Edition is the first under new chief Alberto Barbera
ROME — Michael Mann will preside over the main jury of the 69th Venice Film Festival.It’s the helmer-producer’s first time as top juror at an international fest and is also a first indication of the Lido’s new direction under recently appointed artistic director Alberto Barbera. The fest praised Mann as “a total filmmaker and one of the most influential and representative figures in contemporary American cinema,” citing his experience as a TV producer on “Miami Vice” and “Crime Story” and also his “glittering post-modern style” as helmer of “Manhunter,” “Heat” and “Collateral,” among other pics. While Barbera has announced plans to make Venice more sombre and to slim down the lineup to no more than 50 titles, the topper seems to be signalling he does not intend to turn it into an arthouse ghetto. Titles tipped for the Lido competish include Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” Brian De Palma’s thriller “Passion” and Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder,” the last of which will go out in Italy in December via RAI Cinema. Under Barbera, Venice now also has aspirations to become a bona-fide market. The fest’s new mart chief Pascal Diot, who also runs the Dubai Film Market, is providing free hospitality to 120 international buyers this year. A gradual overhaul of the fest’s obsolete infrastructure is also underway, which could help make the Lido more of an industry magnet. Venice will run Aug. 29-Sept. 8.