Stars, selfies and look-alikes: Live from the opening of the 71st Venice Film Festival.

3 September 2014
Inauguration Day @ 71st Venice Film Festival / Giornata inaugurale alla 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

There’s postcard Venice, with the pigeons in Piazza San Marco and the shops of Rialto, the packed canal boats and hordes of tourists taking photographs at every street corner.

And then there’s the microcosm of the Film Festival which makes the Lido into the world’s catwalk for ten days in August and September of every year, with divas from the world of film, people from the industry and fans chasing after autographs all packed in together. We were there, and here are our impressions of opening day.

We got off the train at Venice Santa Lucia station and discovered that there was a canal boat line called “MC” (Mostra del Cinema) to take us directly to the Festival. “Cool!” we thought, without realising that when the boat got in, it would be stuffed absolutely full… I guess we should have been expecting that!

 

Vaporetto station in Venice, Italy / Stazione Vaporetto a Venezia

Venice, Italy / Venezia, Italia

 

Just under an hour later, the boat moored at the Darsena behind the former Casino. Just steps away was the Palazzo del Cinema, packed with photographers and cameramen (with and without accreditation) as well as crowds of fans of all ages in search of autographs.

 

Venice Film Festival 2014 / 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

Fans @ Venice Film Festival / Fans alla 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

 

But in actual fact the best place to catch the stars is at the nearby Hotel Excelsior. This is where the black sedans set off to take the actors and directors to the red carpet. This year’s hottest trend is selfies with the stars. People no longer settle for an autograph or a quick snapshot, and there are plenty of VIP’s who are willing to cooperate, such as Italian actor and director Carlo Verdone, who even offers to take the photo himself. Here he is, about to run off to the Palazzo del Cinema with the other members of the festival jury.

 

Italian actor and director Carlo Verdone taking a selfie with a fan / Il regista e attore Carlo Verdone scatta un selfe con una fan

 

But it’s already red carpet time! One after another, world-wide celebrities appear, such as those from the cast of Birdman, the film that opens the festival: Emma Stone and Edward Norton, to mention only a couple. Or the godmother of the festival, Italian actress Luisa Ranieri

 

Photographers and Italian actress Luisa Ranieri on red carpet at 71st Venice Film Festival / Fotografi con l'attrice Luisa Ranieri sul tappeto rosso della 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

Celebrities on red carpet at 71st Venice Film Festival / Star e celebrità sul tappeto rosso della 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

 

… and the Winxes, cartoon fairies made flesh and blood for the occasion.

 

Winx characters on red carpet at 71st Venice Film Festival / I personaggi delle Winx sul tappeto rosso della 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

 

Alongside the “official” programme we come across satellite phenomena such as dubious doubles who get plenty of attention from some members of the press, no matter how unlikely they look. This is your big chance to interview Pavarotti… in 2014!

 

Pavarotti sosia

 

We stop by Movie Village, where we find the Industry Office bustling with activity: a landmark for people from the film industry, and the first spot for distribution of the Official Tote bag designed by Tucano for the 71st Venice Festival.

 

Movie Village @ 71st Venice Film Festival / 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

 

There are plenty of them around: both Biennale shopping bags for everyone with accreditation and the official Tote Bag of the Industry Office for the people from the film industry, for true fans and, if you want one… for you too!

 

Shopper la Biennale di Venezia

Official Tote Bag for the 71. Venice Film Festival / 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

Official Tote Bag for the 71. Venice Film Festival / 71. Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

 

Here’s our photo album of the day: