Venice Film Festival Unveils International Juries

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Ludivine Sagnier, Joanna Hogg and Christian Petzold

Joanna Hogg, Ludivine Sagnier and Christian Petzold join jury president Cate Blanchett to judge the competition titles at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

The Venice International Film Festival has unveiled an all-European jury for its 77th edition as Venice prepares to host the first major film event since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

British director Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), French actress Ludivine Sagnier (8 Women, Swimming Pool) and Austrian filmmaker Veronika Franz (Goodnight Mommy) will join Venice jury president Cate Blanchett to hand out the honors to the competition entries this year, including the coveted Golden Lion. Alongside the four women will be German director Christian Petzold (Undine, Barbara), Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) and Italian writer Nicola Lagioia.

Given the uncertainty of international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, choosing an all-European jury seems prudent. European countries have reopened borders and travel is largely unrestricted. The same cannot be said for travel from other international territories. Few American stars or industry executives are expected to make the trip to Venice this year.

But acclaimed indie producer Christine Vachon (Carol, Boys Don't Cry) will be making the trip to the Lido. Vachon will be part of the international jury for Venice's Orizzonti sidebar, joining jury president Claire Denis — the French director of High Life and Beau Travail — Spanish filmmaker Oskar Alegria, Italian director Francesca Comencini and Israeli producer Katriel Schory.

Piranhas director Claudio Giovannesi will head up the jury for the Luigi De Laurentiis award, named in honor of the legendary Italian producer, which honors the best debut feature screening in Venice. Joining him are Tunisian producer and festival director Dora Bouchoucha and Remi Bonhomme, the new artistic director of the Marrakesh International Film Festival. The De Laurentiis award comes with a $100,000 cash bursary shared evenly between the director and the producer of the winning film.

VR pioneer Celine Tricart will head up this year's jury for the Venice Virtual Reality line-up, joined by Oscar-winning documentary director Asif Kapadia (Amy, Diego Maradona) and legendary video game designer Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear, Death Stranding). They will judge the VR installations at this year's festival and hand out awards for best immersive work, best immersive user experience and best immersive story.

Separately, Venice announced it would screen Molecole, a new documentary by Italian filmmaker Andrea Segre (The Order of Things) as a “pre-opening” film on September 1, a day before the 2020  festival kicks off.  Segre shot Molecole in Venice during the pandemic, when the city was in lockdown. The film explores the director's connection to his late father, a Venetian scientist

The 77th Venice International Film Festival will open Sept. 2 with the out-of-competition premiere of Daniele Luchetti's Italian marital drama The Ties (Lacci), starring Alba Rohrwacher, Luigi Lo Cascio and Laura Morante. The festival runs through September 12.

Venice will announce its full competition lineup on Tuesday.