Venice will hold its first International Television Festival in March 2002, an event that will be helmed by former Munich festival chief Marlene Sternbaum and Veneziafiere president Gabriele Zanetto.

The new television festival will be officially unveiled on September 8 at the Venice film festival (Aug 30- Sept 9) by Venice mayor Paolo Costa; Rossana Rummo, the head of the entertainment department at the Cultural Ministry; Cinecitta Holding president Felice Laudadio; Roberto Levi, the president of the Italian independent television producers association; and Adriano Are, president of the Italian audiovisual media association.

Unlike the Venice film festival which is held on the Lido island, the television festival will be located in several Venice spots, including the mainland where Venice's most popular tourist attractions are to be found. Television companies will be invited in March 2001 to a special three-day showcase of the event, which is also likely to include a market structure.

Sternbaum headed Venice's fledgling film market in 1997 and 1998, which was set up by then Venice director Laudadio, but dropped when Laudadio left his position as festival chief.