Venice Film Festival

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Mostra d'Arte Cinematografica
Exhibition of Cinematographic Art
Venice Film Festival logo.svg
66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) Palais du Cinema.jpg
Venice Cinema Palace, the main venue on the Lido island
Location Venice, Italy
Founded 1932
Awards Golden Lion, Silver Lion
No. of films 100 in 2015

The Venice Film Festival or Venice International Film Festival (Italian: Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, "International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art of the Venice Biennale") is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the "Big Three" film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival.[1][2]

Established in Venice, Italy, in 1932, the film festival is part of the Venice Biennale, which was founded by the Venetian City Council in 1895. Today, the Biennale includes a range of separate events including: the International Art Exhibition; the International Festival of Contemporary Music; the International Theatre Festival; the International Architecture Exhibition; the International Festival of Contemporary Dance; the International Kids' Carnival; and the annual Venice Film Festival, which is arguably the best-known of all the events.

The film festival has since taken place in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi and in other venues nearby. Since its inception the Venice Film Festival has grown into one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

The 75th Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 29 August to 8 September 2018.[3]


The beginning[edit]

The first edition of the Venice Film Festival was carried out from the 6 to the 21 of August in 1932.

The festival began with an idea of the president of the Venice Biennale Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata and Luciano De Feo, who was the very first director-selector. With good reason, the festival was considered the first international event of its type, receiving strong support from authorities. This first edition was held on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior on the Venice Lido, and at that stage it was not a competitive event. The very first film to be shown in the history of the Festival was Rouben Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that was screened at 9:15 p.m. on 6 August 1932.

The second edition was held two years later, from 1 to 20 of August in 1934. For the first time it included a competition. At least 19 countries took part with over 300 accredited journalists. The "Mussolini Cup" was introduced for best foreign film and best Italian film; however there was no actual jury. Instead, the awards were assigned by the President of the Biennale, after listening to the opinions of both experts and audiences, and in accordance with the "National Institute for Educational Cinema". Other awards were the "Great Gold Medals of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment" to best actor and actress. The prize for best foreign film went to Robert J. Flaherty's Man of Aran and was a confirmation of the taste of the time for auteur documentaries.[4]

Starting in 1935, the Festival became a yearly event under the direction of Ottavio Croze. The actors' award was renamed "Volpi Cup". In 1936 an international jury was nominated for the first time and in 1937 the new Cinema Palace, designed by the architect Luigi Quagliata, was inaugurated.[4]


[citation needed]

The Doge's Palace in Piazza San Marco hosted the 1947 edition.

The 1940s represent one of the most difficult moments for the review.

The conclusion of the Second World War divides the decade in two. Before 1938 political pressures distorted and ruined the festival. With the advent of the conflict the situation degenerated to such a point that the editions of 1940, 1941 and 1942, subsequently are considered as if they did not happen because they were carried out in places far away from Lido. In addition, few countries participated and there was an absolute monopoly of institutions and directors that were members of the Rome-Berlin Axis. Nazi propaganda movie Heimkehr was presented in 1941 winning an award from the Italian Ministry for Culture.

The festival resumed full speed in 1946, after the war. For the first time, the 1946 edition was held in the month of September, in accordance to an agreement with the newly-born Cannes Film Festival, which had just held its first review in the spring of that year. With the return of normalcy, Venice once again became a great icon of the film world.

In 1947 the festival was held at the Doge's Palace, a most magnificent backdrop for hosting a record 90 thousand participants.The 1947 festival is widely considered one of the most successful editions in the history of the festival.

Development and closure[edit]

For the next twenty years the festival continued its development and expansion in accordance with the artistic plan set in motion after the war.

In 1963 the winds of change blow strongly during Luigi Chiarini’s directorship of the festival. During the years of his presidency, Chiarini aspired to renew the spirit and the structures of the festival, pushing for a total reorganization of the entire system. For six years the festival followed a consistent path, according to the rigid criteria put in place for the selection of works in competition, and took a firm stand against the political pressures and interference of more and more demanding movie studios, preferring the artistic quality of films to the growing commercialization of the film industry.

The social and political unrest of 1968 had strong repercussions on the Venice Bienniale. From 1969 to 1979 no prizes were awarded and the festival returned to the non-competitiveness of the first edition. In 1973, 1977 and 1978, the festival was not even held. The Golden Lion didn't make its return until 1980.

The rebirth[edit]

Year Director
1979-1983 Carlo Lizzani
1983-1987 Gian Luigi Rondi
1987-1992 Guglielmo Biraghi
1992-1996 Gillo Pontecorvo
1996-1999 Felice Laudadio
1999-2002 Alberto Barbera
2002-2004 Moritz de Hadeln
2004-2011 Marco Müller
2011- Alberto Barbera

The long-awaited rebirth came in 1979, thanks to the new director Carlo Lizzani, who decided to restore the image and value the festival had lost over the last decade. The 1979 edition laid the foundation for the restoration of international prestige. In an attempt to create a more modern image of the festival, the neo-director created a committee of experts to assist in selecting the works and to increase the diversity of submissions to the festival.


The President of the Venice Biennale represents the Festival in front of its financial partner, the public authorities and the media, is chosen by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Paolo Baratta has been the President of the Venice Biennale since 2008.

The Director is responsible for the coordination of the events and is chosen by the President of the Venice Biennale and its delegates.


The Film Festival's current awards are:

Official selection: In competition[edit]

  • Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro), awarded to the best film screened in competition at the festival
See list of winners at Golden Lion
  • Silver Lion (Leone d'Argento), awarded to the best director in the competitive section
See list of winners at Silver Lion
  • Grand Jury Prize
See list of winners at Grand Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
  • Volpi Cup (Coppa Volpi), awarded to the best actor/actress
  • Special Jury Prize, awarded to one or two films
See list of winners at Special Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
  • Golden Osella, awarded to the Best Technical Contribution (to cinematographers, composers, etc.) and for the Best Screenplay.
See list of winners at Golden Osella
  • There are other awards that also recognize acting performances:
    • Marcello Mastroianni Award, instituted in 1998 in honor of the great Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni who died in 1996. The award was created to acknowledge an emerging actor or actress[5]
    • Special Lion, awarded for an overall work to a director or actor of a film presented in the main competition section.

Orizzonti section (Horizons)[edit]

This section is open to all "custom-format" works, with a wider view towards new trends in the expressive languages that converge in film.

Starting from the 67th edition of the festival, four awards of the Orizzonti section have been established:[6]

  • The Orizzonti Award for Feature Films
  • The Special Orizzonti Jury Prize (for feature films)
  • The Orizzonti Award for Short Film
  • The Orizzonti Award for Medium-length Film

Jaeger-LeCoultre partnership[edit]

Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, organized in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre since 2006. It is dedicated to personalities who have made a significant contribution to contemporary cinema.[7]

This is the list of winners:

Year Director Nationality
2006 Kitano Takeshi Japan
2007 Abbas Kiarostami Iran
2008 Agnès Varda France
2009 Sylvester Stallone United States
2010 Mani Ratnam India
2011 Al Pacino United States
2012 Spike Lee United States
2013 Ettore Scola Italy
2014 John Ford United States
2015 Brian De Palma United States
2016 Amir Naderi Iran
2017 Stephen Frears United Kingdom

collateral awards[edit]

  • SIGNIS Prize]] - former OCIC Prize, awarded to the film screened in competition at the festival which corresponds to the values expressed in the Gospel : this international catholic jury awards films which are based on values of peace, justice and reconciliation, respecting human dignity and human rights; presenting solidarity with the voiceless in giving them a voice, disadvantaged and oppressed people, respecting creation and the environment, fostering spirituality and dialogue between cultures and religions. This catholic world association for communication was founded as OCIC, the International Catholic Office for cinema in 1928. It is recognized by the Vatican – as the only international catholic organization to give international awards in international events and it is also recognized as the only international catholic media association at UNESCO. In 1948 its first jury (jury OCIC) was invited to give its Prize. It was the first parallel international jury to give a Prize at the festival.

This is the list of winners - from 1948 to 2001 called OCIC Prizes and from 2002 to today called SIGNIS Prizes. In this list the commendations are not mentioned.

Year Title Nationality Director
1948 The Fugitive United States John Ford
1949 Cielo sulla palude Italy Augusto Genina
1950 Dieu a besoin des hommes France Jean Delannoy
1951 Journal d'un curé de campagne France Robert Bresson
1952 The Quiet Man United States John Ford
1953 La Guerra de Dios Spain Rafael Gil
1954 On the Waterfront United States Elia Kazan
1955 Amici per la pelle Italy Franco Rossi
1956 Calabuch United States Luis Garcia Berlanga
1957 A Hatful of Rain United States Fred Zinnemann
1958 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1959 Il Generale della Rovere Italy Roberto Rossellini
1960 Le Voyage en Ballon France Albert Lamorisse
1961 Il Posto Italy Ermanno Olmi
1962 Term of Trial United Kingdom Peter Glenville
1963 Hud United States Martin Ritt
1964 Il Vangelo secondo Matteo Italy Pier Paolo Pasolini
1965 Akahige Japan Akira Kurosawa
1966 Au hasard Balthazar France Robert Bresson
1967 O Salto France Christian de Chalonge
1968 Teorema Italy Pier Paolo Pasolini
1969 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1970 no prize given no prize given no prize give
1971 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1972 Die Verweigerung Austria Axel Corti
1973 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1974 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1975 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1976 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1977 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1978 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1979 no prize given no prize given no prize given
1980 Voltati Eugenio Italy Luigi Comencini
1981 Die Bleiere Zeit Germany Margarethe von Trotta
1982 Die Funf letzte Tage Germany Percy Adlon
1983 Rue Cases Nègres Martinique Euzhan Palcy
1984 Les favoris de la lune France Otar Iosseliani
1985 Sans toit, ni loi France Agnes Varda
1986 Le Rayon vert France Eric Rohmer
1987 Au revoir les enfants France Louis Malle
1988 Topio Stin Omihli Greece Theo Angelopoulos
1989 Che Ora è? Italy Ettore Scola
1990 An Angel at my table New Zealand Jane Campion
1991 Urga Soviet Union Nikita Michalkov
1992 Orlando United Kingdom Sally Potter
1993 Trois couleurs : Bleu Poland Krzysztof Kieslowski
1994 Lamerica Italy Gianni Amelio
1995 La settima stanza Italy Marta Meszaros
1996 Ponette France Jacques Doillon
1997 The Winter Guest United Kingdom Alan Rickman
1998 L'Albero delle pere Italy Francesca Archibugi
1999 Jesus'son United States Alison Maclean
2000 Liam United Kingdom Stephen Frears
2001 Raye Makhfi Iran Babak Payami
2002 Oasis Korea Lee Chang-Dong
2003 Vozvrascenje Russia Andrej Zvagintsev
2003 O filme Falado Portugal Manoel De Oliveira
2004 Tout un hiver sans feu Switzerland Greg Zglinski
2005 Mary United States Abel Ferrara
2006 Nuovomondo Italy Emmanuel Crialese
2007 In the Valley of Ellah Canada Paul Haggis
2008 Hurt Locker United States Kathryn Bigelow
2009 Lourdes Austria Jessica Hausner
2010 Meek's Cutoff United states Kelly Reichardt
2011 Faust Russia Aleksandr Sokurov
2012 To the Wonder United States Terrence Malick
2013 Philomena United Kingdom Stephen Frears
2014 Loin des hommes France David Oelhoffen
2015 Behemoth China Liang Zhao
2016 Piuma Italy Roan Johnson
2017 La Villa / The House by the Sea France Robert Guédiguian

Past awards[edit]

Mussolini Cup (Coppa Mussolini)[edit]

The Mussolini Cup was the top award from 1934 to 1942 for Best Italian and Best Foreign Film. Named after Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini, it was abandoned upon his ouster in 1943.[4][8]

Mussolini Cup for Best Italian Film[edit]

Year English title Original title Director(s)
1934 Loyalty of Love Teresa Confalonieri Guido Brignone
1935 Casta Diva Casta diva Carmine Gallone
1936 The White Squadron Lo squadrone bianco Augusto Genina
1937 Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal Scipione l'africano Carmine Gallone
1938 Luciano Serra, Pilot Luciano Serra pilota Goffredo Alessandrini
1939 Cardinal Messias Abuna Messias Goffredo Alessandrini
1940 The Siege of the Alcazar L'assedio dell'Alcazar Augusto Genina
1941 The Iron Crown La corona di ferro Alessandro Blasetti
1942 Bengasi Bengasi Augusto Genina

Great Gold Medals of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment[edit]

"Le Grandi Medaglie d’Oro dell’Associazione Nazionale Fascista dello Spettacolo" in Italian.

This was awarded to Best Actor and Best Actress. It was later replaced by the Volpi Cup for actors and actresses.[4]

The first time this prize was awarded to Katharine Hepburn for her role in Little Women by George Cukor.[4]

Audience Referendum[edit]

In the first edition of the festival in 1932, due to the lack of a jury and the awarding of official prizes, a list of acknowledgements was decided by popular vote, a tally determined by the number of people flocking to the films, and announced by the Organizing Committee. From this, the Best Director was declared – Russian Nikolai Ekk for the film Road to Life, while the film by René Clair À Nous la Liberté was voted Best Film.

Award for Best Director[edit]

Year Director(s) Title Original title
1935 King Vidor The Wedding Night
1936 Jacques Feyder Carnival in Flanders La Kermesse Héroique
1937 Robert J. Flaherty and Zoltan Korda Elephant Boy
1938 Carl Froelich Magda Heimat

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°24′22″N 12°22′02″E / 45.405975°N 12.367290°E / 45.405975; 12.367290