It might be too early to call it, but The Hollywood Reporter Roma may have given the best party of the 80th Venice Film Festival.
THR Roma, the first European edition of The Hollywood Reporter, threw a starry and glam but also surprisingly chill bash Sunday night at their festival villa, a stone’s throw from The Excelsior Hotel on the Lido. THR Roma had its official launch, in Rome, in April but the Venice bash marked its international coming out, and the group used the occasion to present its first stand-alone print edition (more on that later).
There were shades of Pablo Sorrentino’s famed party sequence in The Great Beauty as a who’s who of the Italian film and fashion industries — among them the cast of Venice festival opener Comandante, including Italian superstar Pierfrancesco Favino and director Edoardo De Angelis and Valentino’s creative director Pier Paolo Piccioli rubbed shoulders with the likes of Pricilla Presley and Sofia Coppola. Presley and Coppola were in Venice for the world premiere of Priscilla, the director’s adaptation of Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me about her life with the King of Rock and Roll.
The business side of the industry was well-represented by the top brass at indie production giant Fremantle, which was awarded the inaugural THR International Producers of the Year award Sunday night. Andrea Scrosati, Group COO and CEO of Continental Europe at Fremantle, and Christian Vesper, CEO of Global Drama, accepted the award from THR on behalf of the company, which in a few short years has gone from a producer of mainly non-scripted and entertainment television (X Factor, Got Talent) to become one of the largest financiers and distributors of indie art house movies. They’ve made most of their films through their boutique subsidiaries, including The Apartment, Italy’s Wildside and Ireland’s Element Pictures. In the last three years alone, Fremantle has made more than 60 films, including five in Venice competition this year. Alongside Priscilla and Adagio, the group is represented by Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, starring Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo — arguably the hit of the 80th Biennale — Pietro Castellitto’s Enea and Saverio Costanzo’s Finally Dawn. Several other Fremantle execs were spotted at the THR Venice bash, including CEO, International Jens Richter and CEO, Southern Europe Jaime Ondarza.
Lorenzo Mieli, head of Italian shingle The Apartment and a one-man production whirlwind, was also seen mingling among the raucous crowd. Mieli is in Venice with Priscilla, which he co-produced, and Stefano Sollima’s Italian crime noir Adagio, also in competition. His upcoming slate includes Angelina Jolie’s feature Without Blood, also starring Salma Hayek and Demián Bichir, and Luca Guadagnino’s Queer, an adaptation of the William S. Burroughs novel, starring Daniel Craig and Drew Starkey.
The high point of the evening came when THR Roma’s editor-in-chief, Concita De Gregorio, dressed to dazzle in a shocking hot pink number from Valentino, presented the publication’s first-ever stand-alone print magazine. The glossy collector’s edition, headlined “The Lido of Dreams” features interviews with Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola, Luca Guadagnino, Susan Sarandon, Ari Aster, Oliver Stone, Sophie Loren and Dario and Asia Argento, among others. It also includes profiles of Venice legends from Harry’s Bar owner Arriso Cipriani to Rene Caovilla, designer of the high-heeled masterpieces that have graced the Lido red carpet on the feet of Rihanna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone and many more.
Valentino’s creative director Pier Paolo Piccioli designed the magazine cover, which shows the legendary, spectacularly mustachioed Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí reclining in a gondola in Venice’s Grand Canal, apparently lost in a dream. Piccioli used watercolors to paint, in his signature pink, a carnivalesque mask over Dalí’s face.
You can read the entire THR Roma Venice magazine online, in English, here.
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