Meryl Streep

VENICE IS ON, FOR NOW: A day after the Cannes Film Festival announced a review of this year’s format, organizers of the Venice Film Festival said for the time being, the event is scheduled to run Sept. 2 to 12. With a caveat.

A spokesperson told WWD that a final decision will be delivered at the end of May. “We must use common sense. The situation is dramatic and we are monitoring it, but no other decision has been taken. Whatever we say now could be refuted the next day. There can be no clarity now and the dates are still far away.”

Italy has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, reporting 21,645 deaths and 165,155 infected patients as of April 15. The country has been in lockdown since March 9 and the government is expected to gradually lift it on May 4.

The government is still evaluating how to provide safety in cinemas, theaters and stadiums, with speculation mounting that they may not reopen by the end of the year, or that only a limited number of guests will be able to enter in different time slots.  

A digital-only festival in Venice is excluded, the spokesperson underscored. “Technology can help on small initiatives, but it can’t replace the festival.”

Director Alberto Barbera is “receiving and viewing films at the same pace as past years,” said the spokesperson, adding that, while movie production has been halted for two months by the pandemic, films intended for Venice have long been completed, or they would not make it in time for the festival.

As reported, the Cannes Film Festival was scheduled to take place from May 12 to 23, with U.S. director Spike Lee heading the jury. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, organizers initially proposed moving the event to late June and early July instead. That option has fallen through after French President Emmanuel Macron said France would begin lifting confinement measures on May 11, but continue to ban large public gatherings until mid-July.

The opening of Venice’s international Architecture Biennale was moved from May 23 to Aug. 29. It will run until Nov. 29.

The Venice Film Festival is not only a marquee event for the movie industry, but offers prime business, marketing and communication opportunities for different sectors. For example, Armani Beauty last year was the main sponsor of the event, running Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, becoming the official makeup provider for all the guests walking the red carpet.

With the backdrop of the Grand Canal and a host of A-list celebrities in attendance, the festival arguably produces some of the most glamorous red-carpet looks. Last year, it drew the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Penélope Cruz, Jude Law and Brad Pitt, among others, to debut some of last fall’s most highly anticipated films and TV shows, including “Joker,” “The King” and “The Young Pope.”

Last year, at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Iman received the Franca Sozzani Award from the hands of Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.

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