Biennale College – Cinema


  • 2013 Presentation (PDF)


La Biennale di Venezia has renewed its mission in every one of its fields. In addition to its work in promoting knowledge among the general public (the Exhibitions, the Film Festival), it has introduced a strategic programme for training young artists, the Biennale College. The programme, which was already operating in the areas of Dance, Theatre and Music, was enhanced last year by an important initiative in the field of Cinema.


Fostering young talents, allowing them to work in contact with masters in order to develop “creations”: this is the spirit of the Biennale College, a well-equipped “bridge” that gives young people that want to engage in one of the arts to do so in the best conditions that an International institution can provide.


The primary goal of Biennale College – Cinema, realized in partnership with Gucci, is to supplement the Film Festival with an advanced training workshop for the development and production of micro-budget audio-visual works, open to up to 12 teams of directors and producers from around the world.

The challenge is to be able to create – at the end of a year-long series of activities that cover the entire spectrum of filmmaking including the conception, development, production, marketing, audience engagement, sales and distribution of films – up to 3 feature length micro-budget audio-visual works that will be presented during the Venice International Film Festival and also have an on-line screening on “La Sala Web”, the virtual theatre added to the traditional theatres that house the screenings for the public and pass holders in the Lido.


We believe that this is a project of crucial importance. In this way, the Cinema Section of La Biennale di Venezia has been revitalized and given a brand new configuration: a program of permanent activities “after and beyond the Festival” with a commitment to developing new creative energies channelled into producing art that has inspired the establishment of a Biennale College in all sectors of the Venice Biennale. An essential element of the initiative is the combination of not only training and production finance but also the screening of the completed film at the Venice International Film Festival giving the selected filmmakers much needed visibility – the lack of which is one of the major problems of today’s independent cinema.


Biennale College – Cinema also aims to advance research on micro-budget productions, which have become, in times of economic crisis, one of the few opportunities that new talents have to make the leap into producing and directing full feature films.


Having successfully launched the first edition in August 2012, and receiving over 430 applications from around the world, we are pleased to launch the second Call for Applications – after only six months, on 8th May 2013, in collaboration with established American, European, Asian and Middle Eastern institutions. Biennale College – Cinema is held for the second consecutive year in academic collaboration with IFP in New York, the Dubai International Film Festival and TorinoFilmLab. For the first time, the College will also be collaborating with the Eurasia International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

The deadline for this Call is set on July 10th 2013, and the selection will be announced during the 70th Venice International Film Festival.


Biennale College Cinema, in partnership with Gucci, is supported by Ministero dei Beni Culturali- Direzione Generale Cinema, Regione del Veneto and Eurasia International Film Festival.


Description of the three phases of the Biennale College-Cinema

The Biennale College – Cinema is a creative community – it provides a space for up to 12 director and producer teams, selected from around the world, to come together and work with an invited team of international experts and tutors for 10 days on the development of their projects. By exploring the aesthetics of micro-budget filmmaking and the new integrated models of production, which engage with an audience from the outset, each team has the opportunity to fully explore the potential of their project.


The Biennale College – Cinema should not be considered as a fund – it is a unique opportunity for filmmakers to receive training, project development, production support and festival screening through a series of 3 workshops. Selected project teams have to commit to this programme: fulfil the requirements of the Biennale and meet the required deadlines; contribute their experience and ideas to the community of filmmakers attending the college; and provide materials and information for further dissemination to a wider audience through use of the dedicated Biennale College – Cinema website.


First Phase

The Biennale College is committed to working with the teams on the development of the 12 selected projects by organising a first workshop from the 5th to the 14th of October 2013 (travel dates 4th and 15th October). Work starts immediately after selection and each team is required to deliver updated and detailed project information in advance of the first workshop in October. This material forms the basis for the work during the workshop.


In the ten days of the first workshop the producer and director teams work with a dedicated group of tutors including script and production consultants to fully develop their project from all perspective. Industry experts from the fields of marketing, sales and distribution are also invited to the workshop to advise the project teams. A mid-workshop deadline for the delivery of updated documents including step outline and budget is set to help the participants keep focus and move forward with their projects.


To equip the producers and directors with the knowledge of how to introduce their projects to potential partners a workshop on project presentation is organised. Film teams get the opportunity to practice these skills in preparation for the final presentation of all the projects on the last day of the workshop to the Artistic Director of the Venice International Film Festival, Alberto Barbera.


After the first workshop in Venice all up to 12 teams have a further three weeks to work on their projects and deliver a first draft script and updated production documents by mid-November 2013. On receipt of these materials the Festival Director will select up to 3 film projects to attend the second workshop and to be considered to receive the €150,000. The Director’s decision will be announced by the end of November 2013.


The 9 projects that will not continue to the second workshop will in any case enjoy an online follow-up and will be given various opportunities to find co-producers in collaboration with Eurasia International Film Festival, IFP, Dubai International Film Festival, TorinoFilmLab, Busan International Film Festival /Asian Cinema Fund and other existing initiatives and markets suitable to the projects.



Second Phase

The 3 selected teams will be invited to a second workshop on script development to be held in Venice from the 4th to the 7th of December 2013 (travel dates 3rd and 8th of December). The aim of this workshop will be to develop the scripts and prepare for the second draft. Producers will be included in the script sessions and continue to work on the production aspects of the project.


Following the second workshop project teams will continue working on their projects documents for a deadline of 23rd December for a second draft script and updated production documents. The Head of Programme and Heads of Studies will review the materials and advise changes or lock the script for the third workshop.


Third Phase

The third workshop, to be held from the 11th to the 16thof January 2014 (travel dates 10th and 17th of January), will focus on the preproduction of the 3 selected projects. Each project team will have a dedicated tutor and a range of professionals to draw on to work on all aspects of the film in preparation for production in the coming months. At this time the project team will sign the final contract with the Biennale and the schedule of payments will be agreed. Experts in Sales and Marketing will also meet with the project teams to advise on the best national and international strategies for each film.


Following the third and final workshop the selected film project teams will produce and complete their films ready for viewing by the Artistic director of the Festival in early July 2014. Each team will receive 150,000and between mid-January and mid-August, over a seven-month period, the teams will proceed to shoot and edit the feature-length audio-visual works, supervised at a distance by the College.

Teams will be expected to deliver updated scripts/script treatments, draft and actualised budgets, and schedule breakdowns to release payments. They will also be required to provide reports on their progress with the Biennale College – Cinema leaders.


All films have to be submitted by 14th August 2014 in DCP format with English subtitles if the film is in Italian or Italian subtitles if the film is in a foreign language in order to be presented at the Venice International Film Festival in 2014.


Call for Applications

We are looking for 12 feature-length audio-visual concepts that can be made within 150,000€ and could be completed, developed, produced, edited and screened at the Venice International Film Festival in 2014.


The Call is open from the 8th May 2013 to the 10th July 2013 only to teams of directors at their first or second feature and producers with variable degrees of expertise who must have produced at least 3 short audio-visual works distributed and/or presented at Festivals.


There is no age limit and no participation fee. All participants will have to cover their travel costs for the first workshop. Producer and director teams will have their flights covered (economy class) for the second and third workshops but will be responsible for the costs of any extra team members they invite to participate.


The Artistic Director of the Venice International Film Festival and his team will complete the selection and announce the successful applicants during the Venice International Film Festival August 28th – 7th September 2013. The selected teams will then sign an agreement with the Biennale that assures their presence throughout the whole Biennale College – Cinema process.


Who can apply

You could be a recent film school graduate, a short filmmaker looking for a break into features, a micro-budget stalwart who believes micro-budgets as the only true form of filmmaking, a games designer, an artist whose work could cross between galleries and cinemas, the list is long. But you will need to demonstrate that your project can be made with the budget and the time schedule and that you have got what it takes to make it.


This is a great opportunity – make the most of it by ensuring that your project works within the requirements of the initiative – don’t try and edit an existing project down to the 150,000€ budget level…. it won’t work. The strongest applications are those devised specifically within the requirements.


You must be a team composed by two: one director – first or second work – and one producer. Only together you can submit your application.


How to apply

The application consists of a number of written and visual materials, which you will need to submit (see list below). Please spend the time getting the materials together as we won’t consider incomplete applications.


Teams that have previously submitted an application to the first Biennale College – Cinema edition will not be able to re-apply with the same project.


You will have to provide the following materials all in English:

a) A Synopsis (1 page, max 350 words or 1.800 characters)

b) A treatment for a micro-budget project (5-10 pages, max 3.500 words or 18.000 characters) that fully describes the project. It can be a feature film, an animation, a documentary or a transmedia project – all genres eligible

c) A Director’s Vision: it can be represented by a mood board, a project-book (few pages of a storyboard, a colour script, a series of drawings or photographs) or by a video (max 3 minutes). It visually complements the written concept, and describes the project through images

d) Previous works by the director (max 2) digital or on film, to be uploaded directly on the website.

e) A Casting Idea (1 page, max 350 words or 1.800 characters)

f) A Total Budget up to a maximum of 150.000€

g) Biographies of the director and the producer

h) A Production Company Profile

i) A Video-Presentation by the director (max 3 minutes)

j) An Audience Engagement Plan (1 page, max 350 words or 1.800 characters), which describes how to create audience awareness through on-line communities

k) Rights Disclosure with regards to full ownership of rights to the submitted project or, should the rights of third parties be involved, a guarantee that the acquisition of all rights in view of production has been concluded or is currently being negotiated.

In the latter case the cost must be indicated in the budget, which in any case as specified above in point f, cannot exceed the total of 150,000 euro.


Dates, Venues and Timeline

The selected teams will be involved in a series of on-line and off-line activities starting from September 2013 up to The Venice International Film Festival in August/September 2014.


8th May 2013 – Call for Applications.

10th July 2013 – Deadline for applications.

28th August – 7th September 2013 – Announcement of selected 12 projects during the Venice International Film Festival.

20th September 2013 – Deadline for delivery of detailed step outline and production documents by 12 project-teams.

5th - 14th October 2013 (travel dates 4th and 15th October) in VeniceFirst Workshop for 12 project-teams.

14th November 2013 – Deadline for all 12 project-teams to deliver 1st draft scripts, budgets and schedules.

21th November 2013 – Announcement of 3 selected projects to attend the second workshop.

4th- 7th December 2013 (travel dates 3rd and 8th of December) in Venice – Second workshop for 3 selected project-teams dedicated to script development.

3rd January 2014 – Delivery of 2nd draft script, updated budget, shooting & production schedule.

11th –16th January 2014 (travel dates 10th and 17th of January) in Venice – Third workshop for 3 selected project-teams dedicated to pre-production.

10th July 2014 – All 3 film projects to have screened final cut to Festival director.

14th August 2014 – Delivery date for the Venice International Festival


If you want to consult the official text of the International Call for Biennale College – Cinema please go to:

The acceptance of all conditions of the International Call makes the application eligible.


For any additional information please contact: