VENICE 2015 Awards

It fell to the president of the Biennale, Paolo Baratta, to hand the 2015 Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion to a stunned Lorenzo Vigas. The coveted trophy thus went to a Venezuelan film, From Afar. The director reminded those present that this was the first time that his country has taken part in this festival. The anguish-filled story set in a run-down Caracas stars young performer Luis Silva and Chile’s Alfredo Castro, Pablo Larraín’s favourite actor. Vigas stressed how crucial Castro’s performance was in this project, as it proved to be the decisive factor that enabled the film to make a “leap in quality”, even though it originated in a complicated country like Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the international jury, chaired by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, decided to hand the Grand Jury Prize to the stop-motion film Anomalisa by US directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson. The Silver Lion for Best Director went to Argentinian filmmaker Pablo Trapero for The Clan [+]. “I am very fond of this festival because this is where my first film, Crane World, won an award 16 years ago!” Trapero said.

If we also include the Orizzonti Special Jury Prize awarded by Anita Caprioli to Neon Bull [+] by Brazil’s Gabriele Mascaro, it could be said that this year, the Lions were dominated by the new world, from north to south.

But Europe got its fair share of prizes, too. Best Actor went to Fabrice Luchini for L’Hermine [+]; he was not actually in Venice, because he is filming a new movie in France, but he did send a message. And Emmanuele Carrere gave the Best Screenplay Award to Christian Vincent, who both wrote and directed L’Hermine. The French director thanked “the fathers” who taught us.

Francesco Munzi, meanwhile, gave out the Best Actress Award to Valeria Golino, the star of Per amor vostro [+]. Valeria shared the prize with the director, Giuseppe M Gaudino, and everyone else involved, mentioning the names of the myriad producers one by one. “Today, I realise that after all these years of amassing experiences, this award is giving me that same simple, childish excitement that I have already felt once before.” She was referring to the Volpi Cup she won at Venice in 1986 for her performance in A Tale of Love by Citto Maselli.

The Special Jury Prize went to Emin Alper for Frenzy [+], a film about modern-day Turkey. The jury included Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the most important Turkish director of the moment, who undoubtedly had a bearing on the awarding of this prize. Lastly, the Marcello Mastroianni Award for a young, up-and-coming actor was bestowed upon Abraham Attah, the pint-sized star of Beasts of No Nation by US filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga.

In the Orizzonti section – whose jury chair, Jonathan Demme, was wearing a T-shirt with “reclaim democracy!” written on it this evening – Best Film was given to Free in Deed by Jake Mahaffy, while Best Director was won by actor-director Brady Corbet with The Childhood of a Leader [+], a US-European co-production. The Best Actor Award, handed out by Paz Vega, went to Dominique Leborne for Tempête [+], by French filmmaker Samuel Collardey.

The winners of the 72nd Venice Film Festival:

Golden Lion: From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas
Grand Jury Prize: Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson
Silver Lion for Best Director: Pablo Trapero, El Clan [+]
Special Jury Prize: Frenzy [+], Emin Alper
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Fabrice Luchini, L’hermine [+]
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Valeria Golino, Per amor vostro [+]
Marcello Mastroianni Prize: Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Award for Best Screenplay: Christian Vincent, L’hermine

Lion of the Future – Laurentiis Prize for a First Film: The Childhood of a Leader [+], Brady Corbet

Orizzonti
Best Film: Free in Deed, Jake Mahaffy
Best Director: Brady Corbet, The Childhood of a Leader
Special Jury Prize: Neon Bull [+], Gabriele Mascaro
Best Acting: Dominique Leborne, Tempête [+]
Best Short Film: Belladonna, Dubravka Toric