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Event Staff at the Venice Film Festival during Covid: “1 Brilliant Example to Follow”

Everyone will remember the 77th Venice International Film Festival as one of the first global events with successful anti-Covid measures, also thanks to their Covid-19 trained event staff.

Nobody gave the show for granted this year, as the organisers confirmed the event in April, right during the first Italian lockdown. The organisation of this well-known festival represented a significant effort for all its organisers.

Looking at successful events during the pandemic, we found the Venice Film Festival is definitely among the best ones. From the 2nd to the 12th of September 2020, we saw something different from other years:

  • celebrities and photographers having to social distance on the red carpet and with no public,
  • famous international celebs that could not reach Venice due to Covid travel restrictions
  • the reduction of screens outdoors, to guarantee a better distribution of the crowd
  • the general public could only buy online tickets

From the planning point of view, all this imposed an even more strict organisation, but everything went for the better. To better understand how the event happened, we wanted to bring you behind the scene with Mauro Bernardini, Managing Director at All-Star Agency, which for the fourth consecutive year managed the Lexus VIP program.


Rox Event Staff is the only event staffing agency in the UK that helps you take the headache out of staffing and event marketing in one place.

 All our Event Staff took the mass gathering course by WHO, which is now mandatory for them to work with us.




What changes did you face in this 2020 edition?

We had to acknowledge all-new safety procedures. For example, for us it was about car sanitisation, cleansing and perfuming – due to the products we had to use – every time our guests used one. Compared to other editions, tickets were only digital, which means nominal and non-transferable. That gave us a few issues in case of last-minute changes or no show. Besides their name, we asked guests and partners to share their phone number and email address, with some complaints about privacy safeguard. Generally speaking, I can say that everyone took the new rules on board as necessary and respected them consequently.


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Un post condiviso da La Biennale di Venezia (@labiennale)

What were the most crucial factors to succeed?

In terms of organisation, the fact that we all were on the same page was vital. Fondazione Biennale, Director Alberto Barbera, and even Venice Council and the Venetian Region worked so that the Festival could happen in the ideal conditions. For example, we chose to use 50% capacity of all theatre rooms, which allowed us to safely project on screens, guaranteeing guests safety, even for a substantial amount of people. I believe that the institutions’ support in this kind of events is crucial for a successful outcome, and I wish Venice’s experience can represent the best practice for events to come.


How did you manage international attendance?

We reduced international attendance, which was far less than the European. Indeed, there was some debate on famous actors that were not allowed to participate. For example, that happened for the winner of the Golden Lion (Nomadland by Chloé Zhao, NDR). We indeed didn’t let last-minute decisions to happen. For example, Matt Dillon, which was a jury member, was in Italy for two months already and even the President of the jury, Cate Blanchett, was there in advance for a while.


Was there room for improvisation?

No. From attendance to transfers, and long times needed to prevent contamination, we studied everything in the smallest detail. All accredited, actors, jury and event staff respected the rules and got their temperature measured at entrances, one by one, using face masks. Everyone perceived extreme caution. Even the red carpet didn’t host the general public and had a wall high enough to hide mass gatherings outside the Festival. It was worth it, and who was part of it lived an extraordinary experience, not giving anything for granted.


Are safe events possible?

They are, for sure! And the Venice International Film Festival is proof of it. As an ex Italy MPI President (the Italian association that gathers event professionals), I can testify the event is an example of how events can still happen. It’s true, past editions had 100 guests, while this year there were only 35 and the rest connected online.  It’s real, networking did not happen this way, but we didn’t miss everything, and we obtained excellent results. Hybrid events won’t always be the best answer, especially when in-person presence is necessary, but they are indeed a possibility.


The Venice Film Festival’s anti-Covid measures

Compulsory face masks, online tickets and restricted access to the red carpet: the Biennale di Venezia had to take on board all Covid restrictions to make the event international. Here the main measured adopted, following the local authorities:

  • Temperature check, sanitisation and hygiene at the nine entrances to the show
  • Compulsory face masks in all theatres and outdoor spaces
  • Social distancing in the theatres with seat variation
  • Mandatory online booking for seats
  • Red Carpet social distancing, for the audience and all activities
  • Health authorities presence
  • Reduction of printed material
  • Special assistance to actors and delegation with Covid-19 trained event staff
  • Tracking and monitoring of all participants provenance


About Rox Event Staff, Event Staffing Agency in London

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Rox Event Staff is the only event staffing agency in London that helps you take the headache out of staffing and event marketing in one place.
We operate nationwide across the UK with over 2,000 dynamic COVID-19 trained events staff on our growing roster. We have dedicated account management, event marketers, staff’s right-to-work checks, training and skills tests on all workers, taking care of payroll too.


Get in touch to let us know your requirements. We will let you know how we can make that happen.

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