Introduction by the President of la Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta
The Biennale is continuing with its gradual renewal of the structures in being for the International Film Festival, following a process that began two years ago when it obtained the concession for the use of these buildings.
We began with the complete refurbishment of the Sala Grande and some smaller structures. Then we submitted a plan, which was approved in an inter-departmental conference, for the improvement of the whole area of the two screening theatres, the Grande and the Darsena.
This year we are continuing with a complete renewal of the Sale Pasinetti and Zorzi and the creation, or rather the restoration, of a big foyer in the forepart of the Sala Grande, having moved the Sala Volpi inside the former Casino (some slight but useful increases in the number of permissible and available number of seats have resulted from these refurbishments).
In agreement with the Council and the Superintendency, we are studying the former Casino building, which needs work to be done that could also lead to increased capacity in addition to a marked improvement in its technical and operational conditions and its comfort.
In addition to all this, all the technological facilities and the area’s cabling system have been updated.
We have completed one project per year of a four-year programme, the value of which can already be judged from the facts and that can continue with the help of the city’s authorities.
Meanwhile, and again with the full collaboration of the local authority, we have had the cavity in front of the Casino filled in. The external spaces have begun to “breathe” freely again.
We have confirmed our arrangements with the Hotel Excelsior: these allow us to manage outside and inside spaces ourselves.
As an addition to the Industry Office that has already been tried out, this year we shall see the novelty of a market in the true sense of the term, as a venue equipped with good organisational facilities in which operators can trade. The limited duration of the market (five days) is an assurance of the soundness of this idea.
The Biennale has reformulated its mission in all its fields. To its work in the promotion of culture for the public (exhibitions and festivals), it has added a line of strategy that is directed at the training of young artists This is the Biennale College, which is already operational in our Dance and Theatre sections and is to be further enriched with Cinema.
Fostering young talents, allowing them to work in contact with masters in order to develop “creations”: this is the spirit of the Biennale College, a well-equipped bridge that gives young people that want to engage in one of the arts to do so in the best conditions that an international institution can provide.
All our artistic directors are asked to commit themselves to this new front as well. Just as our staff have been asked to take materials and ideas from history and from our Archive in order to renew and present past experiences. The Biennale College - Cinema project has been completed. Restored films have been taken from the Biennale’s Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts for a retrospective dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Festival, which is also an opportunity to include a wider selection of restored films from other organisations and institutions, in the Festival itself.
The Biennale College is another element in the Biennale’s standing as an international institution that has a global vision and that is always innovative, even by comparison with the work done by other world institutions. And in this sphere too, its aim is to obtain the esteem on the part of the rest of the world that confirms that it is achieving its mission.
First of all we thank Director Barbera for the efforts he puts into all our plans. And his staff. Sincere thanks to the Ministry of Culture for confirming the support that allows the Film Festival to take place. Thanks to Venice City Council for the assiduity with which it follows and supports our work on the Lido and the Veneto Region for the assistance it gives us in our activities. We thank our sponsors, who have honoured their commitments even in a difficult year; thanks to all those who collaborated. Sincere gratitude to all at the Biennale, sometimes engaged in very challenging tasks, and finally warmest thanks to the inhabitants of the Lido who now seem to have started to appreciate our efforts in a communion of intents.