You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Venice Market on Upward Trajectory Thanks to Co-Prod Mart and Stronger Fest

Netflix acquisitions manager Funa Maduka is making her first trek to Venice

VENICE – The Venice Film Market is not making any quantum leaps this year, but it looks set on a path of progressive consolidation with a robust representation of industry professionals, comprising more producers than in the past, plus high-ranking European Commission honchos lured to the Lido for the first time, and enough fresh mostly European auteur fare to ensure that some business will get done.

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera candidly admits that the fourth edition of this informal mart, which starts the post- summer dealmaking season before the Toronto juggernaut, was “not able to make the big steps forward that we hoped for.” That is because “our plans to build new market infrastructure were blocked by the fact that the mayor of Venice was arrested [on corruption charges] last year.”

Well, that’s Italy for you.

Still, reflecting a strong 72nd edition of the fest, execs and companies expected to attend the VFM include Lido aficionado Harvey Weinstein, Markus Zimmer of prominent German distribut Concorde, TFI’s Thierry Decourcelle, Bavaria CEO Gerd Achim Rohnke and execs from Wild Bunch, Square One, Fortissimo, Studio Canal U.K.,  HanWay, Warner Bros. and Shoreline, among others. Coming for the first time is Netflix acquisitions manager Funa Maduka. Netflix, which will launch in October in Italy, has two titles world-preeming in Venice, Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” and also hot docu “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”

“It’s clear that going forward Netflix and Amazon will be two big production entities that we will all be dealing with,”  Barbera says. “They have the money to make independent cinema that the studios no longer want to make.”

Within the somewhat cramped confines of designated Excelsior Hotel areas the Sept. 3-8 mart will host the second edition of its European Gap-Financing Market (Sept. 4-5), which supports European producers in the final financing stage of 15 selected projects. These are matched with selected financiers and funds, producers, distributors and sales agents. Also in place is the third Final Cut in Venice workshop (Sept. 7-8) which sustains post-production of six selected works-in- progress from Africa, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Jordan.

Reflecting this year’s strong Latin American presence at the fest, new companies that have booked the mart’s few available stands include national film entities from Mexico (Imcine) and Argentina (Incaa), besides European co-production fund Eurimages and U.K. arthouse exhibitor Regent Street Cinema.

VFM topper Pascal Diot is particularly proud that several projects selected last year for the gap financing mart went on to do well. Among these he cited rookie Italian director Laura Bispuri’s female-empowerment drama “Sworn Virgin,” which screened in Berlin and Tribeca, where it scored a nod earlier this year.

A panel on Sept. 7 in tandem with the European Commission will thrash out new challenges faced by the film and TV industries within the recently announced European regulatory framework, which intends to do away with territorial copyright barriers in the movie and TV business in order to create a single Euro market. This would prevent producers selling rights to their pics territory by territory across the continent, possibly destroying what some consider the existing model of independent film financing as few companies would be willing to license an independent film, a still viable business model. EU commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Gunther Oettinger will be on hand to field the gripes.

Diot said he expects industry presence on a par with last year when 261 key distributors and 66 key sales agents made the trek from 57 countries amid some 1,500 accredited professionals. But this year more producers will be on hand, he vows, signaling the VFM is gaining a greater raison d’être.

More Film

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners

    Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear

    Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” about a young Israeli man in Paris who has turned his back on his native country, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to François Ozon’s French drama “By the Grace of God,” a fact-based account of the Catholic Church [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content