FESTIVALS: Manta Ray wins best film in Venice’s Orizzonti

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Thai director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s Manta Ray won best film in the Orizzonti section of this year’s Venice film festival (August 29-September 8).

Produced by Thailand’s Diversion and France’s Les Film de l’Etranger, the film revolves around a mute Rohingya man rescued by a Thai fisherman after he washes ashore near the Thai-Myanmar border. It was also produced and backed by Thailand’s Mit Out Sound Films and Purin Pictures as well as China’s Youku Pictures.

The Orizzonti award came with a cash prize of $100,000 donated by Filmauro di Aurelio and Luigi De Laurentiis to be divided equally between the director and producer.

Asian films also walked away with awards for best screenplay, which went to Pema Tseden for Jinpa, which he wrote and directed with Wong Kar Wai on board as producer, and best short film for Kado, directed by Indonesia’s Aditya Ahmad.

Elsewhere in the Orizzonti competition, Kazakh filmmaker Emir Baigazin won best director for The River, while the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize went to The Announcement from Turkey’s Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun.

Natalya Kudryashova won best actress for The Man Who Surprised Everyone, directed by Russia’s Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, while best actor went to Kais Nashif for Palestinian filmmaker Sameh Zoabi’s Tel Aviv On Fire.

The Orizzonti Jury was headed by Athina Tsangari and also included Michael Almereyda, Frédéric Bonnaud, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Mohamed Hefzy, Alison Maclean and Andrea Pallaoro.

Venice’s main competition awarded the Golden Lion for best film to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma, while the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize went to Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite (see full list of winners below). The jury for the main competition was headed by Guillermo del Toro.


Golden Lion for Best Film – Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Mexico)

Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize – The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (UK, Ireland, US)

Silver Lion for Best Director – Jacques Audiard for The Sisters Brothers (France, Belgium, Romania, Spain)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress – Olivia Colman for The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (UK, Ireland, US)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor – Willem Dafoe for At Eternity’s Gate, directed by Julian Schnabel (US, France)

Best Screenplay – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (US)

Special Jury Prize – The Nightingale, directed by Jennifer Kent (Australia)

Best Young Actor or Actress – Baykali Ganambarr for The Nightingale, directed by Jennifer Kent (Australia)

Lion of the Future Award for a Debut Film – The Day I Lost My Shadow, directed by Soudade Kaadan (Syria, Lebanon, France, Qatar)