MILA (APPLES) by CHRISTOS NIKOU
MILA (APPLES) by CHRISTOS NIKOU

The Web Theatre at Venice International Film Festival returns for its ninth edition with a selection of films from the Orizzonti, Out of Competition and Biennale College – Cinema sections available online on La Biennale di Venezia’s official website.

This is an opportunity for audiences around the world to discover the Venice Film Festival’s filmmakers and films at the cutting edge of international cinema’s aesthetic and expressive trends.

The 2020 Web Theatre titles also include 4 long-anticipated Italian films: Molecole by Andrea Segre (Out of Competition – Pre-Opening Film), La verità su La dolce vita by Giuseppe Pedersoli (Out of Competition), Guerra e pace by Martina Parenti and Massimo D’Anolfi (Orizzonti), the duo was in competition in Venice in 2016 with Spira mirabilis, and Nowhere Special by Uberto Pasolini (Orizzonti), winner of the Festival’s Orizzonti prize in 2013 for Still Life.

From the Orizzonti section, the 2020 Web Theatre program will feature the premieres of features directed by internationally acclaimed and award-winning filmmakers from around the world such as Filipino director Lav Diaz, Golden Lion in Venice in 2016 for The Woman Who Left who is now presenting Genus Pan, as well as Iranian filmmakers Ahmad Bahrami (The Wasteland) and Shahram Mokri (Careless Crime), winner of the 2013 Orizzonti Special Award in Venice, Palestinian directors Arab and Tarzan Nasser (Gaza mon amour), Yulene Olaizola (Selva trágica) from Mexico, and Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Yellow Cat) from Kazakhstan. The directorial debuts of Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou (Mila-Apples, opening the Orizzonti section) and Moroccan filmmaker Ismaël El Iraki (Zanka Contact) will also be part of the selection.

The Web Theatre program also features two full-length premieres from Biennale College – Cinema, a higher-education workshop for the development and production of micro-budget feature films whose first edition took place in 2012. This year’s Biennale College titles are El arte de volver by Pedro Collantes (Spain), a story of four different encounters, each one shortly preceding someone’s death and granting characters one last human interaction before leaving this world, and Fucking with Nobody by Hannaleena Hauru (Finland), on five characters trying to work in the Finnish film industry who cross paths through one fake marriage project ¾ two kaleidoscopic stories on the role of chance and the human condition.

2020 Web Theatre Program

Out of Competition

LA VERITÀ SU ‘LA DOLCE VITA’
by GIUSEPPE PEDERSOLI, Italy

The film chronicles the troubled and venturesome making of Fellini’s masterpiece; a film we thought we knew all about and yet we don’t, as Pedersoli’s film shows. The director is the grandson of the film’s producer Giuseppe Amato, without whom Fellini’s work would have never seen the light of day. On October 20, 1959, Amato, a producer of many neorealist gems, is sitting in an empty screening room watching what would become Federico Fellini’s most celebrated work after the film has been turned down by all other producers. The director’s cut is over four hours long: Fellini is unwilling to make any changes to his version and Rizzoli is not going to distribute it as it is. Peppino Amato is about to make the hardest decision he has ever had to make.

GIUSEPPE PEDERSOLI (Rome, Italy, 1961) is a documentary filmmaker, producer and screenwriter. He is the son of famous actor Carlo Pedersoli, better known as Bud Spencer, and the grandson of producer Giuseppe Amato. Among the films he worked on as producer are Speaking of the Devil (1991), and Troublemakers (1994), both starring his father, the TV series Noi siamo angeli (1997), as well as the direct-to-TV films Padre Speranza (2005) and I delitti del cuoco (2010). He was among the producers of the Julius Caesar series (2004) featuring Richard Harris, Christopher Walken and Valeria Golino. In 2009 he produced Massimo Venier’s comedy Generation 1000 Euros.

PRINCESSE EUROPE
CAMILLE LOTTEAU, France
with Bernard-Henri Lévy
(in collaboration with the City of Venice)

Directed by Bernard-Henry Lévy long-time collaborator, the film documents the highly successful international tour of the French philosopher’s self-written solo show. The documentary will be presented in collaboration with the City of Venice in a Special Screening at the Scuola della Misericordia and followed by a roundtable on the EU. The film deals with the 2019 European Parliament Elections as seen through the lens of philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy’s touring show. The director presents different perspectives on the subject through interviews with men and women, EU citizens and refugees, renowned personalities and ordinary people expressing their views in favor of or against the EU. The result of this mix of diverse ideas is a multifaceted take on contemporary European society.

CAMILLE LOTTEAU (1984) is a filmmaker and editor. She has contributed to many full-length and short documentary and fictional films such as Suite Armoricaine directed by Pascale Breton, winner of the FIPRESCI Award in 2015 and nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. Princesse Europe, her second film as a director after her 2010 debut Bord de, renews her collaboration with Bernard-Henri Lévy, with whom she had worked for the documentaries Peshmerga (2016) and La bataille de Mossoul (2017).

MOLECOLE (PRE-OPENING FILM)
by ANDREA SEGRE, Italy

Between February and April 2020, director Andrea Segre was stuck in Venice as the Coronavirus pandemic began its spread. Besides being the place where he has set many of his projects, Venice is also his father’s native city. All of a sudden, the pandemic froze the capital of the Veneto region into an empty shell that was finally reconnected with its history and environment, as well as the filmmaker’s own past. During those days Segre collected the visual notes and stories that make the bulk of Molecole, a documentary in which he also explores his relationship with his Venetian father ¾ a scientist, physicist and chemist who passed away ten years prior to the making of this film and serves as its main protagonist. The city’s isolation becomes one with the sense of loneliness felt by Segre himself, who also wrote the film’s original script.

ANDREA SEGRE (Dolo, Italy, 1976) is a director of narrative and documentary films. Il pianeta in mare (2019) premiered in Venice in 2019 out of competition. His first fiction film, Shun Li and the Poet (2011), was presented in Venice in the Giornate degli Autori section; First Snowfall (2013) was also in Venice in the Orizzonti section, whereas The Order of Things (2017) premiered at the Festival as a Special Screening. Among the documentary films Segre directed are Lo sterminio dei popoli zingari (1998, his debut film), Marghera Canale Nord (2003, Special Screening in Venice), Come un uomo sulla terra (2008), Il sangue verde (2010, Giornate degli Autori), Mare Chiuso (co-directed by Stefano Liberti, 2012, a Council of Europe Collateral Event in Venice) and I sogni del lago salato (2015, Special Project in Giornate degli Autori).

Orizzonti

MILA (APPLES) – OPENING FILM
by CHRISTOS NIKOU, Greece, Poland, Slovenia
with Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovasili

The film is a variation on the theme of a mysterious pandemic causing sudden amnesia in the population. Aris, a thirty-something loner, falls victim to an instant wave of collective memory loss affecting the city he lives in and finds himself enrolled in a program designed to help people recover from this condition.

CHRISTOS NIKOU (Athens, Greece, 1984) is a Greek filmmaker and screenwriter presenting his directorial debut. In 2012 his short film KM was nominated in the Best Short Film category at the Stockholm Film Festival. In 2013 he was among the nominees in the Best Live-Action Short 15 Minutes and Under category at the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and won the Best Short Film Award that same year at the Motovun Film Festival, Croatia.

DASHTE KHAMOUSH (THE WASTELAND)
by AHMAD BAHRAMI, Iran
with Ali Bagheri, Farrokh Nemati, Majid Farhang, Mahdieh Nassaj, Touraj Alvand

The first of the two Iranian films in the Orizzonti section is a black-and-white feature set in a rundown brick factory located in the middle of a nowhere and run by a boss who is not paying his employees, consisting of a submissive team leader in charge of workers split by ethnic and religious divides. This non-mechanized brick factory is an important source of income for the local community made up of families belonging to different ethnic groups. Forty-year-old Lotfollah is employed there as a submissive team leader and only mediator between the factory’s workers and the owner, who settles all their disputes but is hardly prone to any act of kindness.

AHMAD BAHRAMI (Iran, 1972) is an Iranian filmmaker. After participating in Abbas Kiarostami’s Filmmaking Workshop in Iran in 2010, he made his directorial debut in 2017 with the feature film Panah. In this film, set in heart of the Iranian desert, the life of a small village is entirely dependent on the main character, a judicious young boy who is always willing to help others but is also full of doubts and questions about his future.

GUERRA E PACE
by MASSIMO D’ANOLFI, MARTINA PARENTI, Italy, Switzerland

After a four-year hiatus, documentary filmmakers Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti are back in Venice with another work divided into chapters ¾ this time there are four of them. Including footage from modern sources as well as pioneering films made in the early days of cinema, the documentary centers on the enduring relationship between cinema and war dating back to over one hundred years ago, when Italy invaded Libya in 1911, and continuing to this day.

MASSIMO D’ANOLFI (Pescara, Italy, 1974) and MARTINA PARENTI (Milan, Italy, 1972) are filmmakers, screenwriters and producers. Their feature film Il castello won the AVANTI! Award and the Jury Special Prize at the 2011 Turin Film Festival. In 2011, Il castello also won the Best International Documentary Award at Docville, and was nominated at the 2012 David di Donatello awards in the Best Full-Length Documentary category. In 2013 their feature film Materia Oscura won the Human Rights Award at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. In 2016 their feature film Spira Mirabilis was selected for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival competition.

LAHI, HAYOP (GENUS PAN)
by LAV DIAZ, The Philippines
with Bart Guingona, DMs Boongaling, Nanding Josef, Hazel Orencio, Joel Saracho, Noel Sto. Domingo

Four years after winning the Golden Lion in 2016 for The Woman Who Left, Lav Diaz is back in Venice with yet another story of marginalization shot in vivid black and white and reflecting on the notions of “human” and “humanity”.

LAV DIAZ (Cotabato, Mindanao, The Philippines, 1958) is a director, screenwriter and cinematographer, as well as one of the most influential filmmakers in Filipino cinema. In 2007, his feature film Death in the Land of Encantos won a Special Mention in the Orizzonti section at the 64th Venice Film Festival; one year later, his film Melancholia won the Best Film award in the Orizzonti section. In 2014, his feature film From What Is Before won the Golden Leopard in Locarno. He was in competition in Berlin in 2016 with A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery, which won the Alfred Bauer Prize. In 2016 he won the Golden Lion in Venice for The Woman Who Left.

ZANKA CONTACT
by ISMAËL EL IRAKI, France, Morocco, Belgium
with Khansa Batma, Ahmed Hammoud, Saïd Bey, Abderrahmane Oubihem, Mourad Zaoui.

Set in the streets of Casablanca, Morocco, the film chronicles the impossible getaway of Larsen, a drug addict and former player in a rock band, and Rajae, a luscious prostitute with a formidable voice. He writes the songs and her voice sets them on fire: a fierily passionate couple whose only goal is to make their voices heard through their music.

ISMAËL EL IRAKI (1983) is a Paris-based Moroccan filmmaker and screenwriter presenting his directorial debut at the Festival. In 2009, his short film H’rash was awarded a Special Mention at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

JENAYAT-E BI DEGHAT (CARELESS CRIME)
by SHAHRAM MOKRI, Iran
with Babak Karimi, Razieh Mansouri, Abolfazl Kahani, Mohammad Sareban, Adel Yaraghi, Mahmoud Behraznia

This is the third film directed by one of Iran’s most talented and interesting filmmakers of his generation, whose debut film Fish and Cat was acclaimed in Venice in 2013 and won an award for Best Innovative Content. In modern-day Iran, an arson attack to a movie theater perpetrated by four individuals brings to mind the events of forty years earlier. In the late 1970s, when the revolution against the Shah’s regime broke out, some demonstrators began setting movie theaters on fire to protest against Western culture. The situation deteriorated when about 400 people burned to death in one of them.

SHAHRAM MOKRI (1978) is an Iranian filmmaker and screenwriter. His career spans different film formats including TV series and documentaries. In 2013 his feature film Fish and Cat won the Special Jury Prize for Best Innovative Content in the Orizzonti section at the 70th Venice Film Festival, and in 2014 he was awarded the Youth Jury and FIPRESCI Awards as well as the Grand Prix at the Fribourg International Film Festival. In 2018, he presented Invasion at the Berlin Film Festival.

GAZA MON AMOUR
by TARZAN NASSER, ARAB NASSER, Palestine, France, Germany, Portugal, Qatar
with Salim Daw, Hiam Abbass, Maisa Abd Elhadi, George Iskandar, Hitham Al Omai

The film tells the story of a Palestinian man’s living conditions and willingness to leave in search for a better life in a lighthearted and yet engaged style. Gaza, today. Sixty-year-old Issa is secretly in love with Siham, a woman who works as a dressmaker at the market. Finally determined to propose, Issa discovers an ancient statue of Apollo in his fishing net, which he decides to hide at home. When Hamas discovers the existence of this mysterious treasure, troubles begin for Issa. Will he still succeed in professing his love for Siham?

TARZAN NASSER, ARAB NASSER (Gaza, Palestine, 1988) are Palestinian filmmakers, screenwriters and production designers. In 2013, their short film Condom Lead was presented at Cannes, as was the feature film Degradé in 2015 in the Semaine de la Critique section. That same year, Degradé was nominated for the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Best Cinematography Award at the Athens International Film Festival

SELVA TRÁGICA
by YULENE OLAIZOLA, Mexico, France, Colombia
with Indira Andrewin, Gilberto Barraza, Mariano Tun Xool, Lázaro Gabino Rodríguez, Eligio Meléndez

This is Yulene Olaizola’s fourth feature film after the young Mexican director’s previous works were selected by several international festivals. 1920, on the border between Mexico and Belize. Deep in the Mayan jungle, a lawless territory where myths abound, a group of Mexican gum workers cross paths with Agnes, a mysterious young Belizean woman. Her presence incites tension among the men, arousing their fantasies and desires. Filled with new vigor, they face their destiny without knowing that they have woken up Xtabay, a legendary being that lurks in the heart of the jungle.

YULENE OLAIZOLA (Mexico City, Mexico, 1983) is a Mexican filmmaker and producer. Her directorial debut Shakespeare and Víctor Hugo’s Intimacies won the Best Film Award at the 2008 Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema and was awarded the Don Quixote Award, the FIPRESCI Award and the Special Jury Prize at the Fribourg International Film Festival. In 2009, the film also won the Ariel Award for Best Directorial Debut. In 2012 the feature film Fogo was nominated for the C.I.C.A.E. Award at Cannes.

NOWHERE SPECIAL
by UBERTO PASOLINI, Italy, Romania, UK
with James Norton, Daniel Lamont

After his critically acclaimed Still Life, Uberto Pasolini took seven years to complete his latest film, based on a real story and featuring James Norton as a father who is given only a few months to live and therefore attempts to find a new, perfect family for his three-year-old son. Inspired by true events, this story centers on the powerful relationship between a father and his son and on ordinary characters living a simple and yet bittersweet everyday life.

UBERTO PASOLINI (Rome, Italy, 1957) is an Italian filmmaker, producer and screenwriter. In 1998 he produced the feature film The Full Monty, which won the BAFTA for Best Film and was nominated at the Academy Awards in the Best Cinematography category. In 2008 his feature film Machan premiered at the 65th Venice Film Festival. In 2013, Still Life was presented at the 70th Venice Film Festival and won the top prize in the Orizzonti section.

ZHELTAYA KOSHKA (YELLOW CAT)
by ADILKHAN YERZHANOV, Kazakhstan, France
with Azamat Nigmanov, Kamila Nugmanova, Sanjar Madi, Yerzhan Zhamankulov, Yerken Gubashev, Nurbek Mukushev

Prolific Kazakh filmmaker Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s first eight films were often selected by international film festivals, two of which in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, but none of them has been screened in Italy so far. In this film, a young boy runs away from his village following a petty crime and starts a new life far from home. He wants everyone to know he can do a great Alain Delon impression: his specialty is the character in Le Samouraï, although he’s probably never seen the whole film. Along the way, he meets a young prostitute he would like to open a theater with. The story pays tribute to the French New Wave by reinventing the slapstick comedy genre with a Kazakh-Western touch.

ADILKHAN YERZHANOV (Djekazgan, Kazakhstan, 1982) is a Kazakh filmmaker and screenwriter. He directed several short and full-length films. In 2014 his film The Owners won the Gold Plaque – Special Mention for Originality at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2018, his film The Gentle Indifference of the World is at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. In 2019 his feature film A Dark-Dark Man won the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Achievement in Directing.

Biennale College – Cinema

EL ARTE DE VOLVER
by PEDRO COLLANTES, Spain
with Macarena García, Nacho Sánchez, Ingrid García-Jonsson

The film tells the story of four different encounters, each one shortly preceding someone’s death and granting characters one last human interaction before leaving this world. Oblivious as they are to their imminent death, the characters in the film experience the whole spectrum of emotions ¾ rage, love, lust, tenderness, greed or sympathy ¾ a sign of humans’ blissful unawareness of time’s relentless progress towards death.

Born in Madrid, PEDRO COLLANTES studied editing and later graduated from an MA at the Netherlands Film Academy. He has worked as an editor in Spain, Norway and Belgium. As a writer & director his short films have screened and awarded in several international film festivals. His short films, SERORI and OFF ICE, were selected by the magazine “Cahiers du Cinema-Spain” among the best Spanish short films in 2014 and 2017. His work was also shown at the Biennale di Venezia 2015. His most recent short film, ATO SAN NEN, was an official selection for the César 2019 to best short film.

FUCKING WITH NOBODY
by HANNALEENA HAURU, Finland
with Hannaleena Hauru, Lasse Poser, Samuel Kujala

The lives of five characters trying to work in the Finnish film industry cross paths through one fake marriage project.

HANNALEENA HAURU (Hyvinkää, Finland, 1983) is a screenwriter and director. Her first feature film ”Thick Lashes of Lauri Mäntyvaara” (2016) was developed at Torino Film Lab and Cannes Cinéfondation Residency, and premiered at Torino Film Festival 2017. Her earlier short films have been premiering in Cannes Critics’ week, Berlinale Generations, and awarded at Oberhausen, Uppsala and Tampere Film Festivals. Hannaleena has graduated from Aalto University, ELO Helsinki Film School majoring in screenwriting, but is more known from her active participation in Nisi Masa European Network of Young Cinema and the Montreal based “Kino Movement” community.

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