The Venice Film Festival or Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in Europe and one of the "Big Three" film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. The Big Three are internationally acclaimed for giving creators the artistic freedom to express themselves through film. Founded in Venice, Italy in August 1932, the festival is part of the Venice Biennale, one of the world oldest exhibitions of art, founded by the Venice City Council on 19 April 1893; the range of work at the Venice Biennale now covers Italian and international art, dance, music and cinema. These works are experienced at separate exhibitions: the International Art Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Music, the International Theatre Festival, the International Architecture Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance, the International Kids' Carnival, the annual Venice Film Festival, arguably the best-known of all the events.
The festival is held in late August or early September on the island of the Lido in the Venice Lagoon. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi; the festival continues to be one of the world's most fastest-growing. The 77th Venice International Film Festival will be held from 2 to 12 September 2020. During the 1930s, the government and Italian citizens were interested in film. Of the money Italians spent on cultural or sporting events, most of it went for movies; the majority of films screened in Italy were American, which led to government involvement in the film industry and the yearning to celebrate Italian culture in general. With this in mind, the Venice International Film Festival was created by Giuseppe Volpi, Luciano de Feo, Antonio Maraini in 1932. Volpi, a statesman, wealthy businessman, avid fascist, Benito Mussolini's minister of finance, was appointed president of the Venice Biennale the same year. Maraini served as the festival's secretary general, de Feo headed its executive committee.
On the night of 6 August 1932, the festival opened with a screening of the American film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the terrace of the Excelsior Palace Hotel. A total of nine countries participated in the festival. No awards were given at the first festival, but an audience referendum was held to determine which films and performances were most praiseworthy; the French film À Nous la Liberté was voted the Film Più Divertente. The Sin of Madelon Claudet was chosen the Film Più Commovente and its star, Helen Hayes, the best actress. Most Original Film was given to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, its leading man, Fredric March, was voted best actor. Despite the success of the first festival, it did not return in 1933. In 1934, the festival was declared to be an annual event, participation grew from nine countries to seventeen; that year the festival gave its first official awards, namely the Mussolini Cup for Best Italian Film, the Mussolini Cup for Best Foreign Film, the Corporations Ministry Cup. Seventeen awards were given: fourteen to films and three to individuals.
Five films received. The third installment of the festival in 1935 was headed by its first artistic director, Ottavio Croze, who maintained this position until World War II; the following year, a jury was added to the festival's governing body. The majority of funds for the festival came from the Ministry of Popular Culture, with other portions from the Biennale and the city of Venice; the year 1936 marked another important development in the festival. A law crafted by the Ministry of Popular Culture made the festival an autonomous entity, separate from the main Venice Biennale; this allowed additional fascist organizations, such as the Department of Cinema and the Fascist National Federation of Entertainment Industries, to take control of the festival. The fifth year of the festival saw the establishment of its permanent home. Designed and completed in 1937, the Palazzo del Cinema was built on the Lido; the Palazzo has since been the site for every Venice Film Festival, with the exception of the three years from 1940 to 1942, when the festival was moved away from Venice for fear of bombing.
However, Venice received no damage during that time. The 1940s represent one of the most difficult moments for the festival itself. Nazi propaganda movie Heimkehr was presented in 1941 winning an award from the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture. With the advent of the conflict the situation degenerated to such a point that the editions of 1940, 1941 and 1942, subsequently are considered as if they did not happen because they were carried out in places far away from Lido. Additionally, the festival was renamed the Italian-German Film Festival in 1940; the festival carried this title until 1942. The festival resumed full speed after the war. For the first time, the 1946 edition was held in the month of September, in accordance to an agreement with the newly-born Cannes Film Festival, which had just held its first review in the spring of that year. With the return of normalcy, Venice once again became a great icon of the film world. In 1947 the festival was held in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace, a most magnificent backdrop for hosting a record 90 thousand participants.
The 1947 festival is considered one of the most successful editions in the history of the festival. In 1963 the winds of change blow during Lu
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