The 64th Festival’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to be awarded to Tim Burton by his long-standing colleague, Johnny Depp

Tim Burton The screening of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in the new Disney Digital 3D version, and a world premiere of some sequences from the eagerly-awaited Sweeney Todd are the special events planned for the “Tim Burton Day”, to be held on Wednesday 5th September. On that day, Johnny Depp will hand the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to the American director Tim Burton, awarded by the 64th Venice Film Festival (29th August – 8th September 2007), directed by MarcoMüller and organised by the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Davide Croff.

Two years after the world premiere of Corpse Bride on the Lido, Tim Burton returns to the Festival to receive the 2007 Golden Lion for lifetime achievement. To pay homage to one of the boldest, most visionary and innovative of American film-makers, able to charm and fascinate the widest of audiences, the Venice Film Festival has organised a special “Tim Burton Day”, to be held on Wednesday 5th September. The programme will include not only the awards ceremony in the Sala Grande at the Palazzo del Cinema, but also the world premiere of some sequences from Burton’s latest film, the cinema adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s prize-winning musical-thriller, Sweeney Todd. Sweeney Todd is co-produced by Warner Bros Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, and stars Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jayne Wisener and Sacha Baron Cohen. The film will be released in the United States on 21st December 2007, distributed by Paramount, and in Italy in early 2008, distributed by Warner Bros Pictures Italia.

Sweeney Todd is a famous musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, first presented in 1979 on Broadway and initially starring Lean Cariou, Angela Lansbury and Victor Gaber. The musical, adapted from a theatrical work by Christopher Bond, and characterised by nocturnal, gothic atmospheres, won eight Tony Awards (the Broadway Oscars), including Best Musical. The story is set in Victorian England and is the story of a man who, using his barber’s shop as a cover, returns to London after years of absence to take revenge on those who destroyed his family. In Burton’s film, the deadly barber of Fleet Street is played by Johnny Depp, working with the director for the sixth time (the other films being Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005; Corpse Bride, 2005; Sleepy Hollow, 1999; Ed Wood, 1994; Edward Scissorhands, 1990). The screenplay is by John Logan, who in the past produced the screenplays for Any Given Sunday (1999), Gladiator (2000), The Time Machine (2002),  Star trek: Nemesis (2003), Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), The Last Samurai (2003), The Aviator (2004). The sets and décor are by the Italian Oscar winners Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo. The film is produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald, John Logan, and Patrick McCormick is executive producer.

For the “Tim Burton Day”, there will also be a screening of the new stereoscopic 3D version of the feature film, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, created and produced by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick. Presented as a world premiere in Venice in 1994, the film has become a charming and magical cult animation film. For the first time in the history of film festivals, the Venice Festival will screen an entire film – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – in 3D Stereoscopic Digital Cinema, making use of highly advanced technological solutions to ensure viewers in the Sala Grande the best possible visual quality, as desired by the film’s director. This has been possible due to the consistent work and collaboration of the Biennale di Venezia’s Digital Cinema Team with the Disney Production Team.

Using the new “Shutter” 3D spectacles, the public will be able to “make contact” with the film’s characters. The 3D technology provides a 3D effect by projecting a double image, one for the right eye and one for the left, creating a sense of depth and reality. Disney Digital 3D takes the application of this technology to a level never previously experienced, using a single projector that alternates the images for the right and for the left eye extremely rapidly (144 times a second), so that the brain perceives the stimulus of a third dimension. This new Disney Digital 3D process had its first successful debut with Chicken Little, but Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in the new 3D version explores a higher level. The film marks the first instance in which a complete analogical film in 2D is converted into a 3D Stereoscopic Digital Cinema format. For Walt Disney Animation, the project represents a rare opportunity to enable the public to perceive an already greatly appreciated classic from a completely new perspective. The Disney Digital 3D technology is the result of a collaboration between Disney Studios, the special skills in the digital field of Industrial Light and Magic and the digital cinema projectors and servers of DCI comply. The 3D version of the film will be released in European cinemas in time for Halloween, on 31st October 2007.

Venice, 27 August 2007