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Venice's Biennale College Filmlab Project Draws 433 Submissions from 77 Countries

Venice Film Festival Lion - H 2012
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Three winners selected from the group will be awarded with $191,000 each to finish their projects, which will screen at the 70th Venice Festival.

ROME – Officials at the Venice Film Festival announced Friday that the Biennale College -- the festival’s new film lab initiative -- has drawn a total of 433 applicants from 77 countries, led in numbers by Italy, followed by the U.S.

Along with the Venice Film Market, the Biennale College is one of two major new initiatives introduced by Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera.

The plan is to select 15 projects that will work in a special ten-day workshop in January, in Venice to help develop the projects. From that group, three projects will be funded with €150,000 ($191,000) along with a second 15-day workshop starting in February. All three of the projects will screen at the 70th edition of the storied Venice festival, which will take place next year August 28-Sept. 7.

The committee of selectors for the Biennale College will be chaired by Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale.

With 88 local productions entered into the competition, Italy was the most represented country in the process, followed closely by the U.S., with 77. The U.K. had 21 entries, followed by 15 from Israel, and nine each from Brazil, France, and Spain. All the projects were submitted between August 30 and Oct. 24.

“This initial result reinforces our convictions about the importance and interest raised by this project,” Baratta said. “This is a complex and innovative experience: it offers the involvement of some of the great masters of film, and is intended as a breeding ground to promote the creative capacity of new talents with credible and accomplished projects that will allow them to test themselves against an audience.”

The project is being run in collaboration with the Independent Filmmaker Project, the TorinoFilmLab, and the Dubai International Film Festival.