Daniele Luchetti’s Our Life (La Nostra Vita) wins best director; 20 Cigarettes also honoured.

Mario Martone’s Italian unification drama We Believed, which focused on the turmoil prior to Italy becoming a nation 150 years ago, led Italy’s David di Donatello Awards, the nation’s highest film honours, taking home seven statues including best picture, screenplay, cinematography and also scored well in technical categories winning set design, costume, makeup and hair categories.

Palomar and RAI Cinema produced the three-and-one-half hour film, presented at the last Venice Film Festival in competition. We Believed was also produced with the support of the Turin Piedmont Film Commission and has performed handsomely at the box office ($2m) on a niche release.

The best director David went Daniele Luchetti for Our Life (La Nostra Vita) produced by Cattleya and which also won the best actor award for Elio Germano.

Best actress honours went to Paola Cortellesi for her work in the film Nessuno Mi Può Giudicare.

First time director Aureliano Amadei won four awards with his autobiographical Iraq bombing title, 20 Cigarettes, which was unveiled in Venice’s controcampo Italiano section in the last edition.

The film is a real-life account of surviving a suicide bombing in Iraq in which 19 Italian soldiers lost their life. The title refers to the fact that Amadei arrived in Iraq, but didn’t have time to even smoke an entire pack of cigarettes before the bomb hit.

The film nabbed the prestigious best producers award, which went to Tilde Corsi, Gianni Romoli, and Claudio Bonivento. It also took honors for editing, special effects, and the special Youth David, voted by Italian students.

The best debut director David went to Rocco Papaleo for Basilicata Coast to Coast, an indie sleeper hit produced by Paco Cinematografia and Ipotesi Cinema with the support of Eagle Pictures that also distributed the film locally. The picture was also honoured in the score and song categories.

Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter won the David for best foreign film while Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech earned the David for best foreign film produced within the EU.