Venice Film Festival under way, to end on Sept 12

elbow bumping participants
Alberto Barbera and Cate Blanchett touch elbow in 77th Venice Film Festival, on September 2 (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

The first cinema showcase of the coronavirus era, the Venice Film Festival, began at 10:45 PM on Wednesday, September 2. While other international festivals have opted to go online this year, the Venice Film Festival has begun with all the protocols needed to avoid COVID-19. Besides, the festival will run for 10 days and will end on Saturday, September 12.

The festival organizer, Roberto Cicutto, in an online statement, said:

We are not proud to be the first, after the forced pause, to be able to do so, But we are proud of having shown… that it can be done, putting in place all the safety measures and presenting a program that has little to envy those of the preceding years.

In comparison to the previous year, the red carpet at this year’s Venice Film Festival seems to be distinctive. In fact, celebrities are arriving on the island of Lido along with face masks at a subdued reception. Despite the usual situation, around 350 international movie talents and industry executives will attend the event.

Organizers claim the festival to be safe

Although most of the participants are from countries with elevated rates of Covid-19 contamination, all of them must fly with the assurance that they were screened for Covid-19 shortly before departure.

Also, as soon as they arrive at Marco Polo airport in Venice, they again have to go through the Italian government’s screening. Not only that, but the participant will also possibly do the third test if staying longer than five days.

Besides, the citizens of non-Schengen areas residing in the Schengen area for over 14 days before arrival in Venice doesn’t need to go through the test. Likewise, the guest from the United Kingdom also doesn’t need to get tested.

Authorities ready to gamble on calculated risk

While Italy is currently restricting travel from abroad, it allows for work reasons, including participating in a film festival. So the question is, how safe is Venice?

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera, who considers himself the main man to conduct the event on the Lido, tweeted just before the fest kicked off on September 2. Responding to the local press questions, whether the event should be skipped this year, he tweeted, writing:

For us, the answer is that it was our duty to go ahead and hold the festival.

On the other, Alberto is also aware of the possibility of an outbreak and shared his belief that the possibility is calculated. In case if someone becomes COVID-19 positive, Barbera was confident that the officials would control the situation with minimum damage.

Strict safety measures

The festival will have nine gates with Thermo Scanners, taking the temperature of all the guests. In particular, the guest with a temperature of or above 37.5 celsius is not allowed to enter. Furthermore, the guests will have access to sanitizing liquids and gels in all locations.

According to authorities, all places will go through the sanitization daily, including theatres, service areas, vehicles, and water taxis. Hotels should also strictly follow the cleaning procedures. Likewise, social distancing is mandatory for all the activities. Also, the seats in the cinemas and press conferences are reduced.

Moreover, photographers also need to maintain a distance from each other and guests on the red carpet. When distancing is not possible, it is mandatory to wear the mask.

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