BBC production Last Resort, directed by Polish-born UK resident Pavel Pawlikowski, picked up the top three awards at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Sunday, including the Golden Alexander for best picture, backed by a $31,000 (DR12.5m) purse.

The film, acquired for distribution in Greece by Rosebud, also walked away with the best actor and actress awards for Paddy Considine and Dina Korzun's performances. It also took the FIPRESCI award for best film in the 15-title International Competition section, which focuses on first and second efforts.

Considine shared the actor's award with Misel Matisevic, star of German title Lost Killers, which also received the Silver Alexander Special Jury award accompanied by a $18,500 (DR7.5m) purse. The picture, directed by Georgian-born German resident, Dito Tsintsadze, also took the top prize at Germany's Cottbus Film Festival earlier this month.

Iranian director Marziyeh Meshkini, of Iran's Makhmalbaf family, received the best director award for her debut feature The Day I Became A Woman (Roozi Keh Zan Shodam). The film also recently won the jury prize in the Pusan Film Festival's New Currents section.

Germany's Christian Petzold received the best screenplay award for The State I Am In (Die Innere Sicherheit), which he also directed, while Polish film Happy Man (Szczesliwy Czlowiek), a debut feature from Malgorzata Szumowska, took the artistic achievement award for visual excellence. Greek docu-drama Dead-End Streets (Klisti Dromi), directed by Stavros Ioannou, received an Honorary Mention.

The International Jury, headed by Polish film-master Jerzy Skolimowsky, also included Hungarian director Judit Elek, German director Fred Kelemen, Mexican producer Jorge Sanchez and Venice festival topper Alberto Barbera. Stars attending the event included Harvey Keitel who flew in to take part in a tribute to Theo Angelopoulos. Keitel starred in the Greek director's Ulysses Gaze and is also expected to sign up for his next project, an epic trilogy about Greek exiles, which Angelopoulos unveiled at the festival (ScreenDaily, November 14 and 16).

Also attending were veteran French director Agnes Varda, the focus of a tribute who also received an honorary Golden Alexander, and Portuguese-French producer Paolo Branco who turned up for a presentation of five of his latest productions. Veteran US director Jerry Schatzberg provided the surprise element of the event as he flew in with a print of his latest picture, The Day The Ponies Come Back, which had its European premiere at the festival.