Venice, a city renowned for its romantic canals, breathtaking architecture, and rich history, holds another gem that keeps the world captivated: the Venice Film Festival.

As the oldest film festival in the world, this prestigious event exemplifies the best in international cinema.

Let us take you behind the scenes to discover the magic of the festival, where dreams become reality on the silver screen.

Venice Film Festival: the world's oldest film festival

venice film festival dalbera from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by dalbera from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Venice Film Festival, actually part of La Biennale di Venezia, was founded in 1932 and has since become an essential event in the world of cinema.

Every year, the festival showcases a diverse selection of original films, ranging from feature-length movies to short films, documentaries, experimental creations and world premieres.

Held annually between late August and early September, the Venice International Film Festival takes place on the picturesque island of Lido, just a short boat ride from the main city of Venice.

A bit of history

The Venice International Film Festival has a rich and complex history that spans over nine decades.

In the 1930s, Italian citizens were deeply interested in film, and the festival was created to celebrate Italian culture and showcase international films.

However, the festival faced challenges during World War II and the subsequent political turmoil, but it resumed in 1946 and has since become an important event in the film world.

Over the years, the festival has undergone various changes, including the addition of new sections and the establishment of awards.

Under the current director, Alberto Barbera, the festival has become a major launchpad for Oscar-winning films, with many premiering there first.

In recent years, the festival has also embraced new technologies. The festival has continued to evolve and adapt, cementing its place as a vital and prestigious event in the global film industry.

The festival has hosted some of the most influential and significant films in the history of cinema, establishing its reputation as a true celebration of artistic expression.

The Awards

venice film festival awards
Photo by Mehranmirmiri, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Here follows a list of the main awards.

- Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) - the top prize of the festival, awarded to the best film in competition.

- Leone d'Argento - Gran Premio della Giuria (Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize) - the second prize of the festival, awarded to the runner-up in competition.

- Leone d'Argento - Premio Speciale per la Regia (Silver Lion - Best Director) - awarded to the best director in competition.

- Coppa Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione Maschile (Volpi Cup for Best Actor) - awarded to the best male performance in competition.

- Coppa Volpi per la Migliore Interpretazione Femminile (Volpi Cup for Best Actress) - awarded to the best female performance in competition.

- Premio Marcello Mastroianni (Marcello Mastroianni Award) - awarded to the best emerging actor or actress in competition.

- In the last few years, the Orizzonti prize has gained importance. It's won by movies that have shown a particular use of expressive languages.

Venice Insider Tips: Navigating the Film Festival

venice movie festival
Photo by Pietro Luca Cassarino, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Before diving into the enchanting world of the Venice Film Festival, here are some insider tips to help you make the most of your experience:

- Location

The festival takes place on the island of Lido, easily accessible by water bus (vaporetto) from various points in Venice.

The main venue is the Palazzo del Cinema, located at Lungomare Marconi, 3.

- Getting there

From Venice, take the water bus Line 1 or Line 5.1 from San Zaccaria station to Lido S.M.E. station. The journey takes around 15 minutes.

From there, it's a short walk or bike ride to the Palazzo del Cinema.

- Accommodation

Book your stay well in advance, as hotels and other accommodations fill up quickly during the festival.

You can decide to stay at Lido or choose one of the hotels located on the main islands (check out our full guide here).

Now, let's address some frequently asked questions about attending the Venice Film Festival

Can anyone go to the Venice Film Festival? Attending Screenings and Events

Yes, the Venice Film Festival is open to the public, and anyone can attend the screenings and events.

However, some screenings are reserved for accredited professionals, such as journalists, filmmakers, and industry representatives.

To attend public screenings, you'll need to purchase tickets, which can range from €30 for a single screening to €70 for a full-day pass, depending on the event. Tickets can be bought online through the festival's official website or at the box office on Lido island.

Check out the official website of La Biennale di Venezia for more info:

Where can I buy the tickets?

Tickets will be available from mid-August and could be purchased on the official website of La Biennale only.

How should I dress to attend the Mostra del Cinema di Venezia?

While there is no specific dress code for attending the festival, we recommend dressing smart-casual for daytime events and screenings. Gala screenings and premieres may require more formal attire, so be sure to check the event details when purchasing your tickets.

The Venice Film Festival is highly prestigious, often serving as a launchpad for films and filmmakers destined for greatness.

So, attending this iconic event is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for cinema enthusiasts.

As our journey through the Venice Film Festival comes to an end, we hope this insider guide has ignited your passion for this magical city and its cinematic treasures.

We encourage you to explore Venice beyond the silver screen, as the city's enchanting canals, history, and culture create an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing for more.

Continue exploring Venice with us!

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