Water vs. drought at the Venice Film Festival

While the 79th Venice Film Festival recommended the visitors to drink tap water in order to cut plastic waste, the protagonists on the screen of Paolo Virzì’s new film Drought didn’t have a choice. Starring Silvio Orlando, Valerio Mastandrea and Monica Bellucci, the film with tells of a Rome in the grip of a long drought that ends up upsetting its rules and habits.




This apocalyptic scenario describes ironically how the social conflicts are exploding when there is no water in the city of Rome for many years. “This is where we heading, this is what we are doing”, Paolo Virzì pointed out in regards to climate change and social predicaments of the last few years. In regards to the water shortages in Italy this summer, the film came at the right time. His dark dystopia Drought, which was presented out of competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival, received the Green Drop Award in Venice.



But the film industry is also taking some actions behind the camera to fight climate change. “Sustainable Screens 2022 Environmental Observatory on Cinema” was a topic the Venice Production Bridge, hosted by Green Cross in collaboration with ENEA, ANEC and Sardinia Film Commission Foundation. In Italy it was the Sardinia Film Commission which introduced sustainability to the film industry in Italy. Meanwhile various other regions followed such as the Trentino Film Commission with the Green Film checklist, and the Turino Film Commission. In Venice it was discussed how the different approaches can be implemented in a common system.


Furthermore, the increasing energy bills are a challenge for the film industry. In the movie theaters in Italy, most of the energy consumption is caused by heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Simone Gialdini, President of the Italian Cinema Association ANEC reported that the exhibitors received 100 million euro support from a state aid program.


Sustainable management of energy is one task that the Sardinia Film Commission is teaching film teams when they are shooting on the island. At the 79th Venice Film Festival, the Sardinia Film Commission celebrated its 10th anniversary with various filmmakers. The producer Massimo Casula who founded the production company Zena Film in Cagliari adapted the green protocol for all his feature films, shorts and stop motion films.



The feature film Bentu by Italian filmmaker Salvatore Mereu was presented in the independent program Giornate degli Autori in Venice. The drama is set at an old farm, where the wind and weather are dictating the rhythm. The DOP Francesco Piras shot the film on the ARRI Alexa and didn’t even use any lights for the interior scenes so that no generator was needed on set.


Set in Sardinia in the 19th century is the story of Il Muto di Gallura by Matteo Fresi, which is based on a true event. A deaf-mute desperado falls in love with a daughter of a shepherd, which caused bloody conflicts and seventy dead people. The historical film was mainly shot in Sardinia.

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