Venice Film Festival organizers have sent a letter to a wide range of film industry executives to survey concerns and suggestions about the upcoming edition, which is still scheduled to run Sept. 2-12.
The letter, which was signed by Venice’s artistic director Alberto Barbera and issued on Monday, is meant to gauge how many filmmakers, talent and producers are willing to turn up at the fest before a decision is taken at the end of the month on whether to maintain or cancel this year’s edition.
“We know that it would be simply impossible to plan a festival without knowing if you all are willing to use the Festival to give a new start and a strong sign for keeping cinema alive, even in these difficult times,” wrote Barbera. The letter also asked producers and sales agents about “the concrete possibility of bringing (talent) to accompany the invited films.”
“We all know that, most probably, any festival will not be able to take place exactly like it was in the past. We will have to deal with a number of limitations and security measures: reduction of the number of screened films and a similar decrease of attendance from press, industry and audience,” said Barbera.
As Barbera previously stated, the festival won’t be turned into a virtual event, however, it appears Venice is now considering a “virtual screening room, using a safe online platform” for those who won’t be able to attend but have been accredited previously.
The survey also asks industry participants whether they would “consider useful and/or necessary to (have access to) streaming, interactive Q&A sessions with filmmakers, online industry and market transactions for instance — to partially replace or increase live events, such as press screenings and conferences, meetings and panels.”
Venice is expecting to receive written feedback by May 10.
Italy has begun gradually easing its lockdown restrictions as of this week, with around four million people returning to work. The country has reported more than 29,000 deaths from COVID-19.