Israeli director Yoav Shamir has won this year's $15,000 (Eu12,500) Joris Ivens Award at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) for his documentary film Checkpoint.

The competition jury, led by German film-maker Monika Treut, also awarded a special jury prize to Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott's The Corporation.

Meanwhile, Erik Gandini's anti-consumerist piece Surplus - Terrorised Into Being Consumers won the Silver Wolf prize. Jonathan Karsh's My Flesh And Blood and Pavel Medvedev's The Very Best Day shared the First Appearance Award for new and young film-makers.

Shamir's Checkpoint beat short-listed US directors Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk (Lost Boys Of Sudan) and Swiss film-maker Peter Liechti (Lucky Jack - Three Attempts To Stop Smoking) to win the Joris Ivens award, his first major prize as a film-maker.

Checkpoint, which details the daily goings on around some of the 200 checkpoints between Israel and The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, was shot in a deliberate verite style. Shamir said he tried hard to present an objective picture that would enable Israelis - the target audience of the film - to make up their own minds about occupation and its devastating effects on the occupied.

Shamir, aTel Aviv-based film-maker who competed for a First Appearance Award at IDFA with his debut film Marta & Luis in 2001, described his award as "one of the biggest achievements of my life".

"It was a real struggle to make the film. Almost everybody was against making it. It was hard to make, it was very physical, it took a long time and it was complicated by the psychological difficulty of making a film that could be interpreted as saying bad things about my own people. I'd like to thank Channel 8 and the New Israeli Fund For Film & Television for taking the risk and deciding that Checkpoint was an important film to back."

Although Shamir was clearly delighted to win the award, he said any personal sense of achievement came secondary to Checkpoint's political message.

"Winning is nice but the political level is more important. This win will mean that more people will watch it and maybe make something of the situation."

"I wanted to present a picture that they might not otherwise see. It won't be an easy film for many to watch, its not much fun and there is no music. I don't think that many people will come out of the cinema saying 'wow I watched a great film', but it makes you think and, for me, that's the achievement."

Achbar and Abbott's film about the conglomerates that rule and feed off modern capitalist society was lauded by the jury as a "brilliantly argued essay that takes us on a scintillating intellectual journey into the heart of global capitalism".