With 300 buyers in attendance and 80 market screenings, this year's Venice Festival would appear to be catering to industry demands as thoroughly as it can, given the Lido's awkward infrastructure.

But Edith Grant, consultant to Venice's industry office, has questioned how deep the Biennale's commitment to staging a meaningful industry event really is.

"They (the Biennale) have to decide whether they will make the industry office a priority or not," Grant told ScreenDaily.

"They say 'we'll give you everything,' just ask for it', but they are not really doing that.

"We at the industry office have the impression that the strategy was not really to make the industry a priority We haven't had all the support we were hoping for."

This year, Grant insists facilities for buyers have improved.

"They can see all the films without asking for tickets. That is very much improved."

22 titles from the official selection are included in the market screenings. The video library facilities have also been enhanced.
The titles screening in the market are not - Grant acknowledges - "necessarily market premieres or world premieres, but they are not titles that have been seen around for the last two years and that no-one wants to buy."

Grant, who had been working with Jerome Paillard at the Cannes market for 10 years, was recruited by festival director Marco Muller last year.

Few deals are concluded on the Lido. "But if they (the industry delegates) start having discussions about productions and acquisitions here, we succeed, even if they close the deals in Toronto," said Grant.

An industry pass at Venice costs $320 (250 Euros).

The industry office doesn't offer buyers hospitality. "I think a market is not a place where people should be invited," Grant stated. "If their company decides it is worthwhile, they will attend."