Alberto Barbera, Artistic Director of the Venice Film Festival, has outlined some of the coronavirus preventative measures that the event could employ for its next edition in September, if the fest does go ahead.
Quoted in Italian outlet ANSA, Babera said that Venice would likely take place in a “necessarily experimental” form for 2020.
“There will certainly be the use of masks and social distancing,” the fest chief said in a statement translated by Deadline from its original Italian. “It will then be necessary to reduce the number of admissions to the cinema and probably also the number of accreditations.”
Barbera added he believes that not all international films selected for the program are likely to have talent in attendance, which could be an advantage for Italian films that will find it easier to welcome filmmakers and actors. He also suggested that delegates who do make the journey to the Lido will still be at an “advantage”.
In the article, Barbera addressed the subject of Cannes, and the back-and-forth exchange that has taken place between the two major European fests in the last week. Cannes head Thierry Fremaux’s initial hint at a collaboration was seemingly rebutted by Roberto Cicutto, president of the Venice Biennale, yesterday when he told ANSA that there was “no dialogue” between the two orgs.
However, Barbera suggested a reversal of that attitude in today’s statement, saying that the discussion “is still open” with Fremaux and there is “possibility of a real collaboration” with Cannes. It would be “a sign of solidarity towards the world of cinema”, which is needed “more than ever now in this difficult time,” he continued.
“There is concrete will from both of us to do something… In short, we are available for all solutions,” added Barbera.
Since Cicutto claimed yesterday that Venice will go ahead as planned September 2-12, the industry has been abuzz with discussion around whether this is conceivable in the current climate. Italy has begun to see green shoots of recovery this week. Yesterday, the country recorded its first fall in active virus cases, and today Italian PM Giuseppe Conte announced a plan to gradually begin exiting lockdown from May 4. That by no means indicates that the country will be back to normality by the time Venice rolls around in September, of course, with the future very tricky to envision at this point. Angela Merkel, the PM of Germany, which has recorded a lower number of cases and deaths than Italy, has warned this week that progression must be slow to avoid a second wave of the virus, and the country continues to cancel large-scale events, such as today’s news that Oktoberfest, due to take place September 19 – October 4, has been called off for this year.
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