Turkish films dominated the 19th International Istanbul Film Festival (April 15-30) where the top honour in the international competition, the Golden Tulip, was awarded to Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Clouds Of May (Maysi Sikintisi) (pictured).

The film also won the top prize in the national competition as well as the audience award and the international critics' FIPRESCI prize. The special jury prize went to The Last Dance directed by Indian director Shaji Karun.

In the national competition, best director went to Zeki Demirkubuz for The Third Page and best actress to Basak Koklukaya for her role in the same film. Best actor went to Guven Kirac for his role in Ms Salkim's Diamonds directed by Tomris Giritlioglu.

The festival screened 180 films from 40 countries and attracted a bumper 125,000 spectators mirroring the growing numbers at the Turkish box office and the increasing success of Turkish films both artistically and commercially. The national competition had only eight films despite the rising numbers of Turkish films being produced, as many titles screened out of competition.

A special screening of Charlie Chaplin's City Lights with a full orchestra drew sell-out crowds both nights. Another highlight was the presentation of lifetime achievement awards to directors Theo Angelopoulos and Youssef Chahine. The acceptance speech by Greek director Angelopoulos was received with a rousing round of applause by the Turkish audience, as the award was seen as a gesture of friendship between the two countries which have traditionally been enemies.