Biennale College – Cinema, an initiative by the Venice International Film Festival, has assigned the Biennale grant to make 26 micro-budget feature films so far, including the four that will be screened at the coming 77th festival edition, to promote new talents that have established their name around the world.
Biennale Collage – Cinema is a higher-education workshop that since 2012 has enriched the European cinema scene. The fund will allocate around €150,000 for each film.
The projects include The Fits, a debut feature-length film by the young American director Anna Rose Holmer. The film has just been added by the Criterion Channel to the prestigious Criterion Collection, dedicated to restored classics and contemporary films. The collection is defined by director Wes Anderson as the “Louvre of films”.
The Fits is the story of a 13-year-old girl who lives in the West End of Cincinnati and practices boxing with a passion. When The Fits was made for the Biennale College Cinema programme in 2015, it demonstrated that a micro-budget film could be both imaginative and entertaining. Critical reaction at its world premiere screening at the Venice Film Festival that year was positive on all sides.
Stephanie Zacharek wrote in “The Village Voice” that The Fits “could easily find a place in almost any art house in the United States.” Later, the film was invited to festivals such as Deauville, Sundance, San Francisco, Nashville, and Seattle. Royalty Hightower received the Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review for her lively and compelling role as the young tomboy whose obsession with joining a community dance group takes a mysterious turn.
When The Fits premiered on the Criterion Channel last month, it was described in glowing terms: “Anna Rose Holmer’s mesmerising feature debut is a transfixing sensory experience and a potent portrait of adolescent turmoil.”
The call of the Biennale College – Cinema International is open to teams composed of directors making their debut or sophomore film, associated with producers who have to their credit at least three audiovisual works, or a feature-length fiction film, or a documentary, distributed and/or presented at festivals.
Nine micro-budget projects will be invited to participate in a development workshop in October 2020 in Venice, along with the three projects selected from the Italian call (Biennale College – Cinema Italia).
The announcement of the twelve projects selected for the educational workshop in October will be made during the 77th Venice Film Festival, directed by Alberto Barbera. After that, the two separate sections of the 8th edition of the College Cinema programme, BCC-Italia and BCC-International will move along the same track, leading to the selection and presentation of four micro-budget feature-length films at the 78th Venice Film Festival in 2021.