Security is ramped up ahead of the start of the 73rd Venice film festival as organisers pay tribute to victims of Amatrice earthquake. Saskia O'Donoghue reports.
Final preparations are underway for this year's Venice film festival. While the festival - now in its 73rd year - is usually focused on glitz and glamour, this edition is being launched with rather more sombre undertones. Following numerous attacks across Europe and an earthquake which struck central Italy last week, organisers have upped security and cancelled an opening party out of respect for victims. However, the festival's director said that, film-wise, 2016 is likely to be a vintage year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VENICE FILM FESTIVAL ARTISTIC DIRECTOR ALBERTO BARBERA SAYING: "I was helped by the fact that the last three years three films got the Oscars after their Venice premiere. So, in a way, it was easier. The second element is that this is a very good season, this year, compared to for example last year. Last year was really more difficult to get access to good films. This year there is a lot of good stuff around." Alberto Barbera also said ongoing renovations to the site will help to improve the festival this year and beyond. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VENICE FILM FESTIVAL ARTISTIC DIRECTOR ALBERTO BARBERA SAYING: "We have a new theatre, beautiful theatre, red cube, which is a sign of this change which is still going on. The next two years we will renovate entirely the Casino building, we'll have a new theatre on the third floor as well. So, we are still working on the renovation of the entire area devoted to the festival. We made promises and we've kept them. I'm quite satisfied, very satisfied about that." The festival will open with Damien Chazelle's "La La Land", a comedy drama starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Other films screening include 'The Young Pope', starring Jude Law and a biopic of Jackie Kennedy's life, which stars Natalie Portman. The festival runs from August 31 to September 10.