Initiative will steer 3 projects from inception to release

The Venice Film Festival on Friday launched its Biennale College in tandem with Gucci, which will shepherd microbudget first works through their entire production cycle, from development through distribution, in what is being touted as a first for a fest.

The Biennale College will select 15 projects for a workshop to be held January in Venice, and then whittle that number down to three, which will be completed in five months to screen on the Lido in 2013.

Biennale College is headed by Savina Neirotti, who created the Turin Film Lab, and will draw on her know-how.

Each project team will be given €150,000 ($190,000) plus tutoring and mentoring from industryites. Projects must have a bona-fide producer attached. There is no age limit and no participation fee. The deadline for applications is Oct. 22.

Besides screening at Venice, the three selected films will get online and VOD distribution through deals made by the Biennale College.

The 12 projects that don’t make the final cut will be placed on a preferential route to get into other global film labs, including New York’s Independant Filmmaker Project, the Turin Film Lab, and the Dubai Intl. Festival lab.

Biennale prexy Paolo Baratta said the Biennale, Italy’s top multi-disciplinary arts foundation, could not limit itself to showing completed works but had to get involved in the creative process in film, as it has already done in the visual arts and theater.

Venice fest’s artistic director Alberto Barbera said that, while there are plenty of funds for first works everywhere, none steer a film’s complete cycle from start to finish.

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