The Venice Film Festival's new artistic director Alberto Barbera has announced that France’s Pascal Diot will head the new Venice Film Market. Pascal has been a producer and an international sales agent and distributor. He is well known and very well respected, even loved, by the industry as is Alberto Barbera. The Film Market will take place durng the first few days of the Festival which begins August 29 and runs through September 8.
Aside from the festival films, sales companies will offer other films as well in order to entice the number of buyers who attend. There will also be a Digital Video Library to show the films not selected for the festival, a Business Center and an Industry Club. Conferences, panel discussions, networking events will be held and a special catering servie will offer (yummy) Venetian fare. There will also be a new specific catering service with the Lido’s premises offering the appropriate facilities. The probelm with Venice, aside from its back to back timing with TIFF, is that facilities on the Lido are very expensive.
While North Americans will attend Toronto which begins September 6, the first Thursday of the month and shows many of the same films as Venice. It will be interesting to see what trade attendance figures will be in Venice and if it will impace Rome which unrolls the following month.
The irony is not lost on the industry watching these developments, that this event, long desired by former festival director Marco Mueller, has finally arrived just as the International Film Festival of Rome has announced Marco's accession to position of its director along with an expanded market component as well. The seventh edition will be held October 18-26. Last year 820 partipants from 49 countries screened 140 films. There were 280 buyers and 93 sellers.
To cap up this busy fall, Moscow (the Film Festival is held in June) has announced October 15 to 20 as the dates for its Red Square Screenings. Russia’s main film-financing agency, the federal fund for social and economic support to the film industry, is launching Red Square Screenings. The head of the Cinema Fund, Yelena Romanova, who also installed modern booths for international sales agents from Russia at this year's EFM, said she developed the concept of Red Square Screenings from the models of Unifrance's annual screenings of French films and Ventana Sur. It will be organized by the initiative group RAC (Russians Are Coming!) and headed by producer Yevgeny Gindilis, known for running the CentEast international event, held in Warsaw every fall. 40 to 50 films from Russia and neighboring countries such as Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be screening in competed format and as works in progress. The idea is good, the big question is, who will have the energy to attend yet another market? And if the films are sales worthy won't they already have screened in either Venice, Toronto or Rome?