During a lunch with international press on Tuesday Roberto Cicutto, who is the president of the Biennale that oversees the festival, also announced plans for a revamp of the Lido’s Casinò venue which next year will be getting a new movie theater, a restaurant, a new room for press conferences, and a makeover of the existing Sala Perla theater.
The Biennale was just included by the Italian government among the country’s key “cultural magnets” and as such will benefit from a €170 million ($205 million) windfall from the E.U.’s coronavirus recovery fund, destined for infrastructural improvements.
This year, with COVID-19 protocols in place, Venice has half its seating capacity due to mandatory socially distanced seating, in compliance with Italian health norms. Tickets are reserved through an online system, which at the start of the fest had a few technical snags.
“For some reason the first two days the ticketing system didn’t work very well,” said Cicutto who apologized for the mishap.
In terms of accreditations Venice has issued 9,800 fest passes this year, compared with 6,908 in 2010 and 12,800 in 2019. Ticket sales for the general public at the fest now stand at 23,713 compared with 13,162 in 2020 and 28,741 at the end of Venice’s 2019 edition.
There are 700 foreign journalists in the Lido this year, compared with 444 in 2020 and 1,013 in 2019.
Fest-goers were required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test held up to 48 hours prior to entry in order to get accreditation.
The fest says 90% of fest attendees are vaccinated, based on an email survey sent out prior to its start. For those who needed testing, Venice set up 12 rapid COVID test swab spots on the Lido where as of Sept. 5 only five tests produced a “false negative” result, meaning that subsequent PCR tests all proved negative.
The 78th Venice Film Festival runs through Sept. 11.