So, What Is Steve Bannon Doing At The Venice Film Festival?

While Steve Bannon won’t be attending The New Yorker Festival in October after an online backlash against the event Monday night, Deadline has learned he is expected to attend a Venice Film Festival official screening of Errol Morris’ out-of-competition documentary American Dharma, of which he is the focus. We hear, however, that the controversial former White House chief strategist is not expected to appear at the film’s press conference on Wednesday.

Bannon is in the Italian city to see Morris’ doc that, according to the press notes, “questions him about his beliefs, current feelings about Trump, and films that shaped Bannon’s understanding of the world. Morris proposes that for those who disagree with Bannon, ignoring him is the most dangerous course of action.”

When asked about a red carpet appearance, Biennale chief Paolo Baratta told Deadline Bannon would be on “a red carpet” suggesting that could be “inside or outside.” There are two public screenings on Wednesday afternoon — neither is a gala. The first is at the main festival venue the Sala Grande. Later in the day, American Dharma screens inside the old casino building. The first press screenings are tonight.

Asked if the festival was concerned about any controversy, Baratta shrugged saying in essence, “what’s one more this year?” True, Venice has been in the eye of the storm on the gender parity issue with just one woman in the main competition (it signed a gender parity charter last Friday) and has heard plenty from distributors unhappy that Netflix has movies in the lineup. Certain tweaks, and the movies, however, have won praise.

Oscar winner Morris recently appeared here with Wormwood and brought The Unknown Known in 2013. His press conference tomorrow should be lively.

Bannon on Sunday was dropped from headlining the New Yorker Festival where he was due to be interviewed by New Yorker editor David Remnick. But the magazine dropped him after a slew of celebrities including Jim Carrey and Judd Apatow threatened to pull out if his showcase went ahead.

Speaking to the New York Times from Venice yesterday, Bannon called Remnick “gutless” for dropping him. “The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation,” Bannon said. “In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”

American Dharma is produced by Morris’ Fourth Floor Productions in association with Maje Production, Storyteller Productions and Moxie Pictures and is being sold domestically by Endeavor Content.

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