Venice Film Festival Chief Alberto Barbera On Temperature Checks Studio Anxiety Nomadland’ Gender-Neutral Prizes The Volpi Cup

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Photo Credit:Deadline Hollywood

This has been a Venice like none other. The world’s first COVID-era festival is taking place amid a slew of health and safety protocols and has had to adjust expectations accordingly. But the…

Did Netflix tell you they’d be back?
BARBERA:
Yes, absolutely. We had a long conversation with them. They reaffirmed that they want to support the festival.
DEADLINE
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Did they give you some money in the meantime? I gather they are financially supporting some festivals…
BARBERA:
They gave some financial support to the exhibition we have in the Giardini about the history of the Biennale. We didn’t want to take money directly from them as a festival.
DEADLINE
:
I went to the exhibition yesterday – it was fascinating. I loved it. But I didn’t see Netflix’s name…
BARBERA:
No, they wanted their involvement to be under the radar.
Stars And Strife
Scott G Winterton/The Deseret News via AP
 DEADLINE
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The exhibition was a reminder of how political the film festival has been over the years. But it struck me that significant political protest and demonstration has not been so present over the last 10-20 years. Why do you think that is? It’s not like we’re lacking for things to be frustrated about between Civil Rights, Trump, Brexit, Berlusconi etc…
BARBERA:
I think that reflects wider socio-economic changes. It’s hard to say exactly. But I also think in the past there were more collective responses to political problems. Nowadays dissent is more individual…
DEADLINE
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The exhibition reminded me that your best actor prizes are still named after the festival’s founder, Giuseppe Volpi, who was a prominent member of Mussolini’s fascist government. Have you considered changing the name of the prize given his associations?
BARBERA:
We had a discussion.

But we decided against it. I don’t agree with the cancel culture movement. I don’t like that attitude. We have had discussion about Volpi’s past and it’s important to have that discussion. Volpi had positive and negative impacts. It’s never black and white. There is always a lot of grey. To cancel the name of the festival’s creator doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not a way to face the problem.
DEADLINE
Would you consider gender-neutral awards as the Berlin Film Festival is doing next year?
Deadline
 BARBERA:
No. I understand Berlin’s decision. It is about diminishing gender discrimination. But I’m not sure this is the correct and proper way to solve the problem.
DEADLINE
Are there any things the festival will look to do differently next year?
BARBERA:
We will learn about certain technologies and what we can improve…
DEADLINE
A festival/booking app would be useful, for example…
BARBER:
Yes, we didn’t have time to do the app, unfortunately…
DEADLINE
Will you keep the online system of pre-booking tickets for screenings?
BARBERA:
We haven’t decided yet. We know people liked that system. It’s a possibility.
DEADLINE
This is the last year of your term as artistic director.
Will you be back?
BARBERA:
That’s not up to me. I think the board will decide in mid-October. I’d very much like to be back – this is what I know – but we’ll have to see.
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