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September 9, 1998 2:00 AM
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Venice Starts up First Script and Film Market

Venice Starts up First Script and Film Market

by Anna Basoli




Veneziafiere, in collaboration with the 55th Venice International Film
Festival
, has launched the first Venice Script and Film Market. "The
goal of the initiative is to provide filmmakers, buyers, production
companies, promotion agencies and industry operators in general, with
enhanced opportunities to network," Marlene Sternbaum, director of the
market told indieWIRE.


The Venice Script and Film market runs from Sept. 5-10, and runs
parallel with the festival, though it intends to operate autonomously
and to maintain its own structural and financial identity. "The market
pavilion was built specifically to host the entire six-day event with
its various activities. The participating films will be screened all day
in two smaller rooms of the Palazzo del Cinema and some of them are ‘for
buyers only'. The pavilion houses the stands of the exhibitors, an
additional screening room and a bar to ‘hang out'," said Sternbaum.


"One of the issues we wanted to address in putting together the market,
which admittedly sort of happened at the last minute," said Sternbaum,
continuing, "was that filmmakers, especially, don't often get a chance
to find out beforehand what the companies they're dealing with are
about, their scope, the kind of projects they're interested in and so
on. So we created this buyers series where acquisition execs from
companies all over the world are invited to speak. Buyers will come in
to describe their company and explain how they function: at what stage
of a project they come in, and how, based on the project."


Sternbaum gave a healthy list of buyers attending the market, including
U.K.-based Fine Line Features reps, Miramax, Good Machine, CLT-UFA Int'l
from Luxembourg, Polygram, and Shibata from Japan.


"Filmmakers will also get a chance to pitch their scripts to production
companies," she added. "We're very much into promoting this sort of
initiative. To date some 12 co-productions have been initiated through
our office and just as many are in the works. The way we're doing this
right now is that filmmakers get to pitch their scripts to production
companies with a verbal presentation. But that might change, we're
still looking for the proper format."


Participants in the market include: "L'Inconnu de Strasbourg" produced
by Gemini films with a high profile international cast. Bavaria films
with several new German films including the competition sprinter "Lola
Rennt
" ("Lola is Running"). "Los Amantes del Circulo Polar," in
competition as well, comes represented by Le Studio Canal Plus. Mikado
Films
and Lucky Red from Italy are among the exhibitors from 31
countries.


"The films admitted to the market must have a strong independent feel
and quality," explained Sternbaum. "The film has to have something
special, and it must be new, not having been seen at too many markets or
festivals. Participants this year number several black comedies and
dramas, (but) regrettably there are only so many films that we could
accommodate."


In a festival that has demonstrated fervor in championing sure-fire
Hollywood fare, a Script and Film market seems hardly a congruous or
even a dependable choice. However as Felice Laudadio, festival director
commented, "The Venice Film Festival has the absolute right in my
opinion to be sustained by a film market, which obviously has small
beginnings, like all others when they first started, but which has the
ambition and intention to grow and become stronger in the future."

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