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Mostra Internazionale d Arte Cinematografica Venice

Biennale Cinema: main features of the 77th Venice Film Festival

The 77th Venice International Film Festival will run from September 2 to 12, 2020.

#VeniceProductionBridge#BiennaleCinema2020 Photo Gallery with 450 ambiance pictures English I French


Panel on the Biennale College Cinema: New Horizons, from the Real to the Virtual

: “This panel marks the 7th year in which a group of critics has been able to meet to discuss the project”

PeterCowie: “This panel marks the 7th year in which a group of critics has been able to meet to discuss the #BiennaleCollegeCinema project”  The panel took place at the Lido on Monday September 3rd, 2018, it was be chaired by Peter Cowie, film historian and former International Publishing Director of Variety

The topic: Biennale College Cinema: New Horizons, from the Real to the Virtual 

Moderator’s Introduction


This panel marks the seventh year in which a group of distinguished critics has been able to meet to discuss the Biennale College Cinema project. The Biennale College Cinema scheme is exciting chiefly because it is in essence a workshop – a workshop that places the focus squarely on two essential themes: the making of low-budget films in a period of global recession, and the need to find youthful auteurs if the cinema is to be reinvigorated.  The selection criteria involve the originality of the idea, and also the quest for a new or inventive film language.


The directors and producers of this year's films, from Italy, Hungary, and Turkey, have had to work under severe constraints of time and budget, and yet they have all succeeded in turning in feature films well worth screening at a festival like Venice. The big question remains: can they now enjoy a future on the international stage?  There is always the challenge of securing distribution and exhibition for such movies beyond a coterie of film festivals.


Nineteen films have already been produced during the first six editions of Biennale College Cinema, with the direct support of the Biennale, and sixteen of these were presented in their world premiere screenings at the Venice Film Festival 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, winning many awards and critical acclaim around the world; and the latest three features are being shown this month at the Festival.


As the project forms an established part of the landscape at Venice, and is now closely linked with Venice Production Bridge, we can legitimately ask – where do we go from here, can the program expand, should it be promoted abroad, and so on?  


The Biennale College Virtual Reality program is now in its second year, and  the College, with the support of Sony, has contributed the sum of 60,000 Euros to each of the three projects selected for the competition.  The production teams will participate in the Venice Production Bridge program being held here in Venice during the Mostra. 





Moderator: Peter Cowie

In 1963, Peter Cowie launched the annual International Film Guide, which appeared under his editorship for 40 years.  He has written more than 30 books about film, including biographies of Welles, Bergman, Kurosawa and Coppola.  Among the publications he has written articles for are The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, the London Sunday Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Expressen, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Sight and Sound.  He was International Publishing Director of Variety from 1993 to 2000. Cowie has contributed more than a dozen commentaries for Criterion DVD’s, and in 2017 he served as co-producer on Criterion's award-winning box-set of Olympic films 1912-2012.  He is the author of the new, concise history of the Venice International Film Festival.


David Bordwell

David Bordwell is Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an honorary doctorate from the University of Copenhagen, he has been Chair of Modern Culture at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress. His books include studies of Dreyer, Ozu, Eisenstein, American cinema, and Hong Kong film. His most recent books are The Rhapsodes: How 1940s Critics Changed American Film Culture and Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling. With his wife Kristin Thompson he has written two textbooks, Film Art: An Introduction and Film History: An Introduction. They blog at his website


Glenn Kenny

Glenn Kenny writes on film for and other publications. He also contributes essays and audio commentaries to the Criterion Collection, Arrow Video, and Indicator. He is the author of Anatomy of an Actor: Robert De Niro (Phaedon/Cahiers du Cinema, 2014) and the editor of A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on 25 Years of 'Star Wars' (Henry Holt/Owl Books, 2002).  He blogs and reviews at his website,


Mick LaSalle

Mick LaSalle is primary film critic for The San Francisco Chronicle, and his reviews appear in all the sister newspapers in the Hearst chain.  He is author of two excellent and well-received books on pre-Hays Code Hollywood, as well as a study of French screen actresses entitled The Beauty of the Real. Mick wrote and co-produced the Turner Classic Movies documentary, Complicated Women, based on his book. For several years he taught a film course at the University of California in Berkeley and now teaches film at Stanford University.


Savina Neirotti

Born in Genoa, she graduated in Philosophy and completed the first year of a Master's in Aesthetics at the University of Pennsylvania. She later became Head of the Press and Communication Office of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, where she was also in charge of the Educational Department. In the same years she was among the co-founders of Scuola Holden, a school for storytellers in Torino together with Alessandro Baricco. She became Scuola Holden’s CEO since March 2018. Since 2005 she has conceived and been in charge of Script&Pitch Workshops and TorinoFilmLab. She has headed the Biennale College Cinema program since its inception in 2012, and the Biennale College Cinema Virtual Reality since 2017. She is Content Curator for the Venice Production Bridge.


Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips is the film critic for the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on the Chicago Public Radio program "Filmspotting," and has written and hosted "The Film Score," musical specials devoted to great music of the screen, on WFMT-FM and In recent years he presented more than 100 films as guest host of Turner Classic Movies. For 30 years he has written about film, theater, arts and culture as a staff critic for the Los Angeles Times; the San Diego Union-Tribune; the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and the Dallas Times-Herald. He began his career as arts editor of the Twin Cities weekly, City Pages. Orson Welles's foster father once asked his grandmother out on a date, but that's another story.


Chris Vognar

He is Culture Critic for the Dallas Morning News, where he was worked since 1996. His assignments have included the Oscars, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.  Chris was the 2009 Nieman Arts and Culture Fellow at Harvard University, where he focused on connections between African-American literature and pop culture. Chris co-hosts the Big Screen show on the NPR affiliate KERA. He is a contributor to Transition, Harvard’s quarterly publication covering African and African-American culture, and will be featured in Bloomsbury’s upcoming Cultural History of Comedy.  He has taught journalism at Harvard Summer School, film history at the University of Texas at Arlington and arts journalism at Southern Methodist University. He earned his B.A in English from UC Berkeley.



Stephanie Zacharek

Stephanie Zacharek is the film critic for Time magazine. She was previously chief film critic for the Village Voice and, and her writing on books and pop culture has also appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, and Sight and Sound. She is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. She was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in criticism.



Also attending the panel: the directors or producers of the 3 feature films presented by Biennale College Cinema this year:


ZEN SUL GHIACCIO SOTTILE (ZEN IN THE ICE RIFT), Italy, directed by Margherita Ferri, produced by Chiara Galloni

Maia, called “Zen”, a rowdy yet solitary 16-year-old tomboy lives in a small village on top of the rough and beautiful Italian Apennines. She’s the only girl of the local ice hockey team and she is constantly bullied by her teammates for her masculine attitude. When Vanessa, the beautiful and dazed girlfriend of the team captain, runs away from home and hides in Maia's family lodge, Maia feels free to open up for the first time. Led by the need to break away from the roles that the small community forced them to play, Maia and Vanessa embark on a journey of self-discovery, exploring their inner desires and trying to understand their identity.


Margherita Ferri (1984) attended the UCLA – School of Film and TV and the Directing Program at Centro Sperimentale – National School of Cinema in Rome, where she wrote and directed both narrative and documentary short films later screened in many international film festivals. From 2013, she worked as writer and director of TV docu-series, in Italy and abroad. In 2014, she was awarded with a Special Mention at Premio Solinas for the story Gattabuia and Premio Tonino Guerra for the script of The Hold. The same year, she co-created and directed the successful web-series STATUS, supported by Milano Film Festival, and in 2017 she directed the award winning short documentary I hate pink!. Zen sul ghiaccio sottile is her first-feature film.

Chiara Galloni graduated in Communication Science and in Economics of Culture at Bologna University. She is the founder of Articolture, an independent production company dealing with cultural and audiovisual projects. Over the years, she has developed a wide set of managerial skills in coordination, organization and communication. In movie production, she is committed to innovative development and “impact producing” strategies, already successfully tested in The Asteroids, a first feature film by Germano Maccioni (the only Italian film at the Locarno Festival in 2017, official selection) and A casa mia by Mario Piredda, which won a David di Donatello 2017 as Best Short.




DEVA, Hungary, directed by Petra Szőcs, produced by Péter Fülöp

In the small Romanian town of Deva, Kato, a teenage girl living in an orphanage is electrocuted while drying her hair. This apparently banal event will completely turn things upside down around her. The orphanage is invaded by electricians, and a new volunteer, Bogi, is hired to help to restore order. Kato will become infatuated by her to the point of reconsidering the way she views her world.  In the words of the director, “Deva is a film about the transitional state between childhood and young adulthood and the ambiguity of this age, but also about the transitional character of the relationship between an orphan and a guardian.”


Petra Szőcs, born in 1981 in Cluj, is a Hungarian filmmaker and poet. Her short films have participated in the official selection of festivals including Cannes, Sarajevo, and Clermont-Ferrand. She has published two books of poems, one in Hungarian and one in German.

Péter Fülöp (born 1980, Hungary) has been working in film production for fifteen years. He worked as location manager in such movies like World War Z, and Die Hard 5. In the past four years, he has made two domestic and two European co-production features as production manager. He has more than 50 commercials and a dozen shorts to his credit. With his own production company, he has produced four shorts, one animated film, and a documentary series.



YUVA, Turkey, directed by Emre Yeksan,

produced by Anna Maria Aslanoğlu

Yuva tells the story of two brothers. The first one is Veysel. He lives in the forest, alone. Away from civilization. He is almost part of the forest, a human animal. The second one is Hasan, he comes from the city to take Veysel back with him because the area where he lives, Veysel’s home, is confiscated, patrolled by strange armed men, and the brothers must evacuate this land. As the imminent threat of eviction rapidly grows, the belated confrontation of the two brothers leads to the discovery of a magical home: a universe beneath the earth.

Emre Yeksan, born in Izmir, in 1981. Obtained his BA and MA in Film Studies from Mimar Sinan University and the University of Paris – La Sorbonne. He worked as producer in Paris. He moved to Istanbul in 2008 where he has also worked as producer and developed his own films. His first feature film as director Körfez [The Gulf] premiered in the Venice Festival International Critics’ Week (2017) and is currently has touring the festival circuit.


Anna Maria Aslanoğlu, born 1984 in Istanbul. After receiving her BA in Politics, MA in History, she worked as an assistant director and production manager on various short and feature films. She’s among the founders of “istos publishing&film”. She has produced The Gulf by Emre Yeksan (premiered in Venice, at the International Critics' Week, 2017) and Tuesday (a short film, by Ziya Demirel, screened in the official selection at Cannes); but also Zuhal by Nazlı E. Durlu, Idle Moments by M. Cem Öztüfekçi and Ela, and Hilmi by Ziya Demirel are all in development. She is a member of the EAVE network.


Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality


BCC-VR has selected nine director and producer teams to work on the development of VR projects up to 30 minutes duration, at concept stage, helping them to advance their projects covering creative, production, audience/market and financial concerns.

The program has since financially supported the production of three (out of the nine) VR projects with € 60,000 each, to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in early September 2018. The other developed projects are being presented at the Venice Production Bridge as part of the “Gap Financing Market” activities.

The Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality program is realized with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA and in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab.

The films have been funded by a grant from La Biennale di Venezia, with the support of Sony.


METRO VEINTE: CITA CIEGA (Argentina) – María Belén Poncio (director), Ezequiel Lenardon, Damian Turkieh, Martin Lopez Funes, Guillermo Mena, Gonzalo Sierra (producers)
The journey of Dizzy, an 18 year-old girl bound to a wheelchair, to experience her sexuality.


ELEGY (France) – Marc Guidoni (director), Kominintern (producer) 
Elegy is a live-action drama 25 mins in length. A lost soul wanders, trapped in the elevator of a luxury hotel, trying desperately to find a way to free itself.


IN THE CAVE (Italy) – Ivan Gergolet (director), Igor Prinčič, David Cej, Antonio Giacomin (producers)
In a cave full of beauty and mystery, nothing is what it seems. Exploring its wonders and looking for a way out of the dark, the viewer will be at the center of an allegorical journey in search of life and rebirth.


SELYATAĞI (FLOODPLAIN) (Turkey) – Deniz Tortum (director), Anna Maria Aslanoğlu, Fırat Sezgin (producers)

(inspired by the Biennale College - Cinema feature film YUVA, by Emre Yeksan)


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About Mostra Internazionale d Arte Cinematografica Venice

Oldest festival in the world, MOSTRA is Non-specialised competitive event for features and shorts. Two competing sections and three Prizes: the Golden Lion, the Lion of the Year and the Lion of the Future to best director`s debut film.



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