65th Venice Film Festival Journal
65 Mostra Internazionale d-arte Cinematografica
August 27, 2008
Greetings one and all from Venice, Italy. It is about 90f and the sky is as blue as blue can be. The Adriatic Ocean is right across the street and the few peeks I got of it today show it reflecting the dome above beautifully.
I arrived yesterday at the Marco Polo Airport right on time at 9.30am, Tuesday, August 25, from Boston through JFK … pardon all typo-s please… this is a euro keyboard and since I am on the clock in the press room… I will do the best I can and improvise as needed with punctuation! I took the water taxi … the big one… to the Lido Island … the barrier island to Venice, the last glimpse of land that Marco Polo had when he left on his big voyage. The Catholic Jury, that is, SIGNIS jury, is billeted at the Hotel Riviera which is located right across from the boat landing.
But about the flight over. The man across the aisle from me started snoring before the dinner service was finished. I thought to myself, mama mia. This all night… So for the first time in my many flights over the last 40 years, I used the ear plugs that Delta handed out. I slept for FIVE HOURS. Please do try the ear plugs on your next long flight! However, this was an old Delta plane so they only showed one movie in 8 hours and it was Prince Caspian which I had already seen, so sleep became an easy option. Cannot believe I never tried those ear plugs before!
After I check in at the hotel I took the bus to the festival site and got my credentials, then back to the hotel for a nice snooze. I was so glad I was here when the flight computers in the USA went down, though I am sorry for everyone who got stuck on their journeys….
Day One August 27, 2008
The festival really begins tonight with the screening of the Coen Brothers new film, BURN AFTER READING and a short film by the 100 year old filmmaker, Manoel de Oliveira, Do Visivel ao Invisivel, FROM THE VISIBLE TO THE INVISIBLE. However, our jury was not ninvited to this red carpet event, so we were able to see the films earlier with the rest of the press corps and independent jury members.
There really is a feeling of festival here in Venice as the Italians love their cinema. American films are also popular, though it often depends on who stars, or directs. The streets are getting more and morecrowded as the evening,s events draw near. I think the best time to come to the press room, however, is inthe evening. I tried before and it was always full of people using the 80 computer stations available.
The cast of BURN AFTER READING and the COEN BROTHERS
We had our first meeting as a jury this afternoon at the Excelsior Hotel … a historic monument but now a Westin. I was asked to serve as president, and am very honored, only the third female since 1993 to do so. It is not a difficult job, however, as everyone is on the same page regarding criteria (human and Gospel values in art and story, etc.). We will meet next week and then again on Sept 5th to vote for the SIGNIS prize winner.
The jury members … some of you will know some of us… are PETER MALONE, MSH, who heads the SIGNIS film desk, the co author of the Lights, Camera, Faith series, and a film reviewer for over 40 years…RAFFAELLA GIANCRISTOFARO, a journalist and film critic with ROLLINGSTONE magazine Italy and who once worked with Maria Grazia Alberione, the niece of the founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione, SSP, SERGIO JOEL ASCENSIO CASILLAS, a priest of the archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, who is studying at the Pont. Salesian University, a film journalist who runs a major film festival in Guadalajara, FED|ERICO PONTIGGIO, a film journalist, for both print and online outlets, FREDDIE SATOR, a film journalist for two magazines from Belgium, CHARLES MARTIG, a Swiss film journalist and educator, and director of the Catholic Film Office for the Swiss German Bishops, Conference out of Zurich and me.
This evening,s film is JERICHOW. I will report tomorrow!
I am taking photos and some video with my digital camera… I will see what I can do to post something as these 12 days go by! Blessings to all