News outlets are at odds with Venice over restrictions on red carpet shoots

Leading international news outlets, including the Associated Press and Reuters, are fighting back against the Venice Film Festival for allegedly imposing restrictions on access to footage of the festival’s star-studded red carpet activities and press conferences.

In recent years, agencies have been able to provide their clients with more or less unlimited amounts of Venice footage, excluding live feeds. Upon arriving at the Lido earlier this year, without warning, the agency’s video crews collected their red carpet accreditation on opening day and were then given a form to sign, telling them there was a 90-second limit, the claim Groups.

The 90-second limit is said to be due to Italian media regulation, which has always existed but will only be enforced this year.

Another novelty this year is that the festival will not allow agency cameras into press conferences, a practice that had started at the height of the COVID pandemic, “but there’s no reason why it should happen now,” says one veteran news agency from Venice operator on the TV side.

The alleged 90-second limit law – the terms of which are still unclear – will be enforced after a new agreement reached by the festival’s umbrella organization, the Venice Biennale, with its media partner, Italian state broadcaster RAI. In return, this year RAI signed a deal to sell the footage of the opening and closing ceremonies in Venice, as well as the red carpet content and press conferences, to French pay-TV operator Canal+.

“They say that RAI has an exclusive right to the opening and closing ceremonies and access to the red carpet, and that’s the way it is, and we have to abide by that,” says the Venice veteran.

“We’ve all been completely taken aback by all of this and we’re already here so it’s very difficult to try to change anything. We met at the festival as a collective group of eight and they don’t move at all. They just always cite this Italian law,” which says they can only run for a maximum of 90 seconds. This restriction applies to all TV media, not just the agencies.

The irony of the situation is that the agencies are invited press and have camera access to the red carpet they are filming. But this year they are only allowed to use 90 seconds of their own recorded footage.

The only concession Venice has made is that they have stated that they will allow agency cameras in the press conferences. But they can only use 90 seconds of this recorded footage.

“It kind of misses the point,” says the Venice veteran. “The problem we have is that they limit the story we can tell. And the press conference is the only place at the festival where we bring the story out. Unless you have one-to-one access. Then everyone should be able to find out their story there.”

“I don’t know of any other festival where that happens. At any other festival, the pool [recorded] A festival’s feed would always be unrestricted. And no one has ever restricted what we can run anywhere at any event with our own material… It’s highly unusual, it’s very restrictive. It seems to interfere with our freedom as journalists.”

The Venice Film Festival said Saturday it had no immediate comment but would continue to investigate the matter.

Deadline was the first to break this news about agencies’ frustration with festival restrictions. News outlets are at odds with Venice over restrictions on red carpet shoots

Charles Jones

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