The inaugural Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival (CinDi), which has a focus on discovering new Asian talent, closed July 27 with both the Directors' and Critics' juries giving the best film award jointly to the same two films - Yu Guangyi's The Last Lumberjacks and Woo Ming Jin's The Elephant And The Sea.

Portraying the last year in a hundred years' history of logging in the snow-covered mountains of Heilongjiang, China, Yu shot his documentary alone with one camera, living with the lumberjacks for four months.

Without imposing narration or music, Yu won commendation from the juries for showing the new possibilities of digital cinema with the film.

The Malaysian film, Woo's The Elephant And The Sea, portrays the separate lives of a man who has lost his wife and a boy who has lost his 'big brother' figure, both in a mysterious epidemic. The juries lauded Woo for his visual storytelling and the actors' performances, calling his film a personal triumph.

Both juries also awarded a Special Mention to the documentary Fengming, A Chinese Memoir from China 's Wang Bing, which also took the Young Critics' Award. The film records a former journalist telling the story of 30 years of her life in the New China, starting in 1949.

In addition, the Critics' Jury awarded another Special Mention to the Chinese film Mid-Afternoon Barks, directed by Zhang Yuedong, for his perceptive and humorous take of human behavior.

The Audience Award went to the Japanese film Lost In Tokyo by Ikawa Kotaro. One of a trio of college friends dies when they are in their thirties, and the other two are left to deal with the banalities of their lives.

CinDi 2007 screened 40 films from 14 countries during its eight-day run at the Apkujung CGV in Seoul. The fest included four Digital Lesson workshops, one Digital Talk discussion and 17 Q&As with six stage greetings.

'Digital cinema isn't just about cheaper budgets. We're seeing a new aesthetic being created by filmmakers around the world and we hope we're helping to showcase it,' noted festival co-directors Park Ki-yong and Chung Seong-ill.

Participants agreed the relatively small but focused festival afforded significant opportunities for filmmakers and audience members to interact with each other and enjoy cultural discourse. The sometimes surprisingly basic necessity of which was witnessed, for instance, when members of the local audience revealed that the irony of Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi's War Is Over' had been lost on them and that they had taken it for US-influenced propaganda.

The festival closed with a lively performance from a traditional farmers' music band, twirling ribbons in the air from their hats, and screenings of both the Directors' Award films.