Venice International Film Festival 2020
September 2 - September 12
The Venice International Film Festival, officially called Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica, is the world’s oldest film festival. Every year you can indulge here in the best of international cinema while rubbing shoulders with silver screen celebrities.
The Mostra is the first official film festival to take place following the COVID-19 lockdowns. Helen Mirren, Shia LaBeouf and Greta Thunberg are just three of the celebrities who will attend the event, although procedings will necesarily be slimmed down due to COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Nomadland drected by Chloé Zhao and produced and starring Frances McDormand is perhaps the highlight of the 2020 Venice Film Festival. Cate Blanchett will be the Jury President (a full list of the entrants for the competition is below).
This year’s 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival will, as usual, take place on the Lido, the little island next to Venice. With its first edition going back all the way to 1932, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest one in the world and among the “Big Three” alongside the Berlin International Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. As part of the Venice Biennale – one of the most prestigious cultural happenings on the planet – the Venice Film Festival’s aim is to put international cinema in the spotlight and to promote it in all its manifestations – as a form of art, as entertainment and as an industry – where freedom and dialogue take centre stage.
During these eleven days of cinema extravaganza film stars and directors from all over the world, whether from big blockbusters or independent films, compete with each other. The highest and most coveted award is the Golden Lion, but competitions also take place in different categories. Last year’s Golden Lion was scooped up by American filmmaker and actor Todd Phillips for his acclaimed film Joker, a psychological thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Presiding the competition’s jury last year was the Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel. As a woman, she was only the seventh female jury president in the long history of the Venice Film Festival. Blanchett became the eighth.
Read here all about the Venice Biennale or La Biennale di Venezia.
If you want to see the awards ceremonies and the parade of A-listers posing for pictures, then head to the Palazzo del Cinema with its iconic red carpets. Yet, as the many screenings of films are open to the general public, it’s not unusual to find yourself sitting a few seats away from a major film star.
Apart from its famous competitions, the Venice Film Festival also organises film retrospectives to increase the understanding of the history of cinema, as well as tributes to prominent personalities in the world of film.
Last year, it was the 69-year-old Spanish filmmaker Petro Almodóvar who was honoured with a Golden Lion to celebrate his illustrious career. One of Europe’s most important filmmakers, Almodóvar is famous for his sensual films about transvestism, prostitution and drugs, sprinkled with very flamboyant characters and visual splendour. The Spaniard has no less than 21 films under his belt, including Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Tacones Lejanos (High Heels), Todo Sobre mi Madre (All About my Mother), and Hable con Ella (Talk to Her).
Almodóvar is admired for his incredibly original portraits of women supported by his exceptional empathy. His most recent 2019 film is called Dolor y Gloria with Antonio Banderas in the lead role.
This year, life achievement Golden Lions will be given to Hong Kong actor-director Ann Hui and the actor Tilda Swinton.
If you can’t make it to the festival then take a short time trip through the Venice Film Festival poster art.
Programme of the 2020 Venice International Film Festival
The 2020 programme of the Mostra, as the Venice Film Festival is often nicknamed, has just been announced.
The official films in the competition are:
In Between Dying (dir: Hilal Baydarov); Le Sorelle Macaluso (d: Emma Dante); The World to Come (d: Mona Fastvold); Nuevo Orden (d: Michel Franco); And Tomorrow the Entire World (d: Julia von Heinz); Amants (Lovers) (d: Nicole Garcia); Laila in Haifa (d: Amos Gitai); Dear Comrades (d: Andrei Konchalovsky); Wife of a Spy (d: Kiyoshi Kurosawa); Sun Children (d: Majid Majidi); Pieces of a Woman (d: Kornél Mundruczó); Miss Marx (d: Susanna Nicchiarelli); Padre Nostro (d: Claudio Noce); Notturno (d: Gianfranco Rosi); Never Gonna Snow Again (d: Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert); The Disciple (d: Chaitanya Tamhane); Quo Vadis, Aida? (d: Jasmila Žbanić); and Nomadland (d: Chloé Zhao)
Interestingly, after previous criticism as to the lack of female directors chosen to compete for the Golden Lion, eight of the 18 selected directors are women.
For a full line-up of films in and out of competition, Venice Film Festival classics and more, check out the updates on the official Venice Film Festival website.
When is the Venice Film Festival 2020
This year’s 77th edition will take place from 2 to 12 September.
Where does the Venice Film Festival 2020 take place
The festival is located on the Lido island in the Venice Lagoon at four major venues – the Palazzo del Cinema, the Palazzo del Casinò, the Palabiennale, the Sala Giardino – as well as at outdoor areas. When you arrive on the Lido, buses will take you to the different venues till late at night. Click here for further details.
Accommodation and hotels in Venice during the Venice Film Festival
Hotel prices on the Lido may be three to four times their normal rates at this time, and are often fully booked long in advance. If you are looking to book one of the numerous hotels in Venice or further afield, enter your dates in our flight and hotel comparison engine to search hundreds of sites for the best deals:
For ticketing and more information about the Venice International Film Festival 2020:
Browse the Venice Film Festival official website.