Foreword by the President of the Venice Biennale, Paolo Baratta
This year La Biennale has undertaken a more direct role in managing the Festival’s spaces, allowing it to launch initiatives to generally improve the Lido’s cinema quarter.
It was thus possible to achieve, in record time, the first step towards the scheduled overall renewal with the restoration and upgrade of the Sala Grande.
This is a clear signal: we restart from our history – and for the oldest film festival in the world – and the only one still using its original theatre – history is a very valuable asset.
La Biennale has already presented plans to continue renovating all its historic buildings.
As for the plans for a big new “Palazzo del Cinema”, which have been halted for reasons beyond our control, these will now be replaced by a widespread revamping programme of our traditional venues, which will be completed with the planned developments in the area where the new “Palazzo” was supposed to have stood.
These new responsibilities have been supported by agreements with the Municipality of Venice, as well as with private and public bodies, allowing La Biennale, in turn, to manage more directly the surrounding spaces and the new services needed for the success of the Festival.
All this implies a new strategic commitment for the re-launch of the Festival in a period when important new developments are taking place in the world of cinema.
Technologies are in constant evolution – with the spreading of digital and 3D techniques - and the ways in which audiences experience cinema are continually changing too (the internet, new networked cinemas, etc.).
On the other hand, in the creative sector we can see examples of directors and artists ‘migrating’ from one art form to another: from feature-length to short, from documentary to visual art. All this is a great sign of new vitality.
The Orizzonti section caters for these new authorial tendencies, with artists dedicating themselves to different forms and idioms, and La Biennale seems the perfect place to record these phenomena and present them to the public. Taking part in the Film Festival are no fewer than seven visual artists (one of them in competition). La Biennale Arte was launched this year with a Golden Lion awarded to an artist presenting a work whose very lifeblood derives from the language of cinema (The Clock by Marclay).
The Festival offers a wide range of interests in the spirit of pluralism – which is at its core – acknowledging its role as promoter of culture and stimulus for quality.
Again this year critics and authors will be present with dedicated sections, while a series of workshops has been organised with Anica (Italy’s national association for the cinema industry), which also shows a new entrepreneurial attitude in the sector.
I would like to thank Marco Müller and his entire team for their precious work.
I would also like to thank the Municipality of Venice, and especially the Mayor Giorgio Orsoni, for their willingness to deal with the issue of the quality of the Festival’s venues.
I would like to thank the Italian Ministry of Culture for its essential contribution to the Festival. I would like to thank the Veneto Region and the other local institutions.
I am also grateful to our sponsors.
Finally, I am especially indebted to the whole Biennale machine, above all to the in-house employees whose professionalism make it possible, year after year, to fulfil difficult on-site planning arrangements. This year it involved substantial renovation of key historical sites – and in a short space of time: from the Arsenale to Ca’ Giustinian, to the new Library in the Main Pavilion in the Giardini area and now the Sala Grande – which will not be the last in the series. I would like to thank everyone for their passion and the quality of their work.
President of the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia