Gathering kicks off next week with Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land'

By Oliver Gettell
Updated August 25, 2016 at 08:49 PM EDT
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The Venice Film Festival has called off this year’s opening-night gala dinner and reception in a show of support for victims of the devastating earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday.

The festivities had been scheduled to take place on the beach Aug. 31, after the world premiere of Damien Chazelle’s musical film La La Land. (The screening will still go on.)

La Biennale di Venezia, which organizes the 11-day gathering, said in a statement that the festival “shares in the bereavement, expresses its deepest sorrow for the victims, and its utmost solidarity and support to the communities struck by the earthquake.”

The 6.2 magnitude quake hit at 3:36 a.m. on Wednesday and was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, leveling buildings and claiming some 250 lives.

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