Thu, September 04, 2008
Entertainment > Movie

Venice festival schedules showdown with Toronto

2008-09-04 07:04:30 GMT2008-09-04 15:04:30 (Beijing Time) China Daily

Anne Hathaway poses during a photocall at the Venice Film Festival September 3, 2008. [Agencies]

The Venice Film Festival might be on a fresh collision course with the rival event in Toronto.

Venice artistic director Marco Mueller said Wednesday that next year's festival will start on September 2 -- a date likely to result in a significant overlap with Toronto.

The two festivals usually cross, but only for a few days. Venice got under way this year on August 27, with Toronto kicking off eight days later. But a later start date for the Italian festival could force many filmmakers to decide between the two events rather than appear at both, as has been common during the past several years.

Mueller said Venice's growing rivalry with Toronto had an impact on the way its films were scheduled this year.

Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married," Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" and "The Hurt Locker" from Kathryn Bigelow are among the major titles screening during Venice's home stretch.

Mueller said that backloading the festival with high-profile films was intentional. "We have to give people a reason to pay attention to us once Toronto starts up," he said.

This year, Venice has been the subject of criticism in the Italian press, in part because of the relative absence of big names. Venice officials blame the low star wattage on the writers' strike in the U.S. earlier this year, which they said prevented many projects from being completed in time to screen in Venice, and a weak dollar that has made the Lido unusually expensive for U.S.-based visitors.

But Mueller said things will be back to normal next year. He said that the festival already has agreed in principle to screen two "major" Hollywood films made by Venice regulars. The two projects originally were considered likely for this year's festival but pushed back because of delays associated with the Hollywood labor problems stateside.


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