Venice Film Festival

Read about this annual celebratory event and competition which brings arthouse movies and Hollywood glamour to the Lido

Venice Film Festival is an annual event which takes place on the Lido (Lido di Venezia) at the end of August and beginning of September every year. It’s one of the events organised by the Venice Biennale organisation, and is an important annual public relations occasion for the city. Although there are art-house films and prizes included, each year there is also Hollywood element which attracts the paparazzi and brings a bit of extra glitz to the lagoon city.

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

The festival’s headquarters is in the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, a short boat trip from central Venice. This historic building may please lovers of twentieth-century architecture, but a replacement building is due to be built. Next door stands the island’s 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 typically runs every 20 minutes from the Ferrovia (railway station) to the Lido Casino via Piazzale Roma, Zattere and San Zaccaria, from mid-afternoon until late at night. Line 20 also serves the site.

The Palazzo del Cinema staged for the 2007 Film Festival

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. Look out for special cards, e.g. for under-26s and over-60s, allowing access to exclusive films. Ticket options are all pretty expensive. Tickets are available online through the official website. Individual tickets are for sale for films in the Palabiennale (a temporary pavilion) in the Sala Grande.

If you just want to absorb some atmosphere, there should 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 Casinò building.

For full details of timetables and tickets, check the latest information on the official Venice Film Festival website: Venice Film Festival

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.
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