The 77th edition of the Venice International Film festival takes place from September 2 to 12, 2020, and Canada played a part in three features premiering in competition: including a Canadian film in the coveted slot of closing film at the independent Venice Days section. We’re also involved in five virtual reality projects in Venice VR Expanded.
Here’s what Canada’s got going on at the Biennale this year:
Films and coproductions:
- Kornél Mundruczó’s Pieces of a Woman makes its world premiere before heading across the pond to the Toronto International Film Festival! This US-Canada feature stars Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Canadian actress Molly Parker, and others. Production: Little Lamb (Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson), BRON, Proton, Aaron Ryder, Martin Scorsese.
- In the Orizzonti competition, we’ve got another premiere: Philippe Lacôte’s Eurimages supported feature Night of the Kings (La nuit des rois). Set in an Ivory Coast prison, a man can save his life by captivating his fellow prisoners with majestic storytelling in this Côte d’Ivoire-France-Canada-Senegal coproduction. Production: Banshee Films (Delphine Jaquet), Wassakara Productions (Ernest Konan), Peripheria (Yanick Létourneau), Yennenga Production (Yoro Mbaye)
- The world premiere of Saint-Narcisse, directed by Toronto-based Bruce LaBruce, is the closing film of Venice Days! The feature is about estranged identical twins (played by Félix-Antoine Duval) who fall in love. The feature took part in the 2019 Venice Gap-Financing Market, an initiative giving the chance to selected international projects to secure international financing. (This flick locked in distribution deals with Raven Banner and AZ Films in Canada, and Best Friend Forever internationally.)
Venice Gap Financing Forum
This year, Canada’s got another slew of projects selected for this opportunity:
- Clement Virgo’s Brother
- Alireza Katami’s Things That You Kill (a France-Canada-Iran coproduction).
We’ve also got two virtual reality immersive story projects selected, in coproduction with France:
- David Barlow-Krelina’s The Garden
- Razan Alsalah’s The Greatest Wait. After the Last Sky.
VR Projects in Competition:
- Pietro Gagliano’s Agence puts the viewer in control of artificially intelligent “agents” in this interactive experience.
- Francis Gelinas’s In the Land of the Flabby Schnook (Au pays du cancre mou) lets us see the dark through the fantastical eyes of two young siblings, learning to be less afraid.
- Michelle Kranot and Uri Kranot’s The Hangman at Home. This animated “immersive single user experience” is a Denmark-France-Canada project based on Carl Sandburg’s 1922 poem.
- Adi Lavy’s Once Upon a Sea is an interactive doc about the ecological plight of Israel’s Dead Sea, which could become extinct, and has profound meaning to the director of this Israel-Canada coproduction (that was also at the Cannes Marché du Film market).
Out of Competition – Best of VR:
Fresh from Sundance and Cannes is Randall Okita’s The Book of Distance, as this filmmaker recreates family history, emotion, and memories of his grandfather, who in 1935 came to Canada from Hiroshima, Japan. Production: National Film Board of Canada (Davd Oppenheim).