The 80th Venice Film Festival took place from August 30th to September 9th, 2023, and it saw the participation of the SIGNIS Jury, as it has ever since 1948.

The jury was composed of Douglas Fahleson (Ireland | President), Sergio Perugini (Italy | Secretary), Adriana Racasan (Romania), Peter Sheehan (Australia), and Massimo Giraldi (Italy). During the festival, the jury saw 23 films from the official selection, which allowed them to travel via the wonder of cinema to Italy, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, USA, Dominican Republic, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, India, Belgium, Poland, Senegal, and Libya.   

The quest they faced was to find the one film that truly represented their criteria, which is a film of high artistic quality with inventive expression that has a universal impact while keeping with the message of the Gospel and Christian responsibility.  

With all of this in mind, the SIGNIS Jury awarded their Prize to the film: “IO CAPITANO” | “ME CAPTAIN” directed by Matteo Garrone (Italy-Belgium, 2023). 

“For the soulful and empathetic depiction of Seydou, a Senegalese teenager, who makes the arduous and life-threatening migrant journey through the deserts of Africa to a better life elsewhere. This is a journey for freedom and a coming-of-age story that illustrates the human struggle as Seydou matures, saving others along the way, while maintaining a purity of heart. The director Matteo Garrone tells the story with a poetic mix of realism and fantasy to deliver this powerful portrayal of human faith, hope, and love”, affirms the jury.

In addition, the SIGNIS Jury decided to give a special Commendation to:

“BASTARDEN. THE PROMISED LAND” directed by Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark, 2023). “The director Nikolaj Arcel creates a historical painting set in 18th century Denmark. It is a Western on the border of North Europe which reflects a story of struggling, privation, discrimination and courage. A man of poor origins tries to ascend the societal scale in search of recognition. His path is difficult and bitter, which brings him on a trajectory to understand the moral centrality of love and relationships in his own existence. In addition, “Bastarden. The Promised Land” offers a powerful and poetical reflection for contemporary times, which emphasizes the value of family and caring for the earth”, according to the jury.