Entering its third edition, the Venice Film Market is ramping up.

One of the aims of this year’s Venice Film Market (Aug 28 - Sept 2) is to put Italy in the international spotlight as a potential co-production partner through its dedicated Italian “industry focus”. A total of 10 Italian film commissions will also be represented on the Lido to promote Italy as a desirable shooting location.

As well as the regular European attendees, there will be a sizable Chinese delegation on the Lido. Representatives of Wanda Media, Chinese Shadow, Beijing Sun Youth Company and production company/VOD platform IQIYI.COM will all be in attendance.

This year marks the launch of Venice’s European Gap-Financing Co-Production Market (Aug 29-30), which will be showcasing 15 projects close to completing their financing.

“I came up with this idea because it doesn’t exist,” said Venice industry head Pascal Diot. “As a producer, you know the two main difficulties are the beginning (to look for money for development) and, after that, the completion of the project.”

The projects all need to have at least 70% of their financing in place. Films being presented this week on the Lido range from Dutch director David Verbeek’s Chinese vampire film Dead & Beautiful, from Lemming Film, to young Hungarian auteur Balint Kenyeres’ Yesterday.

Budgets range from €140,000 to €3.5m ($185,000 to $4.6m).

“For me, success would be to have as many of these projects (as possible) completed because of the meetings they will have (in Venice),” said Diot.

“I wanted to have a concrete market. For me, the results should be there.”

Diot would not disclose the level of the budget for the Venice Market overall but confirmed that the inaugural co-production market has been put together without support from MEDIA or elsewhere. “I do hope that if it is working well, for the following editions, I should be able to secure some sponsors.”

The Venice industry boss emphasised that the goal is for the market to remain at roughly the same size as last year, when the event announced a 25% increase in participation.

“It will never be like Cannes or Berlin so we can’t have the same business model,” said Piot.

“We are looking for something totally different with, of course, a much smaller budget. We are more aimed on networking. People can come because they know they will be able to meet the right people.”

Even before the festival starts, sales agents have swooped on international rights to Venice market titles. For example, Films Boutique has taken on Venice’s Biennale College-Cinema project Short Skin.

The Venice market, which takes place at the beginning of the Festival so as not to clash with Toronto, will again be hosting “Final Cut” screenings of selected films. 

There will also be a number of private market screenings. 

For now, the market is still based in the Excelsior Hotel but Diot is determined to secure the event its own premises in the long run. “My aim is for the VFM to have its own venue. My aim is to be really in the centre of the festival,” Diot declared.