Croff: Int'l industry interested, but fest needs new infrastructure

With MIFED out of the picture, will Venice gain more prominence as a market?

The Lido is trying. But, as the Italians say, you can’t make a step that is longer than your leg.

“There is clearly an interest from the international film industry,” says Biennale prexy Davide Croff. “But we need new infrastructure. There’s no other way we can do it.”

Last year, following AFM’s move into MIFED’s timeslot, MIFED organizers announced they would link up with Venice. But those plans were shelved — at least for this year — after a falling out between Lido organizers and Italy’s film promotion entity, AIP. AIP is now working on a plan for a new large-scale MIFED in 2006.

The Venice view is that trying to revive MIFED makes no sense.

“MIFED fought the battle with AFM, and lost. So it’s totally pointless to start fighting that battle again,” says Venice topper Marco Muller. “No matter what venue they come up with: Venice, Milan or Rome. All the world sales execs, all the important distributors told me, ‘We are already used to having just two major film markets in Europe: one in Cannes and one in Berlin.’ You cannot change that,” Muller points out.

The only option is to have a more informal, Toronto-like Italo market linked to Venice, which already attracts sellers and buyers anyway, Muller claims.

This year Lido organizers say there are some 1,500 industryites registered with the Venice Industry Office, more or less the same number as last edition.

But more buyers and sellers would likely be Lido-bound if the fest had the spacious market area and nine screening rooms (six 50-seaters, plus two accommodating 120, and one seating 320) that are an integral part of the Lido’s architectural revamp plan (see separate story).

“The huge advantage is that Venice has a festival,” says Croff. “AIP cannot ignore that. We don’t have to start anything. We just need to build the facilities as soon as possible.”

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