Bill Mechanic, one of the film's producers, accepted the award on Gibson's behalf. Mechanic has already been honored with the festival's Producer of the Year award for the movie.
'Hacksaw Ridge' tells the story of Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who was a conscientious objector for religious reasons and saved 75 lives in the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, variety.com reported.
The flick premiered at the Venice Film Festival and has grossed $64 million domestically and $78 million internationally since opening in November — including $40 million from China.
"It took me 15 years to make this movie," Mechanic said on receiving the award at the Anacapri Cinema Paradiso stage. "Mel will be very happy to receive this award. I always thought he was perfect for this film, but he only accepted the ask on my third request! It was very important to make this movie."
It is Gibson's first directing job since 2006's 'Apocalypto'. His other directing credits are 'The Man Without a Face', 'Braveheart' and 'The Passion of the Christ'.
'Hacksaw Ridge' will be screened in Italian cinemas beginning February 7 through the Leone Film Group and Eagles Pictures.