Part-Irish production, Essential Killing, has picked up the Special Jury Prize at the 67th Venice Film Festival. The leading actor, Vincent Gallo (Arizona Drean, Buffallo 66), has also won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor for his performance in the film.
Essential Killing was directed by veteran Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, and also starring Emmanuelle Seigner (The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, La Vie En Rose), and had its world premiere screening at the festival. It will also be screened this week as part of the Masters programme in Toronto Film Festival, which runs from 9–19 September.
Essential Killing is a thriller that tells the story of an Afghan man, captured by American forces in Kabul, who finds himself transported to a nameless European country. He manages to escape into the vast frozen woodland. Forced into extreme survival mode, he must kill anyone who strays into his path.
The script was written by Skolimowski and Ewa Piaskowska, and produced by Skopia Film in co-production with Element Pictures. An Irish/Polish/Norwegian/Hungarian co-production, the film was partly funded by the Irish Film Board and was shot in Israel, Poland and Norway with the sound post-production in Ireland.
Irish audiences will get to see Essential Killing in cinemas when it goes on theatrical release later this year. The trailer is currently available to view on You Tube.