Which festivals are important to you'

I enjoy being in Berlin and Cannes because that's where we start working and making international contacts, and it's when I first get an inkling of what's going to happen in the next few months in terms of artistic films and original, special films. I also enjoy going to several festivals in Italy because to me they represent the best that Italy has created in terms of specificity in festivals. I like Pordenone's silent film festival and the energy of the audience of the Udine Far East Film Festival. I only go to festivals which have a direct connection with a market where I can meet directors and producers.

What is the blueprint for a good festival'

Probably a festival which creates so much excitement with the audience that the films will have a longer life when they finally hit the theatres and meet the normal audience.

Which films, outside this year's Venice selection, have you enjoyed recently'

There were films in Cannes I would have loved to have seen in Venice, from James Grey's Two Lovers to Matteo Garrone and Paolo Sorrentino's films (Gomorrah and Il Divo respectively). Of course I like lots of films that don't do the festival circuit. Recently I saw and loved Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army. And I rushed to the first Imax theatre I could find to see Journey To The Center Of The Earth.

Is new film-making talent getting the chance to shine through'

Absolutely. We never decide in advance how many new names we should have. There are a lot of first-time directors at Venice, 10 this year - a lot is going on.

How would you define what you have brought to Venice'

I have reinforced an awareness of the festival's history. I've been working for the Venice film festival (on and off) since 1979 and I learned a lot from my predecessors and I'm trying to adapt and make changes with every edition. Since I'm now in my second mandate, I have also learned from my own shortcomings and mistakes.

Which film-makers do you think you have helped to nurture and gain recognition'

There's a long list, because you will find directors who had their first film in Venice who come back with important new films. This year there is the Algerian director Tariq Teguia (in competition with Inland) whose first film, Rome Rather Than You, was in Horizons in 2006; Jia Zhangke (who won the Golden Lion in 2006 and returns this year with a short film, Cry Me A River, out of competition); many of the Japanese directors such as Takashi Miike (whose Sukiyaki Western Django was in competition in 2007); German film-maker Christian Petzold (whose Jerichow is in competition after his The State I Am In was in Venice's Cinema del Presente in 2000).

Do you believe this is a new golden era for Italian cinema'

The quantity, quality and variety can vary from year to year but this year is quite sensational in the competition selection alone. And it's not by chance that a lot of the first-time film-makers in Venice this year are Italians. Four Italian first-timers have films in the Horizons section - Pietro Balla and Monica Repetto with ThyssenKrupp Blues, Mirko Locatelli with Il Primo Giorno D'Inverno, Marco Pontecorvo with Pa-ra-da and Gianfranco Rosi with Below Sea Level.