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Venice Film Festival 2011

Palazzo del Cinema, Lido, dressed-up for the 2007 Film Festival

Venice Film Festival is an annual event which takes place at the end of August / beginning of September. It's one of the events organised by the Venice Biennale organisation, and is an important public relations event for the city. Although there are art-house films and prizes, each year there is a Hollywood element which attracts the paparazzi and gives the city a bit of glitz.

The 2011 Venice Film Festival runs from 31st August-10th September. It opens with The Ides of March directed by George Clooney (a regular at the festival). This is the 68th edition of the festival, which has been running since 1932 (the event skipped a few years). During its first years, there was a 'Coppa Mussolini' for the best films.

The Venice Film Festival's greatest accolade is the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) for the best film, which is presented at the awards ceremony on the closing day.

Getting to the Film Festival

As usual, the festival's headquarters is in the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, a short boat trip from central Venice. This dated building may please lovers of twentieth-century architecture, but a replacement building is due to be built. Next door stands the former Casino building, and in the surrounding area there are various temporary and outdoors structures.

As well as the normal vaporetto services to the Lido, which stop at the main waterbus stop a 20-minute walk, or short bus-ride, to the north, there are usually special ferry services for the film festival. A direct line runs every 20 minutes from the Ferrovia (railway station) to the Lido Casino via Piazzale Roma, Zattere and San Zaccaria, from 4:40pm until 1am (last ferry back from the Lido Casiṇ at 2:05am. Line 20 also serves the site.

Palazzo del Cinema, Lido

Tickets and events

There are a range of season tickets for the Film Festival which entitle holders to different categories of showing in the different venues. The under-26s and over-60s can buy a special card which gives them access to exclusive films. These options are all pretty expensive. Tickets are available online through the official website (see links panel). Individual tickets are for sale for films in the Palabiennale (a temporary pavilion) from €12 and in the Sala Grande from €14.

If you just want to absorb some atmosphere, there will be big screens around the Palazzo del Cinema featuring footage and interviews from the festival. A 'Movie Village' hosting special events with stars, cafes and various commercial stalls takes place around the old Casiṇ building.

For full details of timetables and tickets, check the latest information on the official Venice Film Festival website (links panel on the right).

Booking accommodation for the Film Festival

This is a fairly busy time of year for hotels in Venice, so it's a good idea to book ahead. If you want to mingle with stars, directors and hangers-on, head for the Hotel Excelsior, next to the Palazzo del Cinema.
> More accommodation on the Lido

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