ROME — While Hollywood will hold court at the upcoming 61st Venice Intl. Film Festival, European pics rule the roost at the fest’s new Venice Days section, unveiled by artistic director Giorgio Gosetti. Section’s 12 entries include seven first works.
Revenge drama “Dead Man’s Shoes” from Britain’s Shane Meadows, “Confituur” by Belgian helmer Lieven Debrauwer (“Pauline and Paulette”), Slovenian helmer Vinko Moderndorfer’s debut “Suburbs” (which segues to a Montreal competition slot) and “Nemmeno il Destino” (Fate Is Not Enough), sophomore pic from Italo helmer Daniele Gaglianone (“Sailing Home”), are among the section’s standout titles.
Meadows, whose pic world preems this month at the Edinburgh Film Festival, was at Venice in 1997 to unspool his “TwentyFourSeven.”
“I have come across some pleasant surprises, made some discoveries and taken some gambles,” Gosetti said, adding that Venice Days will be open to pics from all over the world — including the U.S. — starting next year. “This year we chose Europe in part because of the EU’s recent enlargement, and also because the section was born in May, and we had little time to globetrot,” he added.
Independently operated by Italy’s National Film Authors Assn., ANAC, Venice’s new section is modeled on Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and Berlin’s Forum. Announced in Cannes in May, it was provisionally dubbed Venice Auteur Days.
Pics unspooling in Venice Days will be eligible to compete for the fest’s Luigi De Laurentiis prize for first works, worth E100,000 ($120,580), and for the Label Europa Cinemas award, which provides EU-funded distribution coin. Jury for latter nod includes Greek critic Michel Demopoulos, German exhibitor Matthias Elwardt, Italian exhib/distrib Georgette Ranucci and Roman Gutek, director of Poland’s Era New Horizons Film Festival.
Gosetti previously ran state-backed film promotion agency Italia Cinema. Before that, he was unofficial deputy director to Gillo Pontecorvo during the latter’s tenure as Venice fest topper.
“My only selection criteria is to find pics that really have something to say and show true passion in saying it,” Gosetti told Daily Variety.
On the selection committee were French newspaper Liberation critic Agnes-Catherine Poirier, critic for French paper Liberation; Polish critic Tadeusz Sobolewski; and Adrian Wootton, chief exec of promotional body Film London. The fest runs Sept. 1-11.
VENICE DAYS LINEUP
“Confituur,” Lieven Debrauwer, Belgium
“The Murmuring Coast,” Margarida Cardoso, Portugal
“Suburbs,” Vinko Moderndorfer, Slovenia
“Strings,” Anders Ronnow Klarund, Denmark
“Il Giorno del Falco,” Rodolfo Bisatti, Italy
“Now and Then,” John Lvoff, France
“Tartarughe sul Dorso,” Stefano Pasetto, Italy
“Dead Man’s Shoes,” Shane Meadows, U.K.
“Nemmeno il Destino,” Daniele Gaglianone, Italy
“Darwin’s Nightmare,” Hubert Sauper, Austria/France
“4,” Ilya Khrzhanovsky, Russia
“Caro Vittorio,” Marco Risi, Italy
“Morasseix,” Damien Odoul, France
“L’imperatore di Roma,” Nico D’Alessandria, Italy