The Venice Film Festival’s Venice Film Market is rebranding as the Venice Production Bridge, a mart mainly dedicated to original projects and works-in-progress.

Venice’s move into this relatively untapped market segment will build on existing initiatives of the VFM which since its first edition four years ago has been conceived as a light market – a counterpoint to Toronto with which it almost overlaps – featuring initiatives such as the European Gap Financing Market and Final Cut in Venice, geared towards works in advanced stages.

The new push towards unfinished product will also complement the Lido’s Biennale College initiative dedicated to development and production of micro-budget feature films from all over the world, which over the past four years has spawned thirteen feature films many of which have gone on to gain notice and kudos on the international fest circuit. The VFM and Biennale College are innovations made to the Grand Dame of European festivals by current topper Alberto Barbera (pictured) who is treading new ground when it comes to the fest’s industry aspect, historically considered a sore spot.

Significantly, besides movies, the Venice Production Bridge will be open to web content, TV series, and virtual reality projects in final stages of development and funding.

For its upcoming edition the festival will also build a 450-seat outdoor screening venue in the garden of the Casino, which in recent years has been blighted by a gigantic hole in the ground after construction of  new permanent infrastructure was halted.

The new Cinema del Giardino will screen world premieres of non-competiting films and will be open to the public as well as accredited fest attendees.

The fest has also tweaked  its awards so that the Grand Jury Prize (aka Silver Lion) will officially become the second most important prize after the Golden Lion.

The 73rd edition of Venice will run August 31-September 10. The VPB will run September 1-5.