The Venice Film Festival (Italian Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia) is the oldest film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the Lido, Venice, Italy. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. It is one of the world's most prestigious film festivals and is part of the Venice Biennale, a major biennial exhibition and festival for contemporary art.
The festival's principal awards are the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion), which is awarded to the best film screened at the festival, and the Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup), which is awarded to the best actor and actress. In 2002, the San Marco Award was introduced for the best film of the Controcorrente ("Against the stream") section.
The Leone d’Argento (English: Silver Lion) refers to a number of awards presented at the Venice Film Festival. The Silver Lion is awarded irregularly and have gone through several changes of purpose. Until 1995, Silver Lions were infrequently awarded to a number of films as second prize for those nominated for the Golden Lion. At various times, Silver Lions have also been awarded for debut films, short films and direction.
The Special Jury Prize is another award given at the Venice Film Festival. It is awarded to one or two films per year and is considered less prestigious than the main award, the Golden Lion.
(from Venice Film Festival Wiki Site, wikipedia.org)