Venice Film Festival top prize goes to documentary 'Sacro GRA'

gianfranco-rosi-venice-film-festival-golden-lion.jpgThe 70th annual Venice Film Festival handed out its awards Saturday (Sept. 7), with "Sacro GRA," an Italian documentary by Gianfranco Rosi, taking home the Golden Lion for Best Film.

This was the first year that documentaries were included in the competition for the top honor and Rosi calls winning the award "a breakthrough" for non-fiction films, reports the AP. This was also the first year since 1998 that an Italian picture won Best Film.

"I didn't expect to win such an important prize with a documentary," says Rosi. "Finally documentaries are being seen alongside fiction. Documentaries are cinema."

Best Director went to Greek filmmaker Alexandros Avranas for "Miss Violence," a film about a grandfather who perpetrates sexual violence and abuse. That movie also won Best Actor for Themis Panou.

Italian actress Elena Cotta won Best Actress for "A Street in Palermo" and 16-year-old Tye Sheridan won Best Young Actor for his performance in the Nicolas Cage movie "Joe." Sheridan previously appeared in the 2011 film "The Tree of Life."

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