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Cate Blanchett reminisced warmly about Lorenzo Soria at an event held during the Venice Film Festival where the recently deceased president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. was commemorated.

“He was such a calm in the eye of the storm,” Blanchett said, remembering Soria, who died prematurely on Aug. 7 at the age of 68. “He was always a man of great grace and dignity and good humor,” she added.

Striking a humorous note herself, Blanchett in her brief speech referred to the HFPA, which is the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards, as “a very robust, inspiring and unruly group,” and noted: “I always enjoy my interfaces with you.” 

Blanchett is the winner of three Golden Globes, for her roles in “Elizabeth,” “I’m Not There,” and “Blue Jasmin.”

Attendees at the somewhat socially distanced gala held on the Lido Friday evening included Mads Mikkelsen, Oliver Stone, Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera, and HFPA member Silvia Bizio, who was a close friend of Soria.

Barbara said he was “happy that Venice is taking place,” despite COVID-19, adding: “We hope to be able to get through the 10 days of the festival without any problems.”

In a video message, Soria’s son Max Soria thanked everyone “for attending what I can only imagine is a fairly spectacular and dignified evening.”

The gala was organized by financial group Bellagraph Nova Group, a new and still unknown investment company which has recently reportedly expressed an interest in buying the Newcastle United soccer club, which plays in the English Premier League.

Bellagraph is seeking visibility in the film world. They’ve forged a tie with producer Valentina Castellani-Quinn, who is a co-producer of the doc “Oleg: The Oleg Vidov Story,” about Russian actor Oleg Vidov who defected to the U.S. They jointly have some other projects in early stages, one of which is doc “The White Snake,” about Native Americans and alternative energies to oil narrated by chief Arvol Looking Horse, who led the protests against the Dakota pipeline at Standing Rock, said Castellani.

Speaking about the Bellagraph Nova Group’s decision to commemorate Soria in Venice, Castellani noted that due to COVID-19 it had been impossible to hold any memorial events for him in L.A.

“Our first thought was: let’s do something at the (Venice) Biennale to remember his great work; his great persona,” she said.