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Venice opens pandemic-era film festival

Venice is hosting the first major film festival since the onset of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, with organizers having to adapt to the unusual circumstances.

Rome, 1 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Venice is hosting the first major film festival since the onset of the global novel coronavirus pandemic, with organizers having to adapt to the unusual circumstances.

The lagoon-side event is set to be far less glitzy this year, with a much reduced Hollywood presence, socially-distanced film screenings and face masks to be worn throughout the premises.

A spokeswoman said the festival’s opening and closing parties have been cancelled, and that some actors and directors will present their films in video-streamed press conferences, rather than in person.

For the artists that do turn up, there will be little contact with fans clamouring for selfies, as a wall has been put up to separate the red carpet from the main street.

The festival officially takes place from September 2-12, but will kick off on Tuesday with a pre-opening screening of “Molecole” by Italy’s Andrea Segre, a documentary set in virus-lockdown Venice.

The official programme counts 63 films, including 18 running for the top Golden Lion prize, 21 out of competition and 19 in the sidebar Orizzonti section.

One of the Golden Lion hopefuls, “Nomadland” by Chloe Zhao, is touted as a contender for the 2021 Oscars. It is an American West road movie starring and produced by Frances McDormand.

In the in-competition category, eight out of 18 films, including “Nomadland,” are directed by women, reflecting the festival’s efforts to respond to past criticism about gender imbalance in its selection.

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