Italy’s new culture minister, Giancarlo Galan, is rekindling tensions between the Venice and Rome film fests, just as the Lido launches its call for international submissions.
Galan has criticized the 6-year-old Rome event for being conceived as a competitor to Venice, an antagonism he called “odd, to say the least.” “Venice is the oldest festival in the world,” pointed out Galan, who is a former governor of the Veneto region comprising the city of Venice. And, given Italy’s scarcity of arts funds, having two big fests competing with each other “risks weakening both events,” he added.
These comments didn’t sit well with Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who underlined that while Venice gets €7 million ($9.8 million) from the government, Rome is two-thirds financed by private sponsors and gets little government coin. “Maybe the problem is that the Rome fest’s success is seen by Venice as sacrilege,” Rome topper Piera Detassis said.
The good news for the Venice Film Festival, whose execs were dreading the prospect of a possible 40% budget cut, is that it will receive full funding for its 68th edition, which just opened its online registration for submissions.
Venice runs Aug. 31-Sept. 10; Rome runs Oct. 27-Nov. 4.