It's the second time around for the Venice Days Award, and a fresh new team will be on the Lido to assign it. This year the jury, comprised of young European cinephiles involved in the project 28 Times Cinema
, will be headed by Laurent Cantet
. The 54-year-old French filmmaker, winner of the Palme d'Or for The Class
, will be back at Venice Days to chair the jury for the Venice Days Award, which went to his own Return to Ithaca
And while the Venice Days Award is still taking its first steps, the project 28 Times Cinema is now in its sixth year, relaunching Venice Days' partnerships with the European Parliament LUX Prize
and Europa Cinemas
and renewing its collaboration with Cineuropa
. Each of the 28 young European cinephiles invited to Venice this year (all aged 18 to 25) will be representing an art house theater from their own native countries and sharing their views on film with the other 27 jury members from the other E.U. nations.
The jury discussions will be moderated by a figure who's practically a member of the Venice Days family by now: Karel Och
, artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival
and member of the LUX Prize selection panel. Och will be leading the debates and helping the young jurors place each of the films in competition in the proper context, encouraging lively discussions of their merits.
This taste for debate and analysis was the defining characteristic of all the earlier editions of 28 Times Cinema, and this year's candidates should be no exception, with rousing discussions in store at the Villa degli Autori. "I study film culture at university and have no doubt that this is what I want to do in life. I am a young, lesbian woman, I am creative, bold and not afraid to speak my mind," warns Katja from Sweden.
Students majoring in film, literature and art history, but also law and medicine, the young people taking part in the project this year include a number of musicians and, naturally, many filmmakers. The result will be a truly pan-European jury whose members will be weighing the films on the lineup from different points of view and with different expectations, yet the common denominator is curiosity and respect. "I believe that cinema is a way of finding oneself and learning something new about our age, our society and other people," explains Maarja, the Estonian candidate, while Aušra from Lithuania, when asked about her role as a juror, confidently replies, "A jury member assesses the film's relevance in today's society. They need to understand if the material presented is only important to the director, or will it resonate with a wide audience as well. A juror, having a better understanding of cinematic history, has to also take the innovation and bold decisions that the filmmakers bring to the table, into account."
Are you curious to learn the jurors' verdict? You can find out on September 11 at 10:30 during the jury's final session, which will be open to the public and livestreamed. Stay tuned!