The Venice Film Festival has been rocked after a group of Italian journalists accused jury president Quentin Tarantino of favouring ex-girlfriends, pals and associates.

The outcry came after the filmmaker”s former lover Sophia Coppola claimed the festival”s main prize, the Golden Lion, on Saturday for her drama ‘Somewhere’.

Tarantino has since insisted her win was unanimous, but the local media is still questioning the director”s choice.

Their suspicion deepened especially after the director’s friend Alex de la Iglesia won two prizes for his film ‘Balada triste de trompeta’ and one of his mentors, Monte Hellman, was handed a lifetime achievement prize created by the jury, led by the moviemaker.

“The presidency of Quentin Tarantino runs the risk of turning into the most obvious conflict of interest possible,” the Daily Express quoted leading film writer Paolo Mereghetti as telling Correre della Sera newspaper.

Other journalists have questioned on de la Iglesia”s film being such a hit, after the movie was largely panned in Italy.

Festival bosses have yet to comment on the controversy.

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