The Venice International Film Festival comes first on the fall calendar, so its August 27 opening night world premiere, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” beats out the trifecta of Labor Day weekend Telluride, followed swiftly by Toronto and then on September 26, New York. (“Birdman” is expected to go on to play Telluride and Toronto and closes New York.)
But the contingent of media in Venice is more European, with a strong cadre of English writers from the UK and fewer from North America. Thus Telluride, which overlaps Venice, has more impact on the awards season. Word is, that like Toronto, Venice director Alberto Barbera has become more aggressive about debuting world premieres ahead of Telluride, which does not announce its lineup ahead of time.
Barbera told a Rome press conference, referring to sprawling Toronto, that “our job is more complex, more painful, because we are forced to leave out some very good films.” Barbera and his programmers whittled 1,500 submissions to 55, 20 of which are world premieres in competition.
The Venice world premieres include many films bound for Telluride and/or Toronto, including new work from indies David Gordon Green, Andrew Niccol, Barry Levinson, and Abel Ferrara.
Not yet announced for Toronto are films from Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko–marking the first-ever television debut in Venice, with Frances McDormand-starrer “Olive Kittredge”– horror meister Joe Dante, actor-director James Franco, Michael Almereyda, Fatih Akin, Xavier Beauvois, Andrei Konchalovsky and Amos Gitai.