The film was chosen from 14 first or second film titles by a seven-strong jury, led by US independent producer Christine Vachon and featuring among its members Brazilian director Katia Lund, Chinese actress Xu Jinglei, French film guru Piere Rissient and Spanish film critic Diego Galan.
They awarded the Special Jury Prize (Silver Alexander) and $29,000 (Euros 22,000) to the Iranian production Asre Jomeh (On a Friday Afternoon) by debutant director Mona Zandi Haghighi.
Another debutant, Slawomir Fabicki, from Poland took the Best Director award, for Zodzyscu (Retrieval).
The Polish film also picked up Best Actor award for Antoni Pawlicki while the Best Actress prize was awarded to Moon So-ri, Goh Doon-shim, Kong Hyo-jin and Kim Hae-ok, the four leading actresses of Family Ties.
Family Ties emerged as the great winner of the competition as it also obtained the Best Screenplay award. Sharing the screenplay award was Suely In The Sky (O Ceu de Suely) by Karim Ainouz, the Brazilian film co-produced by Walter Salles who was also present in Thessaloniki for a special presentation of his films.
Suely In The Sky was also chosen as the best film of the competition by the Fipresci jury.
The Greek production Eduart by Angeliki Antoniou received the Fipresci nod as best Greek film among the 18 titles presented in the Greek Films 2006 section.
Wim Wenders, Chen Kaige, Juliette Lewis, Lily Taylor, Valeria Golino, Sandrine Bonnaire, handed out the awards.
Other cash awards went to:
Rome Rather Than You ( Algeria ) by Tariq Teguia $19,500 (Euros 15,000) offered by the Ministry for Macedonia-Thrace.
El Violin ( Mexico ) by Francisco Vargas $19,500 (Euros 15,000) offered by the Greek Parliament.
Grbavica ( Bosnia ) by Jasmila Zbanic $8,000 (Euros 6,000) offered by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality.
Land Of Nod ( Greece ) by Evangelos Yiovannis $19,500 (Euros 15,000) offered by the Greek Film Centre.