fbpx Biennale Cinema 2019 | Introduction by Paolo Baratta
La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by

Paolo Baratta

President of La Biennale di Venezia

Our faith in the festival

While for the Biennale Arte the process of renewal began at once, in the year following the reform of 1998, the new project for the Biennale Cinema did not get under way until 2010.
That was the year in which the suspension of work on the new Palazzo del Cinema was announced, with the result that the aging and inadequate traditional facilities were surrounded by a shut-down construction site and an extremely awkward pit. We were on the verge of a debacle. While it didn’t happen in the end, we came close to a definitive downgrade.
We planned and shaped a new reality, following a constant line and a few simple principles, while everything around us was changing. The local, domestic and international economic and political ground was shifting under our feet, with notable differences emerging with respect to previous tendencies. The technologies and the organizational and entrepreneurial structures of the production and distribution of movies were changing, and the role played by new means of transmission of data and images was growing.
We adopted a courageous plan, investing economic and human resources. With it our prime concern was to renew our faith in the festival as an exemplary mode of presentation of films, an indispensable instrument of a free and open society: a setting of particular quality for the formation of a community of people intent on devoting their attention to the works, on getting to know them, on discussing them, on considering them from a critical perspective. An extraordinary concentration of the public where it is possible to make the most of authoriality and in which the cultural mediation carried out by a public institution, in full independence, appears invaluable to the creation of conditions of expanded knowledge and awareness.

Opening up to new genres

It is not just the viewers who need festivals. The world of cinema feels the necessity too. A festival can promote quality without prejudice of genre. It can foster new talents, keep up the interest in formal research and experimentation, and on the other hand maintain the commitment of cinema to tackling fundamental questions relating to the human condition, to society and politics, in its various genres. Festivals can help to keep the demand varied and to raise the quality of the market.
And this year’s festival provides a confirmation of this. We are living at a time of growing fears that changes in technology, in economic and commercial structures and in the ways in which films are viewed might lead to accommodating tendencies, to a more cursory attention on the part of the public to the art of cinema and hence to productions based on less ambitious models of entertainment. The program of the 76th Venice Film Festival seems to belie this.
If our project has been rooted in a faith in certain basic values, among them quality, independence and courage, the pegging of the festival to La Biennale has proved decisive in favoring its pursuance with the indispensable continuity and coherence.
The Venice Film Festival has become a point of reference for cinema all over the world.
In this spirit we have set out to open up to new genres, avoiding any condescension and embarking on bold explorations. One of these areas has been Virtual Reality (first festival to devote a great deal of space and interest to this form of filmmaking).

Activities of support and
new projects

We have also decided that our attention should not be focused solely on the organization of the festival and so we have set up activities of support for new projects in search of funding (the Gap-Financing Market of the Venice Production Bridge, comprising 51 films this year, and the Final Cut in Venice, devoted to the emerging film industries of Africa and the Middle East, covering a total of six movies this year). We have developed an ambitious new project for the promotion of new talent, in keeping with what La Biennale was doing in the other sectors of the performing arts: the Biennale College Cinema.
Biennale College Cinema can already be proud of its accomplishments. Since its inception in 2012, a total of 2013 projects for first or second films have been examined (1815 for Biennale College Cinema, 198 for Biennale College Cinema VR), and 141 selected (105 Biennale College Cinema, 36 Biennale College Cinema VR) to participate in the workshops of development and fine tuning offered by La Biennale. Of these, 27 (22 Biennale College Cinema and 5 Biennale College Cinema VR) have been produced with a grant from La Biennale and screened during the festival (including the 4 inserted in this year’s program), and 20 more (16 Biennale College Cinema, 4 Biennale College Cinema VR) have obtained funding from other sources. Since 2016 the special program for Italian filmmakers has been in operation. In 2019 the number of films receiving support from La Biennale will be extended to four of those selected (at least two of which must be made by female directors)

Our thanks

All this is the fruit of the energy of numerous highly competent people who have worked with a spirit of dedication and cooperation. Our gratitude goes to the director Alberto Barbera and his team of assistants, to the structures of La Biennale engaged for all these years on a variety of fronts, dealing with planning, technical, organizational and promotional aspects, and to the people with specialist skills involved in the various projects.

Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema