Sala Web: 11 world premieres for the 71st Venice Film Festival’s web theatre

For the third consecutive year Sala Web, the web theatre of Venice Film Festival, will once more provide a unique opportunity for professionals and audiences both to screen selected titles from the 71st edition of the Mostra from the comfort of their own computers, and from anywhere in the world.

8 feature films in the Orizzonti section, dedicated to showcasing new trends in world cinema, and 3 feature films from the Biennale College – Cinema, the Biennale’s own laboratory for the development and production of micro-budget films, are now confirmed for the 2014 edition of the Venice Biennale’s Sala Web, which allows audiences worldwide to screen these selections of the Venice International Film Festival.

Sala Web will make these titles available to stream worldwide, for an exclusive five day window beginning on the date of their official presentation by the 71st Venice International Film Festival, which runs from August 27th to September 6th on the Venice Lido.

Festival Director Alberto Barbera commented: “By expanding the viewing window for films on Sala Web this year, we hope to make the Web Theatre an ever more flexible and valuable service for anyone interested in following the Mostra in 2014 – from cinephiles everywhere in the world to journalists, fellow festival programmers and distributors who can all use Sala Web to discover brand new works of cinema that may otherwise have remained beyond their reach. Sala Web provides this special opportunity for audiences around the world to ‘connect’ directly with the Venice Film Festival and discover the voices and films representing some of the most inventive and expressive aesthetic trends in world cinema today, from established filmmakers as well as emerging talents. As the Internet continues to change the ways in which audiences discover, discuss and share films, the Biennale continues to work to embrace the many possibilities provided by this new digital landscape.”

The audience for each Sala Web screening is strictly capped at 800 admissions per screening, with each ticket granting users access a one time only viewing of their chosen film. Sala Web’s online screenings will be operated on a secure site by Festival Scope, the online platform for film industry professionals, on behalf of the Venice Film Festival.

Digital tickets for the Sala Web screenings are all priced at 4€ and will go on sale through a dedicated online box office beginning Monday August 18th.  Sala Web titles will be available to screen in their original versions, with English subtitles for all non-English language titles, for a period of 5 days beginning at 9 pm (Italian time) on the day of each film’s official presentation on the Lido.



The President directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf

THE PRESIDENT by Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Orizzonti) / Screening: Wednesday 27 August – Buy your tickets here

In an imaginary village in the Caucasus, a President is on the run with his five-year-old grandson following a coup d’état. The two travel across the lands that the President once governed. Now, disguise as a street musician to avoid being recognized, the former dictator comes into contact with his people, and gets to know them from a different point of view. Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of the major exponents of New Iranian Cinema. He won the Special Mention in Locarno in 1996 for Nun va Goldoon (A Moment of Innocence). In 1998 he was in Competition in Venice with Sokout (The Silence), in 1999 he was at Cannes to present his anthology film Ghessé hayé kish (Kish Tales) and returned there in 2001 with Safar e Ghandehar (Kandahar).


LA VITA OSCENA by Renato De Maria (Orizzonti) / Screening: Thursday 28 August – Buy your tickets here

Inspired by the novel by Aldo Nove, this is the dramatic coming-of-age story of a boy who takes his experiences to the point of seeking death, only to be reborn. His favourite poet chose death, but he finds the strength to survive and tell about his “obscene life”. Renato De Maria made his debut as a director with Hotel Paura (1996). In 2002 he filmed Paz! (2002), which won five Nastro d’Argento, one Globo d’Oro and two Ciak d’Oro. In 2005 he wrote and directed Amatemi, a film tailor-made for his partner Isabella Ferrari.


TAKVA SU PRAVILA (THESE ARE THE RULES) by Ognjen Sviličić (Orizzonti)  / Screening: Friday 29 August – Buy your tickets here

Ivo and Maja live an ordinary life in Zagreb. One night their only son, Tomica, is assaulted on the street by a boy his own age, and is seriously wounded. The parents are forced to rethink their values. Ognjen Sviličić was born in Split in Croatia. He made his directorial debut in 2000 with Wish I Were a Shark, a box-office hit in his country. In 2004 he made Sorry for Kung Fu, presented at the Forum in Berlin, and the winner of many international awards. He returned to the Berlin Film Festival with his fifth feature-length film, Armin.


BYPASS by Duane Hopkins (Orizzonti) / Screening: Tuesday 2 September – Buy your tickets here

The story of Tim, a young man from the English working class. He needs to earn money, he is expecting a son, he has just lost his mother. He is ill, but it is not clear just how ill. As the pressure mounts, the illness worsens and one day he wakes up in a hospital bed. But in the meantime, his son is born. Duane Hopkins is considered to be one of the rising young directors in England. His first feature-length film, Better Things (2008), was presented at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes in 2008. Bypass is his second feature-length film.


COURT by Chaitanya Tamhane (Orizzonti) / Screening: Thursday 4 September – Buy your tickets here

The corpse of a sewage system worker is found under a manhole in Mumbai. An old storyteller is accused and indicted of instigation to suicide. As the trial moves forward, the private lives of the people involved in the case are examined. Chaitanya Tamhane made her film debut in 2006 with the documentary Four Step Plan, on the theme of plagiarism in Indian cinema; in 2006 she made a short film entitled Six Strands. Her first feature-length fiction film, Court, won the Hubert Bals Fund grant at the Rotterdam Film Festival.


IO STO CON LA SPOSA by Antonio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande, Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry  (Orizzonti) / Screening: Thursday 4 September – Buy your tickets here

The live account of a true story that unfurled on a journey from Milan to Stockholm between November 14th and 18th, 2013. In Milan, a Syrian Palestinian poet and an Italian journalist meet five Palestinians and Syrians who have arrived by boat to Lampedusa fleeing from the war, and resolve to help them continue their clandestine voyage to Sweden. To avoid being arrested for trafficking, they decide to stage a fake wedding, engaging a Palestinian friend of theirs to masquerade as the bride, and a dozen Italian and Syrian friends to disguise themselves as guests. In this guise, they cross more than half of Europe, on a journey lasting four days across three thousand kilometres.


KREDITIS LIMITI (LINE OF CREDIT) by Salomé Alexi (Orizzonti) / Screening: Friday 5 September – Buy your tickets here

A forty-year old who lived a comfortable life in the Soviet Union, ends up in Georgia in the difficult condition of having to adapt to change. She is granted a loan at a high interest rate and little by little becomes drowned in debt, trapped in a vicious circle that she can’t get out of. Salomé Alexi was born in Tbilisi in 1966. Kreditis limiti is her first feature-length film. To date she has made the short films One Night, Black Sea, Should we go to the sea?, and Felicita which won a Special Mention in 2009 in the Corto Cortissimo section of the Venice Film Festival.


NABAT by Elchin Musaoglu (Orizzonti) / Screening: Friday 5 September – Buy your tickets here

Nabat and her husband Iskender, a former forest guard who has grown old and sick, live in an isolated house far from the village. The war in the Nagorno Karabakh has been going on for years, and their son was killed in battle. Their only means of support is the milk produced by their only cow. Elchin Musaoglu studied film direction in Baku and Moscow. Since 1990 he has written and directed over 50 documentaries. His films have won critical acclaim, and many international awards. Nabat is his second feature-length fiction film following his debut with The 40th Door (2009).

H Stills_1.4.1

H. by Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia (Biennale College) / Screening: Thursday 28 August – Buy your tickets here

The story of two women both named Helen, whose lives and relationships begin to fall apart after a meteorite falls on their home town, Troy, in the State of New York. An imaginary, modern and lyrical reinterpretation of a classic Greek tragedy (second film).


BLOOD CELLS by Joseph Bull, Luke Seomore / Screening: Friday 29 August – Buy your tickets here

After a catastrophe that destroyed both his family and his farm ten years earlier, a young man is forced to live through an odyssey in today’s England (debut film).


SHORT SKIN by Duccio Chiarini / Screening: Saturday 30 August – Buy your tickets here

You have to be tough without ever foresaking tenderness (debut film).


Read more about the Sala Web, the online theater of 71th International Venice Film Festival