The film, which premiered in competition at Berlin this year, follows a mother and son who escape from North Korea, first into China and then Mongolia. Zhang, who is Chinese but also ethnically Korean, picked up Pusan's New Currents Award in 2005 for his previous film Grain In Ear.
Meanwhile, best actor in the Asian-Arab competition went to Lofto Abdelli for his performance in Tunisian title Making Of, directed by Nouri Bouzid. The film follows the fictional production of a movie about a small-time dancer who is gradually transformed into a fundamentalist.
The jury, which included Egyptian director Hala Khalil and Chinese filmmaker Wu Tianming, also awarded Making Of with a special mention, along with Lonesome Trees, directed by Iran's Saeed Ebrahamifar. Best Actress went to Cherry Pie Picache for her role in Filipino director Brillante Mendoza's Foster Child.
Best film in the first features competition was also given to a Filipino production - Sherad Anthony Samchez' Woven Stories Of The Other - about inter-tribal war in southern Philippines. Crossing The Dust, from Kurdish director Shawkat Amin Korki, was given a special mention from the jury of this section.
In the Indian Competition, Tamil-language Paruthiveeran, a frenetic drama about star-crossed lovers in southern India, was awarded best film and best actress for Priyamani's performance.
Best Actor went to Kay Kay Menon for the Hindi-language Zero Zone, while Hindi-Ladakhi Frozen, directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan, won the special jury award.
The FIPRESCI prize went to Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy, while Dancing Bells, from Malaysian filmmaker Deepak Kumaran Menon, was awarded the Netpac prize.
Now in its ninth edition, Cinefan has carved a niche as one of the few film events to showcase a wide range of Asian, Indian and Arab cinema under one roof. While it has programmed Arab cinema since its launch, the festival expanded its Asian competition section this year to also include Arabic films.
The festival also featured panel discussions; a seminar from Japanese critic and film historian Tadao Sato, whowas presented withthis year's Lifetime Achievement Award; an auction of film memorabilia, and the fourth edition of the Talent Campus India.
On the drawing board are plans for a development fund (see related story) and the Mumbai cultural complex Osianama, which is scheduled to open in 7-8 months. Located on the site of the former Minerva cinema hall, the centre will encompass Indian fine arts, pop culture, architecture and a two-screen arthouse cinema.
9th OSIAN'S CINEFAN FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Best Film - Desert Dream (dir: Zhang Lu, Korea -France)
Best Actor - Lofto Abdelli (Making Of, Tunisia)
Best Actress - Cherry Pie Picache (Foster Child , Philippines)
Special Mentions - Lonesome Trees (dir: Saeed Ebrahamifar, Iran), Making Of (dir: Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia)
Best Film - Paruthiveeran (dir: Ameer Sultan, Tamil)
Best Actor - Kay Kay Menon (Zero Zone, Hindi)
Best Actress - Priyamani (Paruthiveeran, Tamil)
Special Jury Award - Frozen (dir: Shivajee Chandrabhushan, Hindi-Ladakhi)
First Features Competition:
Best Film - Woven Stories Of The Other (dir: Sherad Anthony Samchez, Philippines)
Special jury mention - Crossing The Dust (dir: Shawkat Amin Korki, Iraq-Kurdistan-France)
Ploy - dir: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand
Dancing Bells - dir: Deepak Kumaran Menon, Malaysia