The triumph of our own Canadian entry is a sign of the times. Ariane Louis-Seize wields the world of vampires with keen intelligence and irony, as an excuse to portray women’s empowerment

Vampiresque, romantic, and ironic: all pertain to the winning film of the GdA Director’s Award at Giornate’s 20th edition this year, the Quebec comedy Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person by Ariane Louis-Seize.

“Altogether there were four vampire films screening at Venice’s 80.,” declare Giorgio Gosetti and Gaia Furrer, respectively General Delegate and Artistic Director of Giornate. “The triumph of our own Canadian entry is a sign of the times. Ariane Louis-Seize wields the world of vampires with keen intelligence and irony, as an excuse to portray women’s empowerment and speak about empathy and all those feelings that will restore humanity to the world, a recurring theme in many films on our 2023 lineup. What’s more, it’s the first time ever that the three films shortlisted for the GdA Director’s Award – Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, Melk, and Through the Night – are all first films directed by women.”

The Belgian drama film about gender-based violence, Through the Night by Delphine Girard, has garnered the Audience Award, while the Europa Cinemas Label goes to Photophobia (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine) by Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík, for a film that examines daily life during the war in Ukraine through the eyes of two children.

So concludes the adventure of Giornate’s twentieth time around, which started with an image by artist Anna Franceschini, in which the marble of a statue is juxtaposed on the airy playfulness of a woman in a red dress.

Giornate, the independent sidebar of the Venice Film Festival promoted by the filmmakers’ associations ANAC and 100autori, welcomed festgoers to the splendid Sala Perla after its recent restyling. Of the ten films on the competition lineup, five were directed by women. For the first time, three of these made the shortlist for the GdA Director’s Award; along with Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, directed by Ariane Louis-Seize, two other titles battled it out for the prize at the final deliberations of the jury of young European cinephiles in the 27 Times Cinema program: Melk by Stefanie Kolk and Through the Night by Delphine Girard. There were seven special event films, while Peter Sarsgaard, playing a middle-class journalist during the Spanish Flu (1918), not only starred in but also co-produced Giornate’s closing film this year, the American  title Coup! by Austin Stark and Joseph Schuman.

For the third year in a row, the Casa degli Autori, a stone’s throw from the Palazzo del Cinema and the lagoon facing Venice, hosted a rich and varied program packed with screenings and other events. Starting with Venetian Nights, held in the Sala Laguna: jointly organized with Isola Edipo and co-directed by Gaia Furrer and Silvia Jop, the showcase featured eight films, alternating narrative films and documentaries. The same theater was the go-to venue for five Special Screenings, kicked off by Nina of the Wolves by Antonio Pisu.

Across the board, there were twenty-six other events on top of the thirty-three films on the Giornate lineup, ranging from presentations of future projects like Venice Kids (with Enzo D’Alò as its ambassador) to sneak previews like the one for the series YOLO – You Only Love Once, produced by QMI. Some of the headliners featured training, others in-depth looks at film issues. They included: the Bookciak, Azione! Award that pre-opened Giornate, the masterclasses jointly arranged with CSC – the National Film School; and the 2023 MeToo event, partnered with 100autori and Isola Edipo.

The Spazio Regione del Veneto / Veneto Film Commission was the venue of choice for the conversations at Miu Miu Women’s Tales, featuring women filmmakers Alamat Kusijanović and Ava DuVernay, actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal and Danica Curcic, and costume designer Catherine Martin, all interviewed by Penny Martin.

The guest list at Giornate over the two weeks of the Venice Film Festival was lavish, with film personalities accompanying their films or taking part in audience events on the Lido. Among them, actors, directors, screenwriters, and other artists the likes of Isabelle Huppert, Luca Guadagnino, Shirin Neshat, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Magnussen, Lola Dueñas, Kasia Smutniak, Salvatore Esposito, Teona Strugar Mitevska, Hiam Abbass, Céline Sciamma, Monia Chokri, Donatella Finocchiaro, Chiara Civello, Tommaso Ragno, Maya Sansa, Sergio Rubini, Sandra Ceccarelli, Ana Torrent, Sara Ciocca, Ludovica Martino and Giovanni Caccamo.

The former Villa degli Autori, the location where Giornate degli Autori was founded 20 years ago, has been for another year an exclusive and vibrant hotspot under the name of “La Villa”. This is thanks to our cultural promoter, Francesco Marchetti, and The Hollywood Reporter Roma, main media partner of Giornate. Within these ten days, we have hosted and welcomed a multitude of exciting and inspiring guests. Amongst many international personalities, we welcomed Michael Mann, Sofia Coppola, Adam Driver, Patrick Dempsey, Priscilla Presley, Pier Francesco Favino, Matt Dillon, Anna Ferzetti, Caterina Murino, Raül Bova Rocío Morales, Masia Smutniak and Stefano Sollima.

Giornate degli Autori continues to seek to attract audiences that are more and more diverse, by offering its screening program and other activities on online channels, from the more traditional and institutional outlets to the social media used by its youngest audiences. In addition to the 83,300 unique viewers of the Giornate website, over 63,000 more people have been reached on Facebook in the last month; 27,000 accounts involved on Instagram, with 303,000 impressions; plus 115,000 views on YouTube and 99,000 on Twitter. The steady upward trend on TikTok is remarkable, with our followers having more than doubled, 28,000 likes for our videos and 1.1 million total views – further proof that lovers of fine auteur film are on the rise, and Giornate degli Autori is part of the makeover of independent cinema audiences.