cloudy.png
Friday September 25th, 2020 4:43PM

Venice Fest closes amid cheers for daring to open amid virus

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

VENICE, Italy (AP) — The Venice Film Festival is wrapping up the first in-person COVID-era international cinema showcase, with critics, filmmakers and actors cheering organizers for having dared to hold the festival amid a pandemic and for demonstrating how to go to the movies again safely.

The festival's coveted Golden Lion awards were being handed out Saturday night before a masked audience conspicuously lacking in Hollywood star power, given that coronavirus travel restrictions kept all but a few American productions away.

Eighteen films were vying for the top awards in the main competition, including a record eight directed by women. Cate Blanchett headed the main jury.

That the 10-day festival took place at all was something of a miracle, given that northern Italy in late February became ground zero for Europe's coronavivrus outbreak. The Cannes Film Festival was canceled and other big international festivals in Toronto and New York opted to go mostly online.

But after Italy managed to tame its infections with a strict 10-week lockdown, Venice decided to go ahead, albeit under safety protocols that would have previously been unthinkable for a festival that has prided itself on spectacular visuals and glamorous clientele.

Face masks were required indoors and out. Reservations for both the public and critics were required in advance, with theater capacity set at less than half. The public was barred from the red carpet and paparazzi, who would normally chase after stars in rented boats as they arrived on the Lido aboard water taxis, were given socially distanced positions on land.

While it’s too soon to say if the measures worked, there were no immediate reports of infections among festival-goers and compliance with mask mandates and social distancing appeared to be high.

“We were a little bit worried at the beginning, of course,” said festival director Alberto Barbera. “We knew that we had a very strict plan of safety measures and we were pretty sure about that, but you never know.”

Hong Kong director Ann Hui almost didn’t make it after she couldn’t get on her flight because of virus border restrictions. In the end, she arrived to collect her Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award and to see her out-of-competition film “Love After Love" make its world premiere.

Others opted to participate via video conference, including Frances McDormand and director Chloe Zhao, who premiered the in-competition film “Nomadland" about a recession-era road trip across the American West. The film is screening at all the major fall film festivals in a pandemic-forged alliance involving the Venice, Toronto, New York and Telluride festivals.

Movie lovers applauded Venice's effort and the symbolic significance of the world’s oldest film festival charting the path forward.

“It’s a moment of rebirth for everyone, for the whole world,” said Emma Dante, the Italian director of the in-competition film “The Macaluso Sisters.” “This festival is really an important moment of encounter, of beginning to dream again and be together again, even with the norms and following all the safety protocols.”

Film writer Emma Jones said aside from “a few teething problems” with the online reservation system, the festival went off better than she expected.

“It feels safe in there, it feels socially distanced,” she said of the venues. “Everyone is wearing their masks.”

Jones noted that the lineup of films lacked the usual Hollywood blockbusters — think “La La Land,” and “The Shape of Water” — that have used Venice as a springboard to Oscar fame. While the festival featured films from Iran, India, Australia and beyond, it was heavily European.

“This is a COVID festival. There’s no use pretending anything else,” Jones said.

But she added: “It would feel really off-note, I think, to have had a red carpet with screaming fans and celebrities walking down it and people talking about who wore what. Twenty-twenty is not the year for those kind of discussions.”

Instead, she said, Venice focused on the integrity of the films and the diversity of the countries represented.

“We were lucky to receive a lot of submissions from all over the world, and apart from a few missing titles from the Hollywood major film studios, most of the countries are represented in Venice and the quality of the lineup is really very high,” said festival director Barbera.

___

Winfield reported from Rome.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Venice Fest closes amid cheers for daring to open amid virus
The Venice Film Festival is wrapping up the first COVID-era international cinema showcase with critics, filmmakers and actors alike cheering organizers for having dared to hold the festival amid a pandemic
4:08AM ( 4 minutes ago )
Thousands still homeless after Greek refugee camp fire
Thousands of asylum-seekers spent a fourth night sleeping in the open on the Greek island of Lesbos, after successive fires destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp during a coronavirus lockdown
3:40AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Antarctica is still free of COVID-19. Can it stay that way?
Antarctica remains the only continent without COVID-19
2:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UN assembly approves pandemic resolution; US, Israel object
The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urges countries to oppose unilateral economic, financial or trade sanctions
12:17AM ( 3 hours ago )
Greece seeks shelter for thousands after refugee camp fire
Authorities are striving to find shelter for thousands of refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos after fires destroyed the squalid and overcrowded Moria camp that for years symbolized Europe’s biggest migration policy failings
3:52PM ( 12 hours ago )
Belarusian leader set to visit Russia as protests continue
Belarusian authorities have detained scores of demonstrators while seeking to end more than a month of protests against the country’s authoritarian president, who is set to visit Russia to help shore up his hold on power after 26 years in office
3:21PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP World News
Combat vet killed by Texas deputy buried in Alabama on 9/11
An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was shot to death by police in Texas is being buried in his home state of Alabama on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks
11:26PM ( 4 hours ago )
Ex-World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey dies at 75
John Fahey, a former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a key figure in getting the 2000 Summer Olympics for Sydney, has died
10:54PM ( 5 hours ago )
Autopsy report: Naya Rivera called for help as she drowned
An autopsy report says “Glee” actor Naya Rivera raised her arm and called for help as she accidentally drowned while boating with her 4-year-old son on a California lake
8:07PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Academy Museum details plan for inaugural Miyazaki exhibit
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is finally opening its doors in Los Angeles in April with an exhibit celebrating the works of the legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki
5:13PM ( 1 day ago )
Hollywood's inclusion problems still run deep, study finds
As Hollywood searches for a response to the reckoning brought on by the death of George Floyd and the Academy Awards move to make Oscar nominees more inclusive, a new study captures how the film industry has improved in diversity and how it still lags
12:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Oscars diversity criteria 'not about exclusion' say leaders
The new Oscars best picture inclusion standards became a trending topic on social media as soon as they were announced Tuesday night
5:17PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Movies News
2 ex-child welfare workers face charges in slain boy case
Two former Illinois child welfare workers who investigated abuse allegations involving a 5-year-old boy allegedly killed months later by his parents face child endangerment charges
2:46PM ( 13 hours ago )
Bahrain to recognize Israel as UAE deal set to be signed
Bahrain is the latest Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East
1:04PM ( 15 hours ago )
5 Things to Know for Today
Here are a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
5:35AM ( 22 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Thousands still homeless after Greek refugee camp fire
Thousands of asylum-seekers spent a fourth night sleeping in the open on the Greek island of Lesbos, after successive fires destroyed the notoriously overcrowded Moria camp during a coronavirus lockdown
3:40AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Antarctica is still free of COVID-19. Can it stay that way?
Antarctica remains the only continent without COVID-19
2:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
Crews battling California fires head to devastated areas
Smoke from massive wildfires that painted skies throughout California orange is helping crews struggling to surround the deadliest blaze of the year
2:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
Warring Afghans meet to find peace after decades of war
Afghanistan's warring sides will start long anticipated negotiations to end decades of war and provide an exit for U.S. troops
1:30AM ( 2 hours ago )
Asia Today: India's cases cross 4.6M after record surge
India’s confirmed coronavirus tally has crossed 4.6 million after a record surge of 97,570 new cases in 24 hours
1:11AM ( 3 hours ago )