VENICE, Italy – Argentinian first-timer Natalia Garagiola’s “Hunting Season,” a father-son drama set in the wilds of Patagonia, is the winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week prize.
The movie stars veteran Argentinian actor German Palacios (“Possible Lives”) as a hunting guide living in Patagonia with his new family. Following the death of his first wife, he is forced to contend with a teenage son he has not seen for years. France’s Alpha Violet is handling world sales.
The winner of the Critics’ Week prize is chosen by the audience.
The independently run Venice section dedicated to first works also gave out a prize known as the Verona Film Club Award to Danish director Annika Berg’s “Team Hurricane,” described in promotional materials as a “punk chick flick” about eight teenage girls whose bond strengthens over one summer. The prize is bestowed to the film deemed the most innovative in the section by a jury of film buffs who belong to one of Italy’s oldest arthouse cinema organizations.
Produced by Katja Adomeit, who co-produced Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” “Team Hurricane” is being sold internationally by Finland’s LevelK.
The section’s best technical contribution prize went to erotic black-and-white film “The Wild Boys” by France’s Bertrand Mandico.
In a statement, artistic director Giona Nazzaro noted that the Critics’ Week selection this year was “marked by women.” Just one of the seven entries, which were all world premieres, was directed by a man, and one was co-directed by a woman and a man. By contrast, only one of the 22 titles which screened this year in the fest’s official selection’s main competition was directed by a woman.
All Venice Critics’ Week entries will compete for the fest’s Lion of the Future prize alongside titles in the official selection. The Venice Film Festival’s official selection prizes will be announced Saturday.