The Venice Film Festival has been banned for the first time in its history international News services and broadcasters, other than Italy’s state broadcaster RAI TV, have taken out photo-festival press conferences and have imposed strict limits on the amount of footage they are allowed to use from Venice’s red carpet.
The move, which veteran festival-goers call “unprecedented,” has lifted the arms of news services AP, Getty and Reuters. The three groups, which provide daily video footage and news coverage from the festival to broadcasters around the world, wrote a joint letter to the festival protesting the restrictions, which they said appeared to them at the last minute.
We first heard about this on Wednesday [the first day of the festival] When, before we could get our accreditation, we had to sign a statement, in Italian, obligating us with these new rules,” an editor from one of the three big news services said, speaking on the condition of anonymity while their “company numbers” are out of their legal position.
Citing “Italian law,” the restrictions state that news services can use a maximum of 90 seconds of footage from each red carpet event. in premiere last night for bones and everything, that would have covered star Timothée Chalamet as he got out of his car and into the crowds of raucous fans. For the festival’s press conferences, video news services are completely blocked and can only use 90 seconds of footage provided to them by RAI, the festival’s official broadcaster.
“It basically prevents us from reporting on the festival, from doing the job we came here to do,” said a reporter from a major news service. “You can’t tell the story of a complex movie in 90 seconds, with just a few soundtracks.”
Venice’s official broadcaster, RAI, who has paid big for the franchise, is committed to filming every red carpet and every official festival press conference from Biennale 79 in exchange for some exclusivity. This, in and of itself, is nothing new. Many major events – from film festivals to award shows to sports tournaments – sign similar broadcasting agreements. At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the French public network France Televisions was the only channel allowed to film the opening and closing ceremonies, for example, with other broadcasters having to use their photos. But the gun has never been told by third-party broadcasters that there are limits to how much of their private footage they can use.
“The idea that we can’t use our self-portraits, to which we have the copyright, is absurd,” one of the editors at the news agency said.
Others accused the Venice Festival of violating media access laws by not allowing broadcasters to film press conferences.
“The red carpet is a thing, but not being allowed to attend press conferences means our reporters can’t do their job,” another editor notes. “The press conference is often the only opportunity we have to ask questions of the film’s director or stars.”
The restrictions may have broader implications for the marketing and promotion of showing films in Venice. One of the main appeals of the festival’s premiere at Lido is the extensive global coverage of red carpet festivals and press conferences, coverage that helps create a buzz around a film and can be used to increase audience interest prior to its release. Netflix, which has four films in competition in Venice this year, has an exclusive deal with Getty to film all of its shows on the red carpet, but now it will legally only be able to use a minute and a half of each. Netflix declined to comment for this story.
When asked, the Venice Film Festival declined to comment on this story, but the law mentioned in the new regulations appears to refer to European media access legislation. The legislation requires networks with exclusive broadcast contracts for major public events in Europe to provide some of their footage to outside broadcasters.
The law states that 90 seconds must be provided as a “minimum”. The law was put in place to ensure that the media did not ban major events deemed to be in the clear public interest. One broadcasting executive, familiar with the legislation, called its use to restrict access to the media “the opposite of the spirit of the law.”
Festival news service representatives met Friday to discuss restrictions but spoke to The Hollywood Reporter In the background, they said they don’t expect anything to change this year.
“This is something we have to accept, unfortunately,” said one editor. “But if these rules remain in place, we will have to reassess whether we want to go back to the Venice Film Festival next year.”
The Hollywood Reporter I reached out to RAI for comment.