The Venice Film Festival is the first festival of its kind to have ever been celebrated. Count Giuseppe Volpi founded the festival in 1932 with the desire to bring together the international community of movie industry professionals and filmmakers. The Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica was born and the rest is Venice International Film Festival history. Many other cities have followed Venice’s lead with their own film festivals. Sundance, Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, Los Angeles, and Tribeca are all widely recognized events, but none have the historical import or the status of the Venice Film Festival.
While some of the newer festivals like South by Southwest and Toronto draw more people, there is a deep and abiding respect for the oldest of all such film competitions. Past Venice Film Festival winners include some of the biggest names in acting and directing. It is an international festival, so over the years, many different films from a multitude of different countries have been awarded top prizes.
It is impressive that Venice International Film Festival history was not halted altogether by the advent of WWII. Amazingly, even in the midst of the chaos that was surely rained down upon the whole of Europe during the 1940s, the Venice Film Festival has been running every year since its inception in 1932. It is held on the island of Lido in Venice in the legendary Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. The Venice Film Festival is an important part of the Venice Biennale. Once every two years, the entire city of Venice and hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world descend upon Venice for the grand biennale. On these oddly numbered years, the Venice Film Festival is even more exciting than it normally is. The Venice Biennale is a festival and exhibition of contemporary art. Adding the film festival to the mix only means that there is going to be more excitement than usual in the air, as people are well aware of the fact that some of the biggest names in the entire industry are certain to be in attendance.
Venice International Film Festival history is made by the winners of the coveted Golden Lion (Leone d’Oro). This award is handed out for the winners in the best film category. An award known as the Volpi Cup (Coppa Volpi) is awarded to the best actor and actress. Golden Osellas are handed out to the Venice Film Festival winners in the categories of best director, best producer, screenwriting, and composing. Some notable Venice Film Festival winners that have received awards at this most prestigious of all the international film festivals in the past include Ang Lee, John Cassavetes, Robert Altman, and Laurence Olivier.
If you are planning a trip to Venice in late August or early September, the Venice Film Festival can easily become part of your vacation; it can be crowded though, so book your Venice hotels early. You can buy select tickets for only the screenings that you are most interested in seeing. It is a marvelous time to be in this part of Italy enjoying not only the beauty of Venice, but also the electricity in the air over the excitement of the festival.