Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpe in 1932, the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy is the oldest film festival in the world. Taking place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, the festival is one of the world’s most prestigious and is also part of the Venice biennale, an exhibition and festival for contemporary art. The first “Esposizione d’Arte Cinematografica” was held in 1932 at the Hotel Excelsior as part of the 18th Venice Biennale. The 2010 festival takes place from September 1st – 11th and the official lineup will be announced in Rome at the end of July. The festival’s goal is to raise awareness and promote various aspects of international cinema in all its forms. It includes homages and retrospectives to major figures in the industry that have helped raise awareness.
The Venice Film Festival has two main venues, Palazzo del Cinema and PalaBiennale. The Palazzo del Cinema was opened in 1937 and is the main facility and screening theatre of the film festival. Enlarged in 1952 when a new façade and entrance hall were added the Palazzo features the Sala Grande with a seating capacity of 1,100 as well three smaller screening theaters. This theater has welcomed some of the biggest names in international cinema history and now, a new Palazzo is being built to suit the needs of modern international film festivals. The PalaBiennale hosts screenings for the public and can house the largest audience of the film festival venues with seats for 1,700 viewers. The must see event for film buffs in recent years are the evening double screenings which allow guests enjoy two of the festivals entrants films. During the day the PalaBiennale holds screenings for the public as well as accredited visitors.
Each year the Venice Film Festival awards the Leone d’Oro (Golden Lion) to the festivals best film and the Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup) to the festivals best actor and actress. Sometimes Silver Lion’s are given as a “runner-up” prize to the Golden Lion, there is also the Special Jury Prize which is usually awarded to one or two films each year. The festival’s Golden Osellas are awarded yearly to the best directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, composers and for outstanding technical contributions. The 2010 festival is being chaired by world renowned director, screenwriter and producer Quentin Tarantino and the Golden Lion for Lifetime achievement award will be given to Asian and Hollywood director and producer John Woo.