Latin American Filmmakers Rock Venice

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Three Latin American directors—from Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina—took top honors in three of the main sections at the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival, marking one of the best performances for Latin American talent at the oldest film festival in the world.

The Golden Lion, the top award for Best Film, was presented to Mexican director Guillermo del Toro for his American sci-fi fantasy drama Shape of Water. As it has been reported by TropicalFRONT, del Toro's win was the second for a Mexican filmmaker. after Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour in 1967), and the third for a Latin American director after Venezuela's Lorenzo Vigas for From Afar in 2015.

Wth his third feature film, Colombian filmmaker Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza was presented with the top prize for Best Film in the Venice Days competition, the independently run section, which was awarded with a cash prize of 20,000. Set in 1994 Cuba, Hinestroza's Candelaria follows an aging couple that one day found a video camera, which will spark their monotonous relationship. 

Argentine first-time director Natalia Garagiola was the winner of the top prize for Best Film in the Venice Critics' Week competition—the other parallel independent section of the festival—with her debut feature Hunting SeasonTemporada de caza. The drama about a man who has to take care about his son after the kid's mother has died was selected by the audience as the winner of Critic's Week, which came with a cash prize of €5,000 presented by the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE).

Additionally, in the Orizzonti competition, the Chilean coproduction film shot in Santiago by Iranian director Alireza Khatami Oblivion VersesLos versos del olvido was awarded with the Best Screenplay Award, co-written by the director with Dominique Welinski and Chilean René Ballesteros.

Despite the fact that Venice has traditionally not necessarily been very welcoming for Latin American cinema, the region has left its mark in the Italian film festival in the past few years. In 2015, in addition to Vigas' Golden Lion, Argentine Pablo Trapero won the Silver Lion for Best Director for The Clan, and Brazilian director Gabriel Mascaro was presented with the Orizzonti Special Jury Prize for Neon Bull; and last year Mexican Amat Escalante was the winner of the Silver Lion for Best Director for The Untamed.

The 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival took place August 30 - September 9.