By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz June 28, 2010 at 5:46AM
Festivals fit into a a certain heirarchy. Their place in the heirarchy is usually based upon their importance to "the trade". The trade involved in festivals once meant acquisitions people and press. But now it includes all levels of the corporate trade, from agents looking for talent to represent, independent film financing, co-production possibilities, buyers, sellers, publicists and finally to the public.
My "Tipped For" blog does not include the fall festivals of Locarno August 4 to 14, San Sebastian September 17 to 25 or http://telluridefilmfestival.org/" title="Telluride">Telluride September 3 to 6, because their films seem to come from different sources and the festivals serve different purposes to different segments of the industry. Their films are original and well chosen and the festivals themselves are great events, but trade attendance is more limited.
Sometimes their selection of titles competes with those of Venice and Toronto and the latter usually wins out because the filmmakers need the audiences and trade attendance which are in Toronto, and they want the prestige that Venice brings their films. Telluride does not lose out on films; it stands alone. Their films often show up in Venice and Toronto. They do not announce in advance and titles are never leaked to the trade. Buyers go and are not disappointed, but it is expensive and hard to get to, so not all the trade goes; its luxury calls for a leisurely appreciation for film lovers; business is not the order of the day. The trade therefore opts for Toronto which immediately follows.
Locarno and San Sebastian films sometimes elude the main spotlight of the trade. Acquisitions execs attend when they are not too far away and have the time, or they attend because the festivals share a particular focus on the sort of films they trade in. Locarno is looking at the East and San Sebastian looks at Latino. Its Films in Progress section is especially important for buyers and sellers. Locarno and San Sebastian are festivals I like to go to but I don't always attend. I must attend Toronto or Sundance or Cannes to keep up with the trade as well as the films.
Venice is here because Venice is the Dowager Queen of Festivals even though it is not the de facto market Toronto is. If you're there it's because you have a film there and business is done among those who are there. The 67th Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will run 1st to 11th September 2010 at Venice Lido. The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote all the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and tolerance. The Festival includes retrospectives and homages to major figures as a contribution towards raising awareness of the history of cinema. Marco Müller is the Director of the 67th edition. He has been heading the Venice Biennale's Cinema section since 2004. The official line-up of the 67th Festival will be announced during a press conference to be held in Rome at the end of July 2010.
Rome is not here because while it is attempting to become a Festival cum Market and it may prove to be a wish among friends rather than an actual event, but as long as they're paying, its friends will go. And of course, everyone enjoys it very much! It is well programmed and the right people in the business are there. And it's Rome. Maybe next year it will be on this list. We'll see. A look at last year's premieres below gives some idea of the films' progress up to today (Thank you Screen International).
Dir Nicolo Donato
The directorial debut of Danish-Italian film-maker Donato is a love story following the unexpected relationship between two men linked to a radical right-wing group. Brotherhood stars Thure Lindhardt (Flame & Citron) and David Dencik.
Olive and Phase 4 have U.S.
Int’l sales Trust Nordisk, (45) 3686 8788
The Man Who Will Come (L’Uomo Che Verra) (It)
Dir Giorgio Diritti
Diritti’s second film, following The Wind Blows Around, reconstructs life in the Italian village of Marzabotto during the Second World War before an infamous massacre by the Nazis in 1944. The cast is a mix of established talents -Maya Sansa, Alba Rohrwacher -and non-professionals.
Int’l sales Arancia Film, (39) 051 656 9657
Alza La Testa (It)
Dir Alessandro Angelini
Sergio Castellitto stars as a single father who lives his boxing dreams through his son. Director Angelini says the film, shot on the north-eastern tip of Italy, will portray a little-seen view of the country. Angelini’s debut feature, Salty Air (L’Aria Salata), screened in competition at Rome in 2006 and went on to win two prestigious Davide di Donatello awards.
Int’l sales Rai Trade, (39) 06 374 981
Sea Purple (Viola Di Mare) (It)
Dir Donatella Maiorca
Rising Italian actors Valeria Solarino and Isabella Ragonese could extend their international appeal with this love story set on 19th century Sicily about two childhood friends growing up together. Based on a true story, Medusa has Italian distribution rights. Strand has U.S.
Int’l sales Intra Movies, (39) 6 8076157
Christine (Cristina) (It)
Dir Stefania Sandrelli
Christine Christina, the anticipated directorial debut of Italian acting icon Stefania Sandrelli, is the story of medieval poetess Cristina da Pizzano -also known as Christine de Pisan -who uncovers her gift for writing when she is left destitute. The director’s daughter Amanda Sandrelli stars with leading Italian actor Alessio Boni.
Int’l sales Rai Trade, (39) 06 374 981
Just Married (Oggi Sposi) (It)
Dir Luca Lucini
Just Married is a comedy about four couples deciding whether or not to get married. Popular local actors Michele Placido, Isabella Ragonese, Luca Argentero and Carolina Crescentini head the cast.
Int’l sales Cattleya, (39) 06 367 021
The City Of Your Final Destination (UK)
Dir James Ivory
Shot in the Argentinian Pampas region, The City Of Your Final Destination, starring Anthony Hopkins, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laura Linney and Alexandra Maria Lara, is about the attempts of a US academic to convince the heirs of a Uruguayan writer that he is the best person to write the man’s authorised biography.
Screen Media has U.S.
Int’l sales Hyde Park Int’l, (1) 818 783 6060
The Concert (Rom-Fr)
Dir Radu Mihaileanu
From one of the directors of the Romanian New Wave, The Concert follows a celebrated Moscow Bolshoi Orchestra director working as a cleaner after his refusal to fire Jewish musicians in the Communist era.
Bim Distribuzione has Italian rights. The Weinstein Co. has U.S. rights
Int’l sales Wild Bunch (33) 1 53 01 50 20
After this fall flurry of festivals which begin the market and festival circuit for the trade, there is some down time, and then the grueling winter cycle begins: Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin and more if you are up to one more sandwiched between Rotterdam and Berlin. There's a festival in Hungary, one in Iran and one or two others! More on that later. I hope I will hear from readers as to whether this is interesting or not...leave a comment if you like this.