Venice film fest means business, not just art - marketing chief

Tue Sep 3, 2013 1:25pm EDT
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By Michael Roddy

VENICE (Reuters) - Venice has a reputation for luxury and its film festival for emphasizing art over commercialism, so its marketing chief Pascal Diot has his work cut out to prove Venice means business.

The stars, film directors and producers arriving at the Lido island festival venue by luxury motor launch or Maserati tend to look and act like they are on holiday as they wave at fans, sign autographs and waltz up the red carpet.

"The thing about Venice is to be in competition and artistically it's very prestigious but I don't know that this is the capital of all transactions for movies," Xavier Dolan, director of the Canadian-French film "Tom a la Ferme" ("Tom at the Farm"), told Reuters on Tuesday.

For years Venice did not even attempt to serve as a venue for film deals, leaving that to Cannes and Berlin in Europe and the Toronto festival that opens this week.

That changed last year with the opening of the Venice Film Market, an initiative of the film festival's artistic director, Alberto Barbera.

"The market is growing here," Barbera told Reuters.

"I'm not saying that we fulfilled all the goals or the aims we have for the market. I'm saying that little by little the market will be a very important appointment in the calendar of the international markets."

The only major deal to be announced publicly from Venice so far, with the festival heading to a Saturday awards ceremony, is Harvey Weinstein's purchase of U.S. rights to Australian director John Curran's "Tracks" based on its premiere last week.   Continued...