Venice may not have followed Cannes’ Netflix Competition ban but it has gone halfway to matching the French fest’s contentious new measures on reviews.
Venice has issued a statement today requesting that “each and every journalist” refrain from publishing reviews about movies until those films have started their first official public screening. The move comes, I understand, as a result of those connected to movies (and likely the talent) expressing frustration over good vibes being zapped by bad reviews.
Most Venice press and industry screenings take place in the morning with public screenings in the evening.
It’s not immediately clear whether this embargo extends to interviews and social media commentary. Neither is there any word on potential punishments for breaking the embargo. I have reached out to the festival and will update as soon as I hear back. The festival’s press screening timetable has moved around somewhat this year which could further complicate the plan.
Venice’s move is sure to test the nerves and twitchy fingers of many who are now used to getting reviews and commentary out at light-speed. While the notion of waiting a beat might appease some in the industry, and even find favour among some writers, there will be others who don’t like the idea of a festival shackling enthusiastic first impressions.
Cannes went a step further this year — to the chagrin of many in the media — by moving press screenings to be in sync with or after public screenings, many of which are in the evening.
Below is the statement, which is sure to generate plenty of interest among Lido-bound media.
The ongoing transformations in the world of communications, brought about by the rise of new technologies and social networks, have affected the traditional lapse of time between the appearance of comments by the press and the start of public screenings during the Festival.
Traditionally, press previews gave journalists – essential partners of a film festival – sufficient time to carry out their work productively. Back when articles appeared solely in print form, journalists’ reviews were published the next day, or in any case, after the first public screening.
The desire to maintain press preview screenings for each film participating in the Festival and, at the same time, the advisability of respecting the traditional lapse of time between the first screening and the first comments, can only be achieved if journalists observe the embargo until the first official public screening of each film has begun.
Therefore, in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the Festival and the quality of the welcome it offers, it has become necessary to request that each and every journalist should observe this embargo.
We thank you in advance for your collaboration.