7 Venice Film Festival Facts

On 28 August, the official opening of one of the largest film festivals in Europe – Venice Film Festival 2013 – took place. In honor of the event’s anniversary, we are sharing some interesting facts about it.

  1. Venice Film Festival has always been an event for intellectuals and lovers of non-mass cinema. The organizers and judges are very careful in the selection of participants for the Golden Lion, which is awarded to the best film: no director ever managed to gain the three major awards, and only four people became twice laureates: the Frenchmen André Cayatte and Louis Malle, and the Chinese Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee. Among the well-known winning films are Romeo and Juliet (1954), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), Three Colors: Blue (1993) and Brokeback Mountain (2005).
  2. The participants of the Venice Film Festival have an unspoken, but an always-respected tradition: each winner and/or the nominee feels obliged to release a sarcastic joke about Hollywood.
  3. A year ago, the festival introduced an innovation: some movies presented to the public for the first time could be watched online on the official website. However, the cost of such a subscription to watch a single movie is approximately equal to the price of a cinema ticket.
  4. In 2007, the Blue Lion prize for films about homosexuality was first awarded. In 2009, Tom Ford received it for A Single Man film; and in 2011, the statue went to Al Pacino for the Wilde Salome movie.
  5. The fundamental condition for the Venice Film Festival helps participants to provide exclusive screenings for all days: none of the films should be displayed publicly or participate in other festivals.
  6. Venice Film Festival was first held in 1932, and its founder was a fascist dictator Mussolini, who was power in Italy. First, the event was successful, and the awards were given based on the objective jury’s views. Later, Mussolini began to intervene in the discussion, advising ideologically correct films – mainly from Germany and Italy – for the main award, which was then called Mussolini Cup. These events historically led to the emergence of the Festival’s “brother” where prizes were awarded according to merits. So the Cannes Film Festival began.
  7. For some reason, the favorite number of the Venice Film Festival is 7. There are 7 major awards: the Golden Lion”, the Silver Lion, two Volpi Cups for best actor and actress, Marcello Mastroianni Award for best young actor or actress (by the way, in 2010, the now famous Mila Kunis received it), the Osella awarded to “off-screen characters” like writers, cameramen, etc., and a special prize of the jury. There are 7 programs in the Venice festival, too: the main competition, Horizons program for games and documentaries, short film competition, non-competition screenings, a section of an independent and parallel cinema, the film market forum, where the largest trading companies present new items for distributors, and Luigi de Laurentiis prize for beginners. By the way, the minimum number of the main competition jury is 7.

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