Venice set, brass uncertain

Dates to be Aug. 29-Sept. 8

ROME — The Venice Intl. Film Festival has announced the dates for next year’s 58th edition amid doubts that current management will still be in charge.

The starting date has been moved back one day to Aug. 29, and the fest will wrap Sept. 8 so the event can unspool over two weekends.

Italy’s recently appointed culture minister, Giuliano Urbani, and his undersecretary, Vittorio Sgarbi, are expected to appoint people to several key state-connected arts posts. Among those jobs is president of the Biennale, the arts council that controls the Venice fest.

Biennale prexy Paolo Baratta will come up for renewal in April, while fest director Alberto Barbera’s contract runs for one more year. But if Baratta’s contract is not renewed and a political appointee is brought in to replace him, Barbera could be pushed out early.

Observers say this could spell disaster for the Venice fest, leaving a newcomer less than five months to assemble the event.

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