I’ll be in Venice for the Venice Film Festival again this year but don’t forget; you don’t have to travel to Italy to see some of the films. Films from the Orrizante (Horizons) section will be available to a virtual audience in a virtual theater with a capacity of 500 virtual seats. That’s why, though the actual ticket sale date hasn’t been announced, we’ll all need to watch around mid-August for it; I’ll keep my eyes open and you should too.
The Venice International Film Festival announced that its web theatre, known as Sala Web, will once again make some of the festival’s most groundbreaking programming available to international audiences without them ever having to leave their homes. Following the successful launch of the initiative last year, the festival intends to increase the reach of Sala Web for this year’s 70th anniversary addition. Sala Web was conceived as an additional theater to complement and coexist with the traditional theaters on the Lido, allowing cinema enthusiasts from around the world to discover the festival’s selection online and in real time.
Sala Web’s program this year is centered on a selection of feature films from the Orizzonti (Horizons) section. The films and auteurs selected in Orizzonti represent the most innovative aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema, showcasing the work of both young and well-established directors. Last year’s Orizzonti selection included several festival titles that went on to become favorites with audiences, critics and distributors – including among others WADJDA by Haifaa Al-Mansour, THE INTERVAL by Leonardo Di Costanzo, A HIJACKING by Tobias Lindholm and THREE SISTERS by Wang Bing. The full line-up of Orizzonti films screening via Sala Web will be announced after the VFF Press Conference, scheduled for July 25th in Rome.
By making films in its official selection available online on the same day as their World Premieres, Sala Web is part of the festival’s effort to combine the strengths of the Internet with the artistic and curatorial expertise of one of the world’s major film festivals. Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, commented on the importance of increasing the impact of the festival experience and taking advantage of the Internet to do so: “At this time when technologies and digital are altering the landscape of cinema in ever more new ways, it is especially important to continue to explore and invest in these possibilities. Our Sala Web is an opportunity for selected films and directors to gain additional exposure beyond the Lido, while also providing these filmmakers with a controlled way to test the waters of the international market. This not only expands the reach of film festivals, but also establishes new kinds of direct connections between films and audiences worldwide.”
Each participating film receives only one day-and-date screening corresponding to the date of its world premiere in Venice. Online screenings for each film will be available within 24 hours starting at 9pm (Italian time) on the day of the film’s official presentation on the Lido. The festival has also emphasized the importance of making Sala Web accessible to everyone with a modest ticket price of 4.20 Euros per screening and all films screening with English subtitles. The number of virtual seats available for each online premiere is limited to 500. Starting in mid-August, users will be able to register on the Biennale website (www.labiennale.org) to access the box office and purchase individual tickets in the form of secure links to high quality online screenings provided by Festival Scope.
Festival Scope is the online platform normally reserved exclusively for film professionals. Festival Scope has partnered with the most prominent film festivals worldwide to bring the artistic discoveries, experience and business opportunities of the international festival circuit online.
The Venice International Film Festival runs from August 28th to September 7th.