• The 2019 Venice Film Festival, which started on August 28, 2019, is officially over. 
  • The world’s oldest festival ended with an award ceremony on Saturday, September 7, 2019.
  • We take a look at all the African winners of this year’s edition.

The 76th Venice International Film Festival has come to an end. 

The world’s oldest festival, which held in Italy from August 28 — September 7, 2019, saw African filmmakers take home great awards in various categories.

From short films to virtual reality, here are all the African winners at the 2019 Venice Film Festival:

Joel Kachi Benson

We start with Benson, a Nigerian filmmaker who happens to be the only African representative in the Virtual Reality (VR) category.

He beat 12 other VR films from all over the world to take home the Best VR Story Award for ‘Daughters Of Chibok’. His documentary is the first-ever VR film on Chibok girls. 

It explores life after the abduction of the 276 female students by the terrorist group Boko Haram from their dormitory in the Government Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state. The main focus is the mothers of the 112 girls who are still missing five years later. 

ALSO READ5 years after, where are the 112 Chibok girls left in Boko Haram shackles?

Amjad Abu Alala

This Sudanese screenwriter won the ‘Lion of the Future’ prize for Best Debut Feature. He won for his feature directorial debut — ‘You Will Die at Twenty.’

Set in Sudan, the movie explores the struggles of young Muzamil who is forced to make the most of his short time on earth following a prophecy by the holy man of the village who predicts that he will die at age 20. 

Calling the movie “a call to freedom” for the people of Sudan, Alala said, “The film is not saying exactly what is right or what is wrong. The film is just telling Muzamil: You need to decide. You don’t need to let the holy man or your mother or your society decide. You need to live your life.”

Sami Bouajila

This Tunisian-French actor took home the award for Best Actor in the Horizons category for his role in ‘A Son’. 

Bouajila has won several awards over the years including Best New Actor at the 2000 Cabourg Romantic Film Festival, Best Actor at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Dubai International Film Festival.

Outside the continent, the biggest winner of the festival was Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker’ which won this year’s Golden Lion award. The Warner Bros’ superhero movie took home the festival’s top honour, which many take as a sign that the film has the potential to win an Oscar.

Previous Golden Lion winners include the Oscar-winning films “Roma” and “The Shape of Water.”