77th Venice International Film Festival declared a success by industry figures

As the first major film festival to take place in a physical format since the pandemic started, the 77th Venice International Film Festival was a gamble that seems to have paid off.
The event’s director Albert Barbera said the event went much better than anticipated.
“Something could happen unexpectedly, which is not the case. So everybody’s happy to be here,” he noted Thursday (10 SEPT. 2020) as the festival starts to wind down.
“We have extremely good feedback from all over the world. And people are asking us to send them in protocols to explain them how we did it and how we manage this situation. So this was a sort of idea as well at the beginning. To hold the festival as a sort of a lab, a test for everybody to show that it can be done. And, of course, something can be improved because we are the first. And so we are happy and proud of that.”
This year’s festival had strict security measures in place, including temperature checks, compulsory mask wearing both outside and inside theaters, an online booking system for screenings and a lack of screaming fans overlooking the red carpet.
Despite some initial technical problems, the festival went very smoothly for journalists, according to British film correspondent Emma Pritchard Jones.
“I think the festival has been a massive success, partly because the only criteria for judging Venice’s success this year was whether or not it will be behind a covid spike. Now, so far, we’re nearly at the end of the festival. That hasn’t happened,” she said.
“I feel so lucky to even be here, but to be at a festival that seems incredibly well organized. The booking system has had a few teething problems, but nothing really to get to complain about. Everybody’s hopefully managed to see the films. It feels safe in there. It feels socially distanced. Everyone’s wearing their masks. Everyone is wearing their masks around the casino.”
On the artistic side, Pritchard Jones believes the lack of stars and Hollywood films made the event closer to an arthouse experience.
“This is the COVID festival, there’s no use pretending anything else,” she noted.
“What we’ve actually had instead, I think is a festival of quite a lot of film integrity. I mean, there have been some very, very good films from all over the world, just less from North America. So really, if Hollywood does take any notice of the Venice line-up this year and what wins the Golden Lion, it will seem that those films will have really been judged by whether they’re good movies or not, nor who starred in them. And that’s quite novel.”
The Golden Lion will be awarded Saturday, 12 September to one of 18 films.

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