Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, which was the only film in the competition directed by a woman, won the Special Jury Prize, while its star, indigenous actor Baykali Ganambarr, won the Marcello Mastroianni prize for an emerging young actor.

The drama follows the story of a woman and an Aboriginal tracker in Tasmania in the 1820s.

"I would also like to say to all those women out there wanting to make films, please go and do it. We need you. The feminine force is the most powerful and healing force on the planet," Kent said during her acceptance speech.

"I'm confident next year and the year after we'll see more and more women inhabiting this space."

Her comments come after women directors slammed the gender imbalance present at this year’s edition of the Venice Film Festival.