Julio Medem's The Lovers Of The Arctic Circle (Los Amantes Del Circulo Polar) secured the main prize at the Athens International Film Festival - and local distribution through Greek distributor Rosebud in a deal cut at the festival.

The prize, awarded by festival audiences, came complete with a $6,000 purse to support the film's local distribution. Rosebud, headed by Zinos Panagotides, also picked up Sophia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, presented in the US indie cinema section, following enthusiastic audience response.

Universal's distribution manager for Europe, Chris Mercier, attended the event to present the opening film, Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot. John Woo's Mission: Impossible 2 closed the festival.

The festival presented 70 films; attendance rose to 30,000, up from 23,000 the previous year.