The second edition of the Golden Leopard Prize was awarded to director Gabriele Salvatores (I'm Not Afraid) on Sept 20, for his 'continuing research of new expressive forms and styles.'

The ceremony was held at La Colombaia, Luchino Visconti's villa on the island of Ischia, near Naples. The prize was established last year by the Fondazione La Colombaia, which aims to recognise and support emerging as well as courageous filmmaking talent in Italy.

The opening of a new filmmaking masters program, the first of its kind in Italy, was also announced at the event. Together with the University of Parma, the Fondazione La Colombaia will select 12-25 students, from Italy and other EU countries, to participate in the year-long master class.

Academic classes will be held at University of Parma while classes at La Colombaia will focus on the production side of filmmaking, in collaboration with the RAI studios in Naples. Honorary presidents of the new school are Bernardo Bertolucci and Nobel prizewinner Dario Fo, and Salvatores will be one of the many prominent directors to teach there. Classes will begin in January of 2004.

Silver Hortensia awards were also presented to Julian Schnabel (for Before Night Falls), award-winning Palestinian documentary filmmaker Mai Masri (Frontiers of Dreams and Fears), poet Patrizia Cavalli and famed critic Enrico Ghezzi.