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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
HQ woes for Venice Film Festival
Palazzo del Casino, Venice
The Palazzo del Casino is one of the buildings used for the festival
The future of Venice Film Festival faces uncertainty as organisers struggle to find the 100 million euros needed to fund new headquarters.

The annual 11-day film festival, the oldest in the world, came to a close on Saturday with Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain taking the top prize.

But plans to replace the festival's current home have stalled once again.

"It is a question of money, and we should not be ashamed. Cinema is, after all, an industry." said Marco Mueller.

Mueller, the festival's artistic director, said reaction to the 2005 festival - which saw a host of Hollywood heavyweights descend on Venice - had been "incredibly positive".

Marco Mueller
Mueller will not stay on at the festival without new headquarters

The artistic director successfully ironed out the long delays which hampered last year's festival, despite terror threats and heavy security.

However, Mueller said the festival faced increasing uncertainty as plans for a new iceberg-shaped Palace of Cinema remained at the drawing board stage.

"The only way to add a market is to build on an existing festival," said Mueller, who has said he will not stay on as artistic director without new headquarters.

Without improved infrastructure, the festival cannot build on the star-studded line-up it has nurtured in recent years, nor can it set about creating a commercial film market to rival Cannes and Berlin.

Rival city Rome has also announced plans to stage its own film competition.

"The real problem is the development of the festival, of which the palace is a main element," said Davide Croff, head of the Venice Biennale.

"But if we are going to debate it for 36 years, it isn't Rome that will defeat us. Venice will have sunk."




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