The Venice Film Festival or Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Volpi in 1932, the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the Lido island.
Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals and is part of the Venice Biennale, a major biennial exhibition and festival for contemporary art. The festival's principal awards are the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion), which is awarded to the best film screened at the festival, and the Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup), which is awarded to the best actor and actress. In 2002, the San Marco Award was introduced for the best film of the Controcorrente ("Against the stream") section.
Golden Lion winners
Il Leone d’Oro (English: The Golden Lion) is the highest prize given to a film at the Biennale Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most distinguished prizes. In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced; this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema.
The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of St. Mark (the winged lion which had appeared on the flag of the Venetian Republic). Previously, the equivalent prize was the Gran Premio Internazionale di Venezia (Grand International Prize of Venice), awarded in 1947 and 1948. Before that, from 1934 until 1942, the highest awards were the Coppa Mussolini (Mussolini Cups) for Best Italian Film and Best Foreign Film.
No Golden Lions were awarded between 1969 and 1979. According to the Biennale's official website, this hiatus was a result of the 1968 Lion being awarded to the radically experimental Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos; the website says that the awards "still had a statute dating back to the fascist era and could not side-step the general political climate. Sixty-eight produced a dramatic fracture with the past.
The Leone d’Argento (English: Silver Lion) refers to a number of awards presented at the Venice Film Festival. The Silver Lion is awarded irregularly and have gone through several changes of purpose. Until 1995, Silver Lions were infrequently awarded to a number of films as second prize for those nominated for the Golden Lion. At various times, Silver Lions have also been awarded for debut films, short films and direction.
Special Jury Prize
The Special Jury Prize is an award given at the Venice Film Festival. It is awarded to one or two films per year and is considered less prestigious than the main award, the Golden Lion.
The Volpi Cups are awards given to actors at the Venice Film Festival. Awards for best actor and best actress have been given since 1935. In the mid-1990s awards were also given to supporting actors and actresses, and in 1993 an award was given to an entire cast. The cup is named in honor of Count Volpi di Misurata, the founder of the Venice Film Festival.
The Golden Osella is the name of several awards given at the Venice Film Festival. They are awarded irregularly and in various categories such as directing, screenwriting, cinematography and 'technical contributions.