Venice to market

Lido Script & Film bazaar to bow Sept. 6

ROME — After more than a year of troubled gestation in which a parallel film market to run during the Venice Intl. Film Festival was planned, delayed, announced and aborted, the venerable Lido event will introduce an official sales structure for specialized product at its upcoming 55th edition, running Sept. 3-13.

Organized by privately run trade fair company Veneziafiere in conjunction with the fest’s parent organization, the Biennale, the autonomous Venice Script & Film Market will bow Sept. 5-10 and will include approximately 100-150 features plus scripts and treatments for future projects.

Committee picks

Taking its cue from the film festival that houses it, the mart will showcase official selections from the fest along with other features deemed suitable, many of them picked from the 500 or so films screened by Venice’s programming committee.

“The films chosen to participate will be along the same lines as those in the festival, making this a highly specialized market for quality films and auteur works, which certainly doesn’t mean non-commerical films,” fest director Felice Laudadio told Daily Variety.

“The market will be small if you like, and experimental, but also audacious, even in its formula,” he adds. “We’re not out to compete with Cannes or Berlin, and, least of all, with Mifed, which screens 500 films per year. The idea is to integrate with Mifed and focus on less commercial films that don’t have the circulation of ‘Titanic.’ If anything, it’s a friendly reaction to AFM, where commercial films and American product dominate.”

International buyers

Laudadio says 46 international buyers were present during last fall’s Venice fest and the new market organizers aim to significantly increase that number. He claims that an informal survey conducted among studio execs and independent producers during his U.S. scouting trip last summer revealed major interest in the development of a Lido market.

“We’re big supporters of the Venice festival; it’s an A festival and it’s the perfect way to set your films up for third-quarter release,” says Rick Sands, chairman of Miramax Films, worldwide distribution. However, Sands acknowledges that this kind of tailored market mainly will benefit smaller players as a sales tool.

The two main screening venues will be in the Palazzo del Cinema, with total seating of around 200. Sales offices and stands will be housed this year in a temporary structure to be erected on the Lido, which also will include video screening facilities.

Veneziafiere will invest $350,000 in the mart, with additional financing to come from private sponsors and participant fees. Marlene Sternbaum, the head of international relations and of the market structure at the Munich Film Festival, has been appointed as Venice’s market director.