Natar Ungalaaq received the FIPRESCI Award for best actor for his performance in Canada's best foreign language Oscar shortlist contender The Necessities Of Life and Martina Gusman received the FIPRESCI Award for best actress for her performance in Lion's Den from Argentina.
The New Voices/New Visions category for first or second-time directors was won by Adrian Sitaru's Hungarian-French entry Hooked. Bahamian film-maker Maria Govan earned a special mention for Rain.
Amin Matalqa received the John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature for the Jordanian-US film Captain Abu Raed for 'a first-time film-maker whose narrative or documentary feature represents particular distinction and the promise of a major film-making career. ' The film was Jordan's foreign language Oscar submission this year.
'With over half our selection made by emerging directors we were spoiled for choice this year,' director of programming Helen du Toit said. 'Yet the international success of Captain Abu Raed clearly establishes Jordanian director Amin Matalqa as an exciting new indie talent who taps into powerful universal emotions.'
Yojiro Takita's Japanese Oscar foreign language entry Departures, which has made it on to the Academy's shortlist of best foreign language films, won the audience award for best narrative feature while Eric Bricker's US film Visual Acoustics: The Modernism Of Julius Shulman won corresponding documentary honours.
'It's been a fabulously successful year for the festival,' festival director Darryl Macdonald said, 'Record attendance, huge audiences, happy film-makers, a very active industry base, massive press coverage and operations that ran as smooth as silk. This will go down in the festival annals as a vintage year on every front.'
The festival took place from January 6-19, 2009 and screened 208 films from 73 countries, including 50 of the tihs year's 67 foreign language Oscar submissions.