Social conflict-themed pictures dominated the awards at the45th Thessaloniki International Film Festival which wrapped yesterday.

In the competition section - reserved to first and secondfilms, the Iranian entry Bitter Dream (Khab E Talkh) by Mohsen Amiryousefiwas awarded the Golden Alexander and Euros 37,000. The award comes at the endof a year during which Iranian films made a significant impact in theart-cinema world.

The Silver Alexander - the Special Jury Prize, and Euros22,000 was shared between Harvest Time(Vremia Zhatvy) by Russian MarinaRazbezhkina and One Or The Other (Una de Dos) by Argentinian Alejo Taube .

The strong presence of Latinamerican cinema in competitionand in the side sections where aspecial tribute was dedicated to the recent Argentinian productions, wasfurther reflected in the awards:

Mexican Fernando Eimbcke was named Best Director for Temporada De Patos (Duck Season) whilethe Uruguayan entry Whisky directedby Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll received the Screenplay award as well asthat of Best Actress for Mirella Pascual.

Israeli Simon Abkarian was named Best Actor in Ronit andShlomi Elkabetz's Va Lakachta Lecha Isha(To Take A Wife).

Harvest Timealso received the Best Artistic Achievement award while a Specialmention went to the Turkish Production Karpuz Kabugundan Gemiler Yapmak (Boats OutOf Watermellon Rinds) by Ahmet Ulucuay.

The seven-member International Jury headed by Hungarian MiklosJancso included Alexander Payne whose Sideways was presented in a special screening and received astanding ovation- Canadian actress Arsinee Khanjian who is Atom Egoyan's regular collaborator andwife, American critic Kent Jones and British,Latin-America based producer Don Ranvaud.

The FIPRESCi awards went to Chinese Liu Fendou for Lu MaoTze (Green Hat) and to Greek Nikos Panayotopoulos for Delivery.

The Jameson backed Audience awards accompanied by Euros3,000 each went to Bitter Dream and to the Greek Don't Go (Mi Fevyis) by Alexandros Pantazoudis.

The festivalconcluded with intense speculation about the imminent replacement by the new government of boththe president of the event, veteran film maker Theo Angelopoulos and artistic director Michel Demopoulos whohas run the event since 1992.