Italian filmmaker Andrea Segre has won best new European project at Rome's New Cinema Network, Fabbrica dei progetti, for Shun Lee and the Poet (Shun Lee e il poeta).
The prize includes a $37,500 (Euros 30,000) award in production funds.
Segre's project delves into the cultural impacts of immigration in Italy. The project focuses on the difficult, but romantic relationship between a fisherman and an illegal Chinese immigrant named Shun Li.
The New Cinema Network's jury was comprised of producers Simon De Santiago, Rosanna Seregni and Oscar winning Cedomir Kolar.
The jury attributed the 'original, poetic, profoundly human approach in handling the issue of immigration' as motivation for awarding Segre.
Citing the strength of the projects this year, the also jury assigned three special mentions including: Romanian filmmaker Tudor Giurgiu's project Trixy about a famous and homosexual dancer sent to Romania's concentration camps during the communist era; Norwegian filmmaker Stefan Faldbakken's subtle brother-sister love story The Paradise; and French filmmaker David Oelhoffen's Opening Fires (Avant le Feu), a dramatic Western style project set in Algeria in the 1950s.
In its third edition, the co-production event has continued to attract new filmmakers. For 2008, 85 production companies from 25 countries and 17 international distributors participated in more than nine hundred pitching sessions.
A second jury of young Italian filmmakers presided over by director Maurizio Sciarra assigned best first project to Dutch director Threes Anna's for Birds Don't Fly. The award comes with a $5000 (Euros 4,000) prize.