Stars were out and so was the sun – for once! The HFPA Reception has become a Venice film Festival tradition, undaunted by the downpours which had dogged the event in recent years. This year the sun shone bright, however, as festivalgoers, industry types and filmmakers converged poolside at the Excelsior Hotel. Joaquin Phoenix was there with girlfriend Rooney Mara and Todd Philips, director of The Joker which premiered the same day, setting the Lido abuzz. Greek master Constantin Costa-Gavras consorted with Spike Lee, with the latter recounting how a poster for his “Z” adorned his dorm room alongside one for The Godfather. Biennale President Paolo Baratta made an appearance as did Anthony Mackie (Seberg). Paolo Sorrentino (director of The New Pope – follow up to HBO’s The Young Pope) caught up with festival artistic director Alberto Barbera. And Barbera helped us celebrate the second year of the HFPA’s partnership with the Mostra. Once again, this year, winners of the Orizzonti sidebar will also be entered on the HFPA’s Residency program – a three-week intensive program managed by Film Independent next January in Los Angeles. Part of both the festival’s and the HFPA’s commitment to supporting young filmmakers from over the world. What was that? Couldn’t make it to the Lido – no problem: check out the video.