation for the restoration of international prestige. In an attempt to create a more modern image of the festival, the neo-director created a committee of experts to assist in selecting the works and to increase the diversity of submissions to the festival.
To celebrate the 70th edition of the festival, in 2013 the new section "Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded" was created.
During the recent years, under the direction of Alberto Barbera, the festival established itself as an Oscars launchpad, increasing the presence of American movies and hosting the world premieres of Academy Award-winning films such as Gravity (2013), Birdman (2014), Spotlight (2015), La La Land (2016) and The Shape of Water (2017).
In 2017 a new section for virtual-reality (VR) films was introduced.
The president of the Venice Biennale represents the festival in front of its financial partner, the public authorities, and the media. He is chosen by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The current president, appointed in 2008, is Paolo Baratta; he was also president from 1998 to 2002.
The director is responsible for coordinating the events and is chosen by the president of the Venice Biennale and its delegates. The current director, Alberto Barbera, was appointed in 2012, and his term will end in 2020. Barbera previously held the position from 1999 to 2002.
Only men have held these positions.
The Film Festival's current awards are:
This section is open to all "custom-format" works, with a wider view towards new trends in the expressive languages that converge in film.
Starting from the 67th edition of the festival, four awards of the Orizzonti section have been established:
Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, organized in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre since 2006. It is dedicated to personalities who have made a significant contribution to contemporary cinema.
This is the list of winners:
|2009||Sylvester Stallone||United States|
|2011||Al Pacino||United States|
|2012||Spike Lee||United States|
|2014||John Ford||United States|
|2015||Brian De Palma||United States|
|2017||Stephen Frears||United Kingdom|
|Year||English title||Original title||Director(s)|
|1934||Loyalty of Love||Teresa Confalonieri||Guido Brignone|
|1935||Casta Diva||Casta diva||Carmine Gallone|
|1936||The White Squadron||Lo squadrone bianco||Augusto Genina|
|1937||Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal||Scipione l'africano||Carmine Gallone|
|1938||Luciano Serra, Pilot||Luciano Serra pilota||Goffredo Alessandrini|
|1939||Cardinal Messias||Abuna Messias||Goffredo Alessandrini|
|1940||The Siege of the Alcazar||L'assedio dell'Alcazar||Augusto Genina|
|1941||The Iron Crown||La corona di ferro||Alessandro Blasetti|
"Le Grandi Medaglie d’Oro dell’Associazione Nazionale Fascista dello Spettacolo" in Italian.
This was awarded to Best Actor and Best Actress. It was later replaced by the Volpi Cup for actors and actresses.
In the first edition of the festival in 1932, due to the lack of a jury and the awarding of official prizes, a list of acknowledgements was decided by popular vote, a tally determined by the number of people flocking to the films, and announced by the Organizing Committee. From this, the Best Director was declared – Russian Nikolai Ekk for the film Road to Life, while the film by René Clair À Nous la Liberté was voted Best Film.
|1935||King Vidor||The Wedding Night|
|1936||Jacques Feyder||Carnival in Flanders||La Kermesse Héroique|
|1937||Robert J. Flaherty and Zoltan Korda||Elephant Boy|
The 1st annual Venice International Film Festival was held between 6 and 21 August 1932. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was the first film to be screened at the festival. No official prizes were awarded, so an audience referendum took place to determine the winners.21st Venice International Film Festival
The 21st annual Venice International Film Festival was held from 24 August to 7 September 1960.2nd Venice International Film Festival
The 2nd annual Venice International Film Festival was held between 1 and 20 August 1934. This was the first year the festival had a competition with the Coppa Mussolini being awarded for Best Foreign Film and Best Italian Film.49th Venice International Film Festival
The 49th annual Venice International Film Festival was held on 1 to 12 September 1992.55th Venice International Film Festival
The 55th annual Venice International Film Festival was held between 3 and 13 September 1998. The Golden Lion was awarded to Così ridevano by Gianni Amelio.5th Venice International Film Festival
The 5th annual Venice International Film Festival was held between 10 August and 3 September 1937. The new Palazzo del Cinema building was completed for this year's festival. It has been used as the venue since, excluding the years 1940 to 1948.66th Venice International Film Festival
The 66th annual Venice International Film Festival, held in Venice, Italy, was held from 2 to 12 September 2009, with Maria Grazia Cucinotta serving as the festival's hostess. The opening film of the festival was Baarìa by Giuseppe Tornatore and the closing film was Chengdu, I Love You by Fruit Chan and Cui Jian. The international competition jury, chaired by Ang Lee, awarded the Golden Lion to Lebanon by Samuel Maoz.67th Venice International Film Festival
The 67th annual Venice International Film Festival held in Venice, Italy, took place from 1 to 11 September 2010. American film director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino was the head of the Jury. The opening film of the festival was Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, and the closing film was Julie Taymor's The Tempest. John Woo was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement prior to the start of the Festival.The Golden Lion for the Best Film In Competition was awarded to Somewhere, directed by Sofia Coppola. The Silver Lion Award for Best Director was given to Álex de la Iglesia, for A Sad Trumpet Ballad. In a break with tradition of limiting a film to receiving no more than one major award, the Special Jury Prize and the Best Actor (the Volpi Cup) went to the same film, Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing. In the past, no one film had been given two major awards. Representing the jury, American director Quentin Tarantino appealed to Festival head Marco Müller to alter the rules. This rule change will be upheld for future editions of the Festival.Following the Festival, Italian film critic Paolo Mereghetti criticised the decisions the jury made in awarding prizes, and singled out Tarantino, accusing him of favoritism. He denied the charge.68th Venice International Film Festival
The 68th annual Venice International Film Festival was held in Venice, Italy between 31 August and 10 September 2011. American film director Darren Aronofsky was announced as the Head of the Jury. American actor and film director Al Pacino was presented with the Glory to the Film-maker award on 4 September, prior to the premiere of his upcoming film Wilde Salomé. Marco Bellocchio was awarded with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in September. The festival opened with the American film The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney, and closed with Damsels in Distress by Whit Stillman.69th Venice International Film Festival
The 69th annual Venice International Film Festival, organized by Venice Biennale, took place at Venice Lido from 29 August to 8 September 2012. The festival opened with the Indian director Mira Nair's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and closed with the Out of Competition film The Man Who Laughs, directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris. Terrence Malick's film To the Wonder was met with both boos and cheers from critics at its premiere.The Golden Lion for Best Film was won by Pietà, directed by South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master won the Silver Lion for Best Director. Israeli actress Hadas Yaron for her performance in Fill the Void was selected as the Best Actress in the festival.6th Venice International Film Festival
The 6th annual Venice International Film Festival was held between 8 and 31 August 1938. The festival screened a French cinema retrospective, spanning works from 1891 to 1933.73rd Venice International Film Festival
The 73rd annual Venice International Film Festival was held from 31 August to 10 September 2016. English director Sam Mendes was the President of the Jury for the main competition. The opening night film was Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land. The Golden Lion was awarded to Lav Diaz's film The Woman Who Left.A new project named Venice Production Bridge was introduced in this edition of the festival. The new project is intended to attract industry professionals and focus on original projects for films, internet, series, virtual reality, and works in progress, in order to help their development and production. It is also meant to work in conjunction with the Venice Film Market which started in 2012. Such projects as Final Cut in Venice, meant to help finance original films from African countries, and the Venice Gap-Financing Market will come under its scope.75th Venice International Film Festival
The 75th Venice International Film Festival was held from 29 August to 8 September 2018. Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro was named as the President of the Jury. First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, was selected to open the festival. Guillermo del Toro was named as the Jury President for the main competition section, with Michele Riondino hosting the festival.The festival poster is made by Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti, who designed it in the way "that attracts the eye, that attracts thought, but without revealing too much." The Golden Lion was awarded to Mexican film Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón.76th Venice International Film Festival
The 76th annual Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 28 August to 7 September 2019.Golden Lion
The Golden Lion (Italian: Leone d'Oro) is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most prestigious and distinguished prizes. In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced; this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema.
The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of Saint Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Republic of Venice). Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. Before that, from 1934 until 1942, the highest awards were the Coppa Mussolini (Mussolini Cup) for Best Italian Film and Best Foreign Film.Grand Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
The Grand Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival) is an award given at the Venice Film Festival. It is considered the second place award next to the main award, the Golden Lion.Special Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
The Special Jury Prize is an official award given at the Venice Film Festival. It is awarded to one or two films per year.Volpi Cup for Best Actor
The Volpi Cup (Italian: Coppa Volpi) is the principal award given to actors at the Venice Film Festival and is named in honor of Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the founder of the Venice Film Festival. The name and number of prizes have been changed several times since their introduction, ranging from two to four awards per edition and sometimes acknowledging both leading and supporting performances.
The festival was officially competitive for the first time in 1934. The acting award was named Grande medaglia d'oro dell'Associazione Nazionale Fascista dello Spettacolo per il migliore attore (Great Gold Medal of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment for the Best Actor). After a four-year hiatus caused by the war, the festival was once again competitive in 1947. The acting award in the immediate post-war period was named Premio Internazionale per il migliore attore (International Award for the Best Actor). The festival was again competitive in 1980 but the acting awards given by the competition jury were not reinstated until 1983: the prizes were no longer called Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup) but were simply referred to as Premio per il migliore attore (Best Actor Award). The winners did not receive cup-shaped awards but were instead given rectangular plaques. In 1988, for the first time in 20 years, the most recognizable prizes of the festival were re-established. The two acting award was officially named Coppa Volpi per la migliore interpretazione maschile (Volpi Cup for the Best Actor).‡ – indicates the performance was also nominated for an Academy AwardVolpi Cup for Best Actress
The Volpi Cup (Italian: Coppa Volpi alla miglior attrice or Coppa Volpi per la miglior interpretazione femminile) is the principal award given to actresses at the Venice Film Festival and is named in honor of Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the founder of the festival. The award winner is selected by the festival jury from the films in the competition slate. The official name of the award has changed several times over the course of the years. From 1969 through 1978, there were no awards given at the festival for acting. The main Best Actress Award resumed in 1983. The awards given from 1983 to 1987 were not Coppa Volpis but rather square plaques. The award can be given for lead or supporting performances. There are additional awards given within the festival that recognize acting performances. From 1993 to 1995 the festival awarded a Best Supporting Actress prize that is included below. As of the 2018 ceremony, Olivia Colman is the most recent winner in this category for her portrayal of the British monarch Queen Anne in The Favourite.
‡ – indicates the performance was also nominated for an Academy Award
† – indicates the performance was also an Academy Award winner
Venice Film Festival
|Documentary and Short|