In a show of support for festivals in the pandemic era, eight artistic directors of leading European film festivals will take part in the opening night of the Venice Film Festival on September 2.
The eight directors – Alberto Barbera (Venice Film Festival), Carlo Chatrian (Berlinale), Thierry Fremaux (Festival de Cannes), Lili Hinstin (Festival di Locarno), Vanja Kaludjeric (Rotterdam Film Festival), Karel Och (Karlovy Vary), José Luis Rebordinos (San Sebastian) and Tricia Tuttle (London Film Festival) – will attend in order to “reassert the importance of the art of cinema as a sign of solidarity towards the global film industry which has been hit hard by the pandemic,” the Venice Film Festival said.
Over the course of the evening, the eight directors will take to the stage in the Sala Grande to read a shared statement about the “fundamental value of cinema, and the role and importance of festivals in the support and promotion of cinema from all over the world, and European cinema in particular.”
“Festivals”, they will affirm, “are not mere promotional showcases to highlight the best of authors’ and filmmakers’ creativity, but are increasingly becoming centres of culture, places of education at the service of young directors, opportunities for the cultural enlightenment of audiences and for education to beauty and to the richness of the film experience for young people. A place that fosters research and debate where creativity and freedom of artistic expression come together to produce a fertile and indispensable dialogue with audiences and society.”
Venice, replete with myriad COVID protocols, will be the first major festival to take place as a predominantly physical event since the global outbreak.
The pandemic has ravaged the film calendar with a number of festivals having to cancel or become hybrid online and physical events. COVID has also seen many studios choose not to send bigger movies to fall festivals, which has added to their programming challenge.