Sofia Coppola's second directorial outing, Lost In Translation, was named best film at the 9th Athens International Film Festival-Opening Nights which wrapped on Sept 21 with the out of competition gala presentation of Stephen Norrington's The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

The festival kicked off on Sept 12 with the presentation of Good Bye, Lenin! in the presence of its director Wolfgang Becker. One hundred and twenty films from 28 countries were screened during the ten-day event, up from an eight-day duration last year.

Lost In Translation received the Golden Athena, a new award introduced this year, accompanied by a Euros 5,000 purse and chosen by a fifteen-member jury formed by young cinephiles, aged between 18-25.

Michael Polish was the recipient of the Best Director award for Northfork, the third part of his "American Trilogy", starring James Wood and Nick Nolte. The first part of the trilogy Twin Falls Idaho, won the Audience award at the 1999 festival.

The Audience Award accompanied by Euros 6,000 in cash was awarded this year to Adam Bhala Lough's debut Bomb The System. The award was received on stage by the producer of the film Ben Rekhi as the director had to leave Athens after the presentation of his film.

All three awarded films came from the fifteen- titles strong American Independents, one of the two competitive sections of the event.

The second, Panorama, was composed of nineteen international productions.

Other public's favourites among he films in the American Independents section were Evan Oppenheimer's Justice, A. Dean Bell's What Alice Found, Eli Roth's Cabin Fever, as well as Thirteen by Catherine Hardwick.

Standing out in Panorama were, Carlos Sorin's Historias Minimas, Bent Hamer's Kitchen Stories, Emily Young's Kiss Of Life, Piotr Trzaskalski's Polish submission to the Academy Awards' Edi and Lone Scherfig's Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself.

Among the rest of the festival numerous offers, highlights included the six-titles strong spotlight on Brazilian cinema headed by Cannes contender, Hector Babenco's Carandiru, and the documentaries section composed by such acclaimed films as Andre Heller and Othmar Schmiderer's Blind Spot: Hitler 's Secretary, John Junkerman's Power And Terror: Noam Chomsky In Our Times and Richard Schickel's Charlie: The Life And Art of Charles Chaplin.

There was also a retrospective of Jean Cocteau's entire body of work while a tribute was dedicated to Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers' productions.

Scottish director David MacKenzie was honoured with the screening of his latest Young Adam as well as with the presentation of his debut feature, The Last Great Wilderness and his prize-winning short films.

The Greeks of Diaspora traditional section was headed by the distinguished Greek-American documentary film-maker Michel Negreponte's penetrating observation of post 9/11 New York, Sightseer. Public's favourites in the Avant Premiere and Special Screenings section included, Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool, Gary Ross' Seabiscuit, Michael Winterbottom's In This World as well as the French animation Les Triplettes De Beleville and Disney's Finding Nemo. Attendance was 40,000, including a score of local distributors eyeing up several titles for local theatrical release.