Jan Hrebejk's tragicomedy Up And Down won the top awards at theCzech Lions awards on March 5, taking prizes for best picture, best directorand best screenplay.

The annual award of the Czech Film and Television Academy, the Lions arethe Czech equivalent of the Oscars. Of 21 Czech films released to cinemas lastyear, nine were nominated for awards.

"I'm almost as happy as I was at the premiere," Hrebejk said,accepting his award.

King of Thieves, a European co-production from director Ivan Fila,won best sound, best score and best actor. Director Marek Najbrt's Champions earned awards for best supporting actor, best supporting actress andbest editing.

Teen sex comedy Snowboarders earned a Lion for itsoutstanding performance at the box office. According to year-end figures fromthe Czech Film Distributors Union, director Karel Janak's film saw 484,949 admissions in just under twomonths in theatres.

Special guests at this year's ceremony included EFA Chairman NikPowell and actor Roger Moore.

Up and Down premiered on Czech screens on 16 September.Distributed by Falcon, the film earned just over Euros 1.9m at the box officein 2004.

Sony Pictures Classics distributes the film in the United States,where it opened on February 27. The film was the Czech Republic's candidate forthe Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.