Venice Film Festival To Focus On Quality, Cuts Entry List To 18

Bigger isn’t always better. Organizers of the Venice Film Festival have cut down the amount of movies competing for the coveted Golden Lion to just 18 films.

Venice, which is the world’s oldest film festival, will offer a total of 60 films this year but only 18 will be entered into the competition. According to Boston, the Venice Film Festival typically has over 100 films.

Festival director Alberto Barbera said:

‘‘I don’t like this idea of making it bigger and bigger year after year… Toronto is getting bigger and bigger every year and the same thing for Cannes and Berlin and so on. And I don’t like that. It’s not a proper way to promote a film.’’

Film festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, and Venice usually showcase a few bigger Blockbusters. The Hollywood movies bring in the stars and add a little bit of glitz and glam to the proceedings. Barbera, however, wants to make sure that Venice stays an artistic film festival.

But despite the fact that Barbera wants to return to the festival’s artistic roots, and despite the fact that he’s limiting the amount of movies being shown at Venice, there will be a good number of Hollywood stars showcasing their latest films.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams will make its debut at Venice. So will Brian De Palma’s Passion starring Rachel McAdams) and Noomi Rapace, Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep, and Spike Lee’s Bad 25 about Michael Jackson.

But perhaps the most Hollywood, and most out-of-place film, will be Spring Breakers starring James Franco and Selena Gomez. (Spring Breakers was directed by the Harmony Korine so it could also be one of the most surprisingly good films of the festival as well. It could also be a career-changer for the likes of Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens.)

The 69th Venice Film Festival will start on Wednesday, August 29th, and will run until September 8th.