There are many reasons to visit Venice in August besides its stunning backdrop of canals, winding alleyways and elaborate Venetian Gothic palaces. One famous and elegant reason is to attend the yearly international Venice Film Festival on the island of Lido which is just a few minutes’ waterbus ride from historic St Mark’s Square.
History of the Venice International Film Festival
The first international film festival ever organized began on August 6,1932 on the terrace of the Excelsior Hotel on the Lido di Venezia. The initiative was promoted by the Venice Biennale. The first screening was Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The screening was followed by a grand ball in the halls of the Excelsior. Today there are plenty of pre- and after-parties for each individual screening. Lido is transformed into a mini-LA scene with temporary screening theatres and production company pavillions, a must-see.
Basically the lineup is decided by Venice’s Biennale College Filmlab who consist of a community of filmmakers, selected from around the world, to work alongside an invited team of international experts and tutors to explore the aesthetics of micro-budget film-making. After a first 10-day workshop in Venice for 15 selected projects in January, up to 3 teams will be invited to a second 15-day workshop between February and March and supported with €150,000 prize-money in order to produce and screen the projects at the official Venice International Film Festival. This year there were 433 submissions from 77 countries!
The 70th Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will run at Venice Lido September 2-12, 2015.
The screenings schedule will include 11 days of programming from August 27 to September 6, 2014. For more details and information please visit the Biennale’s Official website where you will also be able to purchase pre-sale tickets.
The official aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote all the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and tolerance. The Festival includes retrospectives and homage to major figures as a contribution towards raising awareness of the history of cinema.
The red carpet always comes to Venice the last week of August and you can spot a star or two at Harry’s Bar, but the real action is on Lido Island, which is where the latest movies premier. Enjoy previewing the movies (for directors who should have won an Oscar on true creative merit) by buying tickets and then finish the night dancing with the stars in one of the many VIP events held every night for almost two weeks. During the Venice Film Festival, there are more frequent buses running from Lido’s main traghetto stop to where the action is.
Rookie Hint: Remember that after 11pm, the water buses back to Venice proper run about every 30-45 minutes, so bring some flats or have a phone number on speed dial for a water taxi. This might be one of those times that you won’t care how much it costs to get back to your hotel room.
Things to Do & other Events in August in Venice
- Lido Beach & Surrounding Islands – Take advantage of the hot weather and hit Lido’s beach during the day or visit Burano and Murano!
- Visit the Biennale’s Art Exhibits
- Jesolo Beach
- Regata Storica
Checkout more tips for your Venice holiday!