The Venice Film Festival is kicking off the fall cinema season with searing drama, serious glamour and a crop of new movies vying for attention, awards and acclaim.
The world’s oldest cinema festival has become a key showcase, just ahead of its rivals in Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian, Telluride and Sundance.
Thanks to its late-summer time slot with films hoping to dominate Hollywood’s awards season.
In recent years, Venice has been a launch-pad for Oscar winners including “Gravity,” ”Birdman,” ”Spotlight” and “La La Land.” This year’s edition opened with “Downsizing,” a science fiction-tinged drama starring Matt Damon as a man who hopes to minimize his problems by shrinking himself.
Other films competing for the Golden Lion, include the George Clooney-directed heist movie “Suburbicon“; Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical “The Shape of Water;” Darren Aronofsky’s secrecy-shrouded thriller “Mother!” and Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Missouri.”
Technology and economics are transforming the film industry and festivals like Venice are working hard to keep up. One change this year is the festival’s first virtual reality competition, featuring 22 films judged by a jury led by director John Landis.
With the way films are funded, made, distributed and watched all in flux, the taste-maker role played by festivals like Venice makes them more powerful than ever.
Advances in technology have made possible to film twice as fast and at half the cost of a movie made just ten years ago.
That’s the upside of the enormous freedom film makers have been given by technology in film.
The downside is thousands of films are getting made now that no one wants to see.
Festivals are the new gatekeepers. We need these festival structures to process this tsunami of product.
Let’s hope we will enjoy Venice Festival forever…