Jenna’s Guide to the 2018 Venice Film Festival

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about science fiction movies where the characters are able to quickly clone themselves. Unfortunately, this science fiction fantasy haven’t quite become a reality yet.  If it had, I would’ve cloned myself and flew to the Venice Film Festival this this year!

It’s not every day that one gets invited to the glitz and glamour of the Venice Film Festival.  So, when my girlfriend invited me to go, imagine my dismay when I realized my travel schedule was already packed around those same dates!  Under normal circumstances, there’s really only one good answer to such a tantalizing offer (um, that answer would be a YES), but this time I had to regretfully decline.

Going through the worst case of FOMO (fear of missing out), as I am bombarded with event coverage from every media outlet possible, I realize it’s times like these when that cloning device would come super-handy.

Until such an apparatus is invented through some miraculous feat of engineering, I decided that I should prepare myself for next year’s Venice Film Festival instead of sulking.  Diving into research mode, I took it upon myself to find out everything there is to know about the festival, so I can enjoy it to the fullest.

I’ve decided to share my findings with you guys, so if you’re planning a trip to the Venice Film Festival, here’s all that you need to know:

August is the best month to visit Venice according to my girlfriend, a film festival veteran. The days are still long and the sun relaxes in the blue skies. It’s just the right amount of sun for a visit to the beach or a sight-seeing tour.

But can you really focus on the beach when the city glows bright with stars?

A Taste of this Year’s Filmmaking

This year, the stellar film festival will be showcasing movies from some of my favorite stars such as Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in ‘A Star Is Born’. This film marks Cooper’s directorial debut and is Lady Gaga’s first leading role in a feature film.

Heartthrob Ryan Gosling will be starring in Damien Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong called “First Man.” The director has previously produced ‘La La Land’ and I can’t wait to see his take on space travel.
Gosling’s ‘La La Land’ co-star Emma Stone will also be there for the premier of her movie, ‘The Favorite’, directed by the eccentric Yorgos Lanthimos. And last but not least, check out Jude Law and Natalie Portman, a most aesthetic pairing, in ‘Vox Lux’.

Where to Go

The film festival is actually located in Lido, which is an 11 kilometer sandbar, away from the tourist-filled canals of the Serenissima – a Byzantine title given to Venice for its serene nature.

A short vaporetto ride will bring you to the Lido, home to the Hotel Excelsior, Grand Hotel des Bains, and the Venice Casino. The beaches along the Lido are mostly private and thus hold a more exclusive quality. However, there are two public beaches on the northern and southern end of the film festival’s base-site.

Apart from the Lido, Venice has many dreamy sites to visit. A must when in Italy, is the Aperitivo. While the origins of Aperitivo are clouded in mystery, the tradition is imperative. Head to Harry’s Bar for an authentic experience of the festival’s drink: the Bellini.

The bar is not only the birthplace of the Bellini, but also host to many celebrities. Why not pair your drink with a ham and cheese sandwich while you wait?

The Guidecca is another must visit. This is a five-minute ride from Saint Mark’s Square and embodies the very serenity that Venice was nicknamed after. You can order a drink at the Gabbiano Bar at the Hotel Ciprani and lose yourself in the sights and silhouettes of the lagoon.

The summer setting of Harry’s bar overlooks some majestic views and the most authentic Italian gelato –there is no better place than its birthplace!

End your day with a visit to the hidden gardens of Bauer Palladio that transport you to an enchanted world of exquisite flora and fauna. You could explore the island of San Giorgio Maggiore which is famous for its magnificent cathedral and tower and sights you can see from such heights.

From Island to Island

The best way to travel in the Floating City is by boat. The city is connected by 177 canals and water taxis can be called when you need to get around. But do make sure to book your taxi in advance since the film festival attracts a lot of tourists – and stars.

Take the time to visit some of Venice’s gems such as Burano, home to the rainbow colored houses and neighbor to Mazzorbo. This little island has a chic winery and the Vanessa Hotel – which uses au naturel ingredients.

For literary aficionados, make sure to visit the island of Torcello and the gardens of Locanda Cipriani. This was where Ernest Hemingway wrote ‘Across the River and into the Trees’.

The Venice film festival is the very essence of artistic expression. The longest running film festival in history, geniuses like Andy Warhol first made their venture into film at the Venice Film Festival, and its mystique has only grown over time. Next year can’t come fast enough… See you there!


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