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Alberto Barbera will remain director of the Venice International Film Festival for at least another four years.
La Biennale di Venezia, the parent organization that oversees the Venice Fest, announced Tuesday that it was re-upping Barbera as its head of cinema for another four-year term, from 2021-2024.
Barbera has come under fire in previous years for a lack of gender diversity in the Venice competition lineup — Venice has had the worst record among the big A-list festival when it comes to female directors in competition. But he is coming off a big win with the 2020 event.
This year’s Venice festival, the first major film event to be held since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was a huge success. Barbera showed the international industry that it was possible to safely hold a major film festival under corona. Along the way, he also quietly silenced his gender-balance critics: nearly half of the films in competition this year — 8 of 18, or 44 percent — were directed by women. Barbera, however, still rejects the idea of a formal quota to ensure better representation for female directors.
The coronavirus, of course, has not gone away. Italy this week, citing rising COVID-19 infection numbers, ordered cinemas worldwide to close down. But the world’s oldest film festival is confident it will be able to hold its 78th edition, scheduled for Sept. 1-11, 2021. And, again, Barbera will be running things.
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