Coproduction Office has closed deals in ten territories for Shirin Neshat’s Venice Silver Lion winner Women Without Men, including in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela (Gussi), Belgium (Lumiere), Brazil, Italy (BIM), Colombia, The Netherlands (Filmmuseum), Russia and Ukraine (Sota Cinema), Germany ( TV- ZDF/ Arte). 

Meanwhile, Italy’s Archibald Films has picked up Italian distribution rights to Todd Solondz’s Life After Wartime, which took the Osella for best screenplay.

Distributor Valerio De Paolis of Bim Distribuzione scooped up Golden Lion winner Lebanon during the festival. The company had also previously closed Italian deals on Women Without Men and Fatih Akin’s jury prize winner, Soul Kitchen.

Debut films scored high with Ang Lee’s jury with four out of the five first works in competition taking prizes. Designer-turned-director Tom Ford’s debut project A Single Man earned Colin Firth the Coppa Volpi for best actor, while Giuseppe Capotondi’s first film The Double Hour produced a Coppa Volpi for best actress for Ksenia Rappoport.

The Lion of the Future award went to Pepe Diokno’s Clash, (Engkwentro) (already destined for a debut work). It also scooped up the Orizzonti section prize, which also awarded a special mention to Amit Dutta’s The Man’s Woman and Other Stories (Aadmi Ki Aurat Aur Anya Kahaniya), also a first work.

Susanna Nicchiarelli took the top prize in the new Controcampo Italiano section, which aims to celebrate local film, for her Fandango-produced Cosmonaut (Cosmonauta). The section also gave a special mention to first time duo Francesco Del Grosso and Daniele Anzellotti for Through The Eyes (Negli Occhi).

While the US and Italy had the most titles in the edition, prizes were spread out among the twenty-five countries which had films in Venice’s official selection.

Biennale president Paolo Baratta said the festival had seen a 32% increase in ticket sales over the last year, and a 5% rise in foreign press attending the festival. He said that the Biennale has been expecting a 10% decrease across both due to the ongoing global economic crisis and the construction work at the festival hub.