The 2020 Venice Film Festival is moving forward with its September 2-12 dates with an outdoor screening and a reduced lineup of roughly 50 feature films. Artistic Director Alberto Barbera has announced that the core of the annual film festival will remain intact with around 20 features selected for the main competition, known as Venezia 77. Cate Blanchett is slated to head this year’s competition jury.
Complying with social distancing measures, the festival announced that the event will comprise of two outdoor screening locations: one in Venice at the Giardini della Biennale and another in the skating rink on the Lido. The latter is where the most screenings for non-industry moviegoers will take place. Additionally, the festival’s virtual reality competition will take place online and the Venice Classics selections will screen separately as part of the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna between August 25 and 31.
In an official statement, Barbera called this year’s edition of the prestigious festival “a message of concrete optimism for the entire world of cinema which has suffered greatly from this crisis,” adding another dash of hope with the announcement that “a significant number of directors and actors will accompany the films to the Lido.”
“I am extremely pleased that the Biennale Cinema can be held with a minimum reduction of films and sections,” he said. “Without forgetting the countless victims of these past few months to whom due tribute shall be paid, the first international festival following the forced interruption dictated by the pandemic becomes the meaningful celebration of the reopening we all looked forward to, and a message of concrete optimism for the entire world of cinema which has suffered greatly from this crisis. The Official Selection of Venezia 77, with its 50-55 films from around the world, will provide its traditional overview of the best that the film industry has produced in recent months, thanks to the extraordinary response by directors and producers, despite the arduous working conditions over these past few months. A significant number of directors and actors will accompany the films to the Lido, while internet connections will make it possible to hold press conferences with all those who will be unable to participate in person, due to the travel restrictions that remain in place.”
The Toronto International Film Festival, which is typically held on the heels of Venice in September, has already announced plans for a smaller 2020 version, with fewer films and virtual red carpets.