In a surprising result,Michel Hazanavicius' spy comedy OSS 117, Cairo Nest OfSpies was awarded the Tokyo SakuraGrand Prix at the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). The crystaltrophy was accompanied by a cash prize of $100,000.

While there was no clearfavourite in the lead-up to the awards, local buzz and a published poll ofseven of Japan's major critics pegged Japanese director Junji Sakamoto's Awaking and bleak drama 2:37, which received praise at thisyear's Cannes, as favourites. Grand Prix winner OSS 117 ranked at the bottom of the poll.

Jury chairman Jean-PierreJeunet defended the decision to reward the irreverent espionage film. "It'simportant to have politically incorrect movies... I am French, but I usuallyhate French films. I liked this film!" joked Jeunet.

The Special Jury Prize and$20,000 went to Lu Yue's ThirteenPrincess Trees, a delinquent youth drama set at a school in Sichuan, China. Lu is well-known as the cinematographer of ZhangYimou's Shanghai Triad and To Live. Thirteen Princess Trees is his third film as director and was shoton HD video.

The award for Best ArtisticContribution went to Patrick Tam's AfterThis Our Exile, his first film after a 17-year absence from the director'schair. The film also won the Best Asian Film Award in the Winds of Asia programme.Beginning in 2004, the Best Asian Film recipient is also eligible as anadditional competition category entry, but this is the first time for a titleto win in both sections.

Jury member and Venice Film Festivaldirector Marco Muller commented on the decision saying "What's fantastic aboutthe film is the complexity and richness of its stylistic language."

Co-directors Jonathan Daytonand Valerie Faris won Best Director honours for road trip comedy-drama Little Miss Sunshine. The film alsopicked up a second prize with 10-year-old Abigail Breslin taking the BestActress award for her performance. Topping off the film's success, the film wasgiven the Audience Award as the public's favourite competition title over atTIFF's Roppongi Hills venue.

The Best Actor award went toFrench-Canadian Roy Dupuis for his performance in The Rocket, which depicts the life of ice hockey legend Maurice"Rocket" Richard.

The 13-film Japanese Eyessection, now in its third year, awarded Best Picture to Linda Hattendorf's The Cats Of Mirikitani. While Hattendorfis American, the film qualified as a Japanese Eyes selection as the film'sproducer (Masahiro Yoshikawa) and the documentary's subject (Jimmy Mirikitani)are both Japanese.

Actor Kengo Kora was givenSpecial Award in the programme for his performance in director Ryuichi Hiroki'spsychosexual drama M.

Theatre admissions for TIFFtotaled 78,000 this year, a slight increase over last year's 77,000. However,total attendance at TIFF-sponsored events (including the TIFFCOM market andAkihabara's game and anime showcase Entamatsuri) dropped from 190,000 in 2005to 176,000 this year.