Venice Film Festival still plans to proceed on the Lido in the event’s customary early September slot.
Roberto Cicutto, president of the Venice Biennale, the fest’s parent organization, said Monday in an interview with Italian news agency ANSA that the September 2-12 dates of the 77th edition of Venice are confirmed.
Cicutto in the interview with ANSA — the details of which have been confirmed by a Venice spokesman — downplayed the possibility of a collaboration between Venice and Cannes, which Cannes director Thierry Fremaux mentioned in a recent interview with Variety, noting, “Since the beginning of the crisis, we have raised the possibility of doing something together if Cannes was canceled. We’re continuing to discuss it.”
Cicutto said: “With Cannes, everything is possible, but I find it disconcerting that Thierry Fremaux keeps saying he is continuing to examine the situation and does not say what he wants to do.”
“We are going forward with our program, and if Cannes is still thinking (about their course of action) then there is no dialogue,” added Cicutto.
The Biennale boss specified there is currently no “hypothesis” on the table for a joint Venice-Cannes initiative.
In the interview with ANSA, Cicutto also admitted that he expected “foreign attendance will be necessarily much smaller” this year than in past editions of the festival.
“We are doing simulations regarding a typical festival day,” he said, adding that digital technology will be “important for foreign press,” and that all this is being fine-tuned and will be put in “a proposal that we will bring forward to producers.”
The Biennale has given itself an “end of May” deadline to sort out more details of the upcoming edition’s modalities.
Cicutto, who is a former film producer, also addressed the key issue of using cinemas for the festival, noting he expects Italian authorities to grant Venice special status in terms of nationwide security measures against the spread of coronavirus.
“It’s one thing to manage six or seven circumscribed movie theaters,” as opposed to “thousands of movie theaters” across the country, he pointed out.
While Italy is currently in strict lockdown — with a coronavirus death toll of more than 23,000, making it the world’s hardest hit country by the pandemic — new infections are believed to have plateaued and, somewhat similarly to China, the hope is that the crisis will subside sooner than some other nations.
Venice, which is considered the world’s oldest film festival, in January announced that Cate Blanchett would preside over its 77th edition.