Venice Film Festival’s 2020 Competition Lineup Marks Historic High for Women Directors


Venice Film Festival’s 2020 Competition Lineup Marks Historic High for Women Directors

“Nomadland”: Joshua Richardson/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Venice Film Festival is finally getting with the times. After years of programming dominated by men, this year’s main Competition lineup features an encouraging number of women directors. The slate marks a historic high, and not by a slight margin. Of 18 titles set to screen, eight are directed or co-directed by women, or about 44 percent overall. To contextualize the significance of this number, it’s necessary to consider the fest’s dismal past.

Number of Competition titles directed by women at Venice per year: 

2019: 2

2018: 1

2017: 1

2016: 2, 1 of which was co-directed by a man


2014: 2 

Set to take place September 2-12, this year marks the 77th edition of the fest. Titles set to compete for the fest’s highest honor, the Golden Lion, include Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a portrait of a woman who loses everything in the Great Recession and begins to live as a van-dwelling nomad, and “The World To Come,” a 19th century-set drama about two neighboring couples in the American East coast.

Other titles set to screen include Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Miss Marx” and Jasmila Zbanic’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?” The former centers on Eleanor “Tussy” Marx, Karl Marx’s youngest daughter, a feminist and socialist activist, and the latter tells the story of a woman working as a translator for the United Nations’ peacekeeping task force.

In 2018 Venice signed the 5050×2020 Pledge, committing to greater transparency in its selection process and staff, with the goal of eventually bettering gender representation.

Check out all of the women-directed and co-directed films screening in Competition below, and head over to Screen Daily to check out the rest of the fest’s lineup.

Nomadland (US)

Dir. Chloe Zhao

Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bos & Her-Austria-Rom-Neth-Ger-Pol-Fr-Nor)

Dir. Jasmila Zbanic

And Tomorrow The Entire World (Ger-Fr)

Dir. Julia Von Heinz

Never Gonna Snow Again (Pol-Ger)

Dir. Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert

Miss Marx (It-Bel)

Dir. Susanna Nicchiarelli

Lovers (Fr)

Dir. Nicole Garcia

The World To Come (US)

Dir. Mona Fastvold

Le Sorelle Macaluso (It)

Dir. Emma Dante

July 29, 2020
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