Germany's HolgerErnst has won New York University's Next Reel International Film Festival firstprize for Rain Is Falling.

Poland's LeivIgor Devold came second with Tomorrow, and Indian filmmaker Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni took thirdprize for Grinding Machine.

Other awardshanded out at the closing night ceremony in New York on Oct 1 include the bestfiction film award to Finland's Zaida Bergoth for Glass Jaw, best documentary to Italy's NicoleScherg for Grandparents,and best animation to Shane Acker for his apocalyptic short 9.

9 is being madeinto a CG animated feature for Focus Features, with Tim Burton, TimurBekmambetov, Jim Lemley and Dana Ginsburg serving as producers.

"When we startedthis festival in 1993, one of our primary goals was to create an internationalplatform where aspiring filmmakers can be recognised for their skill andcreativity," Pari Shirazi, vice dean of Tisch School of the Arts, said.

"It is so vitalto honour and support young filmmakers for the accomplishments they make earlyin their careers."

Next ReelInternational Film Festival, formerly known as the International Student FilmFestival, is a biannual event.