Venice Days: it's time for the 28 Times Cinema

Venice Days: it's time for the 28 Times Cinema

Venice will once again be the setting for the European Parliament's initiatives revolving around the LUX Prize, with the presentation of this year's three finalist films (in conjunction with the Venice Film Festival) and the project 28 Times Cinema, which brings young cinephiles from all E.U. countries to the Lido for Venice Days, with the support of Europa Cinemas and Cineuropa.org.
 
It’s the second time around for the Venice Days Award, and a fresh new team is on the Lido to assign it. The jury, comprised of young European cinephiles involved in the project 28 Times Cinema, is headed by Laurent Cantet. The 54-year old French filmmaker, winner of the Palme d’Or for The Class, is back at Venice Days to chair the jury for the Venice Days Award, which went to his own Return to Ithaca last year.
 
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 (all aged 18 to 25) is 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 are 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 leads the debates and helps 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 are no exception, with rousing discussions 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 include a number of musicians and, naturally, many filmmakers. The result is a truly pan-European jury whose members weigh 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.”