Aussie flick The Nightingale awarded at the Venice Film Festival while Netflix win the Golden Lion

The 75th Venice Film Festival has revealed its award winners, and it proved a big night for an Australian director and the streaming service Netflix, who walked away with their first ever “Best Picture” honours.

Australian writer and director Jennifer Kent saw her thriller The Nightingale being awarded the Special Jury Prize and the Marcello Mastroianni nod for best young actor, won by Indigenous actor Baykali Ganambarr. If that’s not amazing enough, The Nightingale was the only title in competition to be directed by a woman.

The film, which was filmed in Tasmania, invites the audience into the 19th century, following a 21-year-old Irish female convict and an Aboriginal tracker (played by Ganambarr) in their pursuit of a British army officer who wronged the woman’s family.

Upon accepting her award, Kent showed her gratitude and happiness at the major achievement, addressing women and urging them to follow their passions in the film industry.

“I would also like to say to all those women out there wanting to make films, please go and do it. We need you,” she said.

The Nightingale premieres in Australia on 13th October at the Adelaide Film Festival, with tickets now on sale. The Nightingale will release nationally in Australia in 2019.

Another film that left the Venice Film Festival with an award up its sleeve was Roma, a black-and-white drama film written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron (The Revenant), winning the biggest award of the night, the Golden Lion. The film is being released by Netflix, who has been left out of competition from many other festivals and awards, with this prize marking the streaming company’s first big award on the festival circuit.

The film is based on Cuaron’s memories of growing up in Mexico in the 1970s, following two domestic workers from Mixteco heritage, both who care for a small family in the middle-class neighbourhood of Roma.

Other than its Golden Lion win, Netflix saw itself as a fierce contender at the Venice Film Festival, with six titles included in the event.

Films which also received awards were:


Silver Lion for Best Director: Jacques Audiard – “The Sisters Brothers”

Silver Lion for Best Director: Jacques Audiard – “The Sisters Brothers”

Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Olivia Colman – “The Favourite”

Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Willem Dafoe – “At Eternity’s Gate”

Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen – “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”


Best Film: “Manta Ray” – Phuttiphong Aroonpheng

Best Director: Emir Baigazin – “The River”

Special Jury Prize: “The Announcement” – Mahmut Fazil Coskun

Best Actress: Natalya Kudryashova – “The Man Who Surprised Everyone”

Best Actor: Kais Nashif – “Tel Aviv on Fire”

Best Screenplay: “Jinpa”  – Pema Tseden

Best Short Film: “Kado” – Aditya Ahmad

LION OF THE FUTURE: “The Day I Lost My Shadow” – Soudade Kaadan, Syria

Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film:


Best Documentary on Cinema:  “The Great Buster: A Celebration” – Peter Bogdanovich

Best Restored Film: “The Night of the Shooting Stars” – Paolo and Vittorio Taviani


Best Virtual Reality: “Spheres” – Eliza McNitt

Best Virtual Reality Experience: “Buddy VR” – Chuck Chae

Best Virtual Reality Story: “Isle of the Dead” – Benjamin Nuel