Venice Film Festival
Venice Cinema Palace, the main venue on the Lido island
|Awards||Golden Lion, Silver Lion|
|Number of films||100 in 2015|
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"), founded in 1932, 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 film festival is part of the Venice Biennale, which was founded by the Venetian City Council in 1895. Today, the Biennale includes a range of separate events including: 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 film festival has since taken place in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi and in other venues nearby. Since its inception the Venice Film Festival has grown into one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
The first edition of the Venice Film Festival was carried out from the 6 to the 21 of August in 1932.
The festival began with an idea of the president of the Venice Biennale Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata and Luciano De Feo, who was the very first director-selector. With good reason, the festival was considered the first international event of its type, receiving strong support from authorities. This first edition was held on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior on the Venice Lido, and at that stage it was not a competitive event. The very first film to be shown in the history of the Festival was Rouben Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that was screened at 9:15 p.m. on 6 August 1932.
The second edition was held two years later, from 1 to 20 of August in 1934. For the first time it included a competition. At least 19 countries took part with over 300 accredited journalists. The "Mussolini Cup" was introduced for best foreign film and best Italian film; however there was no actual jury. Instead, the awards were assigned by the President of the Biennale, after listening to the opinions of both experts and audiences, and in accordance with the "National Institute for Educational Cinema". Other awards were the "Great Gold Medals of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment" to best actor and actress. The prize for best foreign film went to Robert J. Flaherty's Man of Aran and was a confirmation of the taste of the time for auteur documentaries.
Starting in 1935, the Festival became a yearly event under the direction of Ottavio Croze. The actors' award was renamed "Volpi Cup". In 1936 an international jury was nominated for the first time and in 1937 the new Cinema Palace, designed by the architect Luigi Quagliata, was inaugurated.
The 1940s represent one of the most difficult moments for the review.
The conclusion of the Second World War divides the decade in two. Before 1938 political pressures distorted and ruined the festival. 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. In addition, few countries participated and there was an absolute monopoly of institutions and directors that were members of the Rome-Berlin Axis.
After this sad digression, 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 at the Doge's Palace, a most magnificent backdrop for hosting a record 90 thousand participants. Surely it can be considered one of the greatest editions in the history of the festival.
Development and closure
For the next twenty years the festival continued its development and expansion in accordance with the artistic plan set in motion after the war.
In 1963 the winds of change blow strongly during Luigi Chiarini’s directorship of the festival. During the years of his presidency, 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.
The long-awaited rebirth came in 1979, thanks to the new director Carlo Lizzani, 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.
The Film Festival's current awards are:
Official selection: In competition
- Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro), awarded to the best film screened in competition at the festival
- See list of winners at Golden Lion
- Silver Lion (Leone d'Argento), awarded to the best director in the competitive section
- See list of winners at Silver Lion
- Grand Jury Prize
- See list of winners at Grand Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
- Volpi Cup (Coppa Volpi), awarded to the best actor/actress
- Special Jury Prize, awarded to one or two films
- See list of winners at Special Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
- Golden Osella, awarded to the Best Technical Contribution (to cinematographers, composers, etc.) and for the Best Screenplay.
- See list of winners at Golden Osella
- There are other awards that also recognize acting performances:
- Marcello Mastroianni Award, instituted in 1998 in honor of the great Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni who died in 1996. The award was created to acknowledge an emerging actor or actress
- Special Lion, awarded for an overall work to a director or actor of a film presented in the main competition section.
Orizzonti section (Horizons)
This section is open to all "custom-format" works, with a wider view towards new trends in the expressive languages that converge in film.
The awards of the Orizzonti section are:
- The Orizzonti Prize
- The Special Orizzonti Jury Prize (for feature-length films)
- The Orizzonti Short Film Prize
- The Orizzonti Medium-length Film Prize
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||James Franco||United States|
|2015||Brian De Palma||United States|
Mussolini Cup (Coppa Mussolini)
The Mussolini Cup was the top award from 1934 to 1942 for Best Italian and Best Foreign Film. Named after Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini, it was abandoned upon his ousting in 1943.
Mussolini Cup for Best Italian Film
|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|
Great Gold Medals of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment
"Le Grandi Medaglie d’Oro dell’Associazione Nazionale Fascista dello Spettacolo" in Italian.
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 The Road to Life, while the film by René Clair À Nous la Liberté was voted Best Film.
Award for Best Director
|1935||King Vidor||The Wedding Night|
|1936||Jacques Feyder||Carnival in Flanders||La Kermesse Héroique|
|1937||Robert J. Flaherty and Zoltan Korda||Elephant Boy|
- Anderson, Ariston. "Venice: David Gordon Green's 'Manglehorn,' Abel Ferrara's 'Pasolini' in Competition Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Addio, Lido: Last Postcards from the Venice Film Festival". TIME.
- Venice Biennale site.
- "La Biennale di Venezia – The 30s". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "Carnival of Venice, Marcello Mastroianni Award". Carnival of Venice. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "Carnival of Venice, Portale di Venezia® – The 1930s". Carnival of Venice. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Venice Film Festival.|
- Venice Film Festival at the Internet Movie Database
- La Biennale di Venezia – Official website (English) (Italian)
- Venice International Film Festival history at La Biennale di Venezia website