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Ticket sales and the number of journos attending Venice are up this year, which is no small feat, considering the poor global economy.

Press attendance is always a key indicator of the impact a fest can have for a pic’s visibility. This year there are 3,427 accredited journos including 2,088 from Italy and 1,339 from abroad, up 4%.

During a lunch with the foreign press on Wednesday, Biennale prexy Paolo Baratta and artistic director Marco Mueller said that a whopping 22,505 tix had been sold, 17% up on last year, by Monday.

Press attendance is always a key indicator of the impact a fest can have for a pic’s visibility. This year there are 2,088 accredited journos 2,088 from Italy and 1,339 from abroad, up 4%

And while, predictably, there is a 33% rise in Web journos, there is also a 21% overall increase in print media presence, and 23% uptick in folks from foreign print outlets, with 433 international publications who deemed Venice worth the trek. “The foreign press is being very positive about us, and this is a great reward,” Baratta said.

As for where Venice is going in terms of artistic vision, Baratta said the fest is constantly mulling its own re-invention. “Every year, we ask ourselves: what is the purpose of what we do?” And the answer? “We want to be in a position to surprise the world.”