Venezuelan Film FROM AFAR Becomes the First Latin American Film to Win Venice's Golden Lion

The Venezuelan film Desde allá / From Afar, the debut feature by Lorenzo Vigas (pictured left), made history today becoming the first Latin American production to ever win the coveted Golden Lion, the top prize for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, which is the world’s oldest film festival.

Starring Alfredo Castro, Luis Silva, and Jericó Montilla, the  film charts the unexpected relationship between a middle-aged, middle-class man and a violent street youth. Vigas dedicated the award to his country: "We are having some problems, but we are very positive," he said. "We are an amazing nation."

The film which was produced by Vigas, Michel Franco, Guillermo Arriaga, and Rodolfo Cova, was the first film ever competing at Venice at it had received very positive reviews after its premiere this past week, Variety called it “one of Latin American cinema’s more auspicious arrivals of recent years.”

Additionally, Argentinean director Pablo Trapero (pictured right) was presented for the the Silver Lion for Best Director for his true-crime thriller El clan / The Clan, which has broken box-office records in the South American country, and Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro was presented with the Special Jury Prize in the Orizzonti section for his film Boi Neon / Neon Bull.

It was a stellar year for Latin American cinema at the 72nd edition of the Venice Film Festival, as Early Winter by Australian-born Mexican director Michael Rowe won the Venice Days Award. Spanish-born Mexican director Luis Buñuel had won the Golden Lion in 1967 for his French production Belle de Jour.