Alexander Voulgaris' Pink (Roz) won the top prize at the!f Istanbul International Independent Film Festival.

The festival's new!f Inspired Film Competition comes with a cash prize of $15,000 and showcases new directions in cinema and innovative story-telling.

The Greek feature is about a twentysomething Greek man who is afraid of growing up, alienated from his family and forms an unusual friendship with an 11-year-old Ukranian girl.

The jury, which included film-makers Reha Erdem, John Cameron Mitchell and Perry Ogden along with Cannes Directors Fortnight head Christophe Leparc, said: 'We think this was a film that showed a great balance of humor and tenderness - handling potentially incendiary subject matter with great sensitivity and originality.'

The jury also gave a special mention to Swiss director Jan Gassman's Chrigu, chronicling his friend Christian Ziorjen's struggle with cancer. The jury said: 'The film is a beautifully-crafted document of young friends forced to stare down their own mortality.'

Other films in competition were Jonas Cuaron's Year Of The Nail, Johan Kling's Darling, Alex Holdridge's In Search Of A Midnight Kiss, Esteban Sapir's The Aerial, Benedek Fliegauf's Milky Way, Maiwenn Le Besco's Forgive Me, Ismail Necmi's Should I Really Do It', and John August's The Nines.

The audience award in the national competition for short films went to Aykut Atasay for Transvestites, a comedic look at the caricatures that abound regarding transvestites. The director wins an all-expenses-paid trip to a major international film festival.

The programme also included Johnnie To's Exiled, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg, the Coens' No Country For Old Men, Gael Garcia Bernal's Deficit, Dean Deblois' Heima: Sigur Ros, Oxide Pang Chun's Diary, Bruce La Bruce's Otto; or, Up With Dead People, Alex Gibney's Taxi To The Dark Side, Chris Paine's Who Killed The Electric Car', Robinson Devor's Zoo, Bard Breien's The Art Of Negative Thinking and Mitchell Lichtenstein's Teeth.

Festival guests in Istanbul also included film-maker Bruce LaBruce, Peter Hook (who did a DJ set after Grant Gee's documentary Joy Division), Canana co-founder Pablo Cruz, Icelandic band Mum, and Eileen Clancy of I-Witness.

The festival, growing in its seventh year, welcomed 60,000 attendees to its home at AFM Cinemas. After closing the Istanbul edition on Feb 25, the festival moves for a shorter event in the Turkish capital of Ankara, today through March 2.

(Disclosure: Wendy Mitchell also served on the!f Inspired jury.)