Cannes: Venice Topper Alberto Barbera Launches New Section (EXCLUSIVE)

The Venice Film Festival is launching a new section called Cinema in the Garden dedicated to quality crowdpleasers in a push for renewal that includes its recently announced radical market side reconfiguration.

“We want to work a bit more with a general audience, not just the media, industry and cinephiles,” says artistic director Alberto Barbera explaining the rationale behind his new sidebar that will feature nine non-competing films. “It will broaden the fest’s scope in terms of what we are able to offer,” he adds, and be open to the general public, as well as accredited fest attendees.

Titles will all be world or international premieres with special attention on — but not limited to — Italian films. The free-of-charge screenings will take place in a 450-seat state-of-the-art indoor venue being set up in the garden of the Casino, next to the Palazzo del Cinema.

As for Venice’s new Venice Production Bridge mart, dedicated mainly to original projects and works-in-progress, Barbera said he and his team realized that what the industry needs is someone to scout what’s out there for them. “We are wired to the global industry,” he said. “We will be selecting roughly 40 to 50 of the best projects and bringing them to Venice, so producers, buyers, and financiers can choose the ones that are most suitable.” They will include docus, TV series, web-series and virtual reality projects.

Barbera boasted that since launching the Venice market in 2012 he’s come up with initiatives such as its Gap Financing Market to try and boost its industry side, which is a sore spot. “We can’t compete with Cannes or Berlin, but I’m proud we brought back several hundred prominent industry operators, which has helped the festival grow and increase its visibility.”

The 73rd edition of Venice will run Aug. 31-Sept. 10. The VPB will run Sept. 1-5.

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