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Venice Film Festival Sets 2020 Plan: Cut Section, Outdoor Screenings, and Regular Competition

Cate Blanchett is still set to head the jury for this year's main competition.

Todd Phillips (R) holds the Golden Lion award for the movie 'Joker' next to Joaquin Phoenix (L)Closing ceremony, 76th Venice Film Festival, Italy - 07 Sep 2019

Todd Phillips holds the Golden Lion award for the movie ‘Joker’ next to Joaquin Phoenix

Mirco Toniolo/AGF/Shutterstock

The 2020 Venice Film Festival is moving forward with its September 2-12 dates and a reduced slate that will still be the home for roughly 50 feature films. Venice Artistic Director Alberto Barbera has announced that the core of the annual film festival will remain intact with around 20 features selected for the main competition (known as Venezia 77) and the remaining 30 or so films selected for the main slate debuting in the festival’s Horizons section, which screens “edgier fare,” or the Out of Competition section. Cate Blanchett is heading up this year’s competition jury.

In order to adhere to social distancing measures, Barbera said the 2020 festival will set up two outdoor screening locations, one in Venice at the Giardini della Biennale and another in the skating rink on the Lido. The latter is where the majority of screenings for non-industry moviegoers will take place. Additionally, the annual Sconfini sidebar section is being scrapped this year in order to free up more space for the socially-distanced screenings that will take place as part of the festival’s main slate. Along those lines, the festival’s virtual reality competition will take place online and the Venice Classics selections will screen separately as part of the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna (August 25-31).

“I am extremely pleased that the Biennale Cinema can be held with a minimum reduction of films and sections,” Barbera said in a statement. “Without forgetting the countless victims of these past few months, to whom due tribute shall be paid, the first international festival following the forced interruption dictated by the pandemic becomes the meaningful celebration of the re-opening we all looked forward to, and a message of concrete optimism for the entire world of cinema which has suffered greatly from this crisis.”

Barbara added that this year’s main slate “will provide its traditional overview of the best that the film industry has produced in recent months, thanks to the extraordinary response by directors and producers, despite arduous working conditions.”

“A significant number of authors and actors will accompany the films to the Lido,” he said, “while Internet connections will make it possible to hold press conferences with all those who will be unable to participate in person, due to the travel restrictions that remain in place.”

Last year’s Venice Film Festival awarded “Joker” the Golden Lion. The full slate for the 2020 Venice Film Festival will be announced later this summer.

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