The Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award is one of the most prestigious gongs in the movie world, ranked alongside the likes of the Cannes Palm d’Or and Berlin’s Golden Bear. This year’s Golden Lion has now been given out, and the 2015 prize was handed to the gay-themed film, From Afar (aka Desde Allá), from Venezuelan filmmaker Lorenzo Vigas.
The movie follows Armando, a 50-year-old man, who seeks out younger men in Caracas and pays them just for company. One day he meets Elder, a 17-year-old boy who is also the leader of a criminal gang. It begins a slow-blossoming, and potentially dangerous, romance between the two, set against the backdrop of the economic and social crisis that’s rocked Venezuela, and the violence that has stemmed from that.
Vigas commented on the festival stage, “I want to dedicate this prize to my amazing country, Venezuela. I know we have a few problems, but if we talk about them we will overcome them.”
It’s a particularly impressive achievement for Vigas, as this is his first feature-film, and it is also the first time the Golden Lion has gone to a film from Latin America.