Audience award went to Copti and Shani’s Ajami.

Belgian directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s French-Italian thriller Amer was awarded the €50,000 grand prix at CPH PIX - the Copenhagen International Film Festival - which ended Sunday (April 25) after an 11-day programme which was impacted by Icelandic Eyjafjallajökull’s volcanic ashes.

“We have constantly been putting out fires. A power cut now, and I would get a nervous breakdown,” said festival director Jacob Neiiendam in the middle of the event, which is Denmark’s largest festival.

Screening a total of 180 films, CPH PIX had selected 13 first-time features for the competition. Cattet and Fiorzani, who received their cheque at Copenhagen’s Pumpehuset on Saturday, have made a modern day giallo, a genre which had its heyday in 1970s Italy.

At the awards ceremony, the Politiken audience prize went to Palestinian director Scandar Copti and Israeli director Yaron Shani’s Oscar-nominated Ajami, a personal depiction of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Because of cancelled flights, Mexican director Amat Escalente and UK producer Finola Dwyer were both unable to perform jury duties. They were replaced by Danish director Pernille Fischer Christensen and Copenhagen-based, US producer Jon Nguyen.

“Naturally we have had to cancel screenings, but we have luckily been met with great understanding from the local audiences,” explained Neiiendam, who also had to scrap a seminar on Mexican cinema.

Among the no-shows were Canadian director Atom Egoyan; Greek-American avantgarde performer Diamanda Galás; Italian multi-media artist Asia Argento. Swedish electro-musician BJNilsen managed to get to the festival to accompany Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent, Metropolis.