Edoardo Winspeare's Living Blood (Sangue Vivo) has taken the top award, the Grolla d'Oro, at the prestigious St Vincent Prize, which is designed to promote Italian cinema abroad.

Living Blood, a tale of two brothers set in southern Italy against a backdrop of crime and music, was recently selected for the World Cinema section of the upcoming Sundance film festival.

Winspeare also won the St Vincent prize for Best Director. The Best Actor prize was awarded jointly to Luigi Maria Burruano and Luigi Lo Cascio for The Hundred Steps, Italy's Foreign-language Oscar candidate.

Pasquale Scimeca's mafia tale Placido Rizzotto won the Best Screenplay award, while Stefania Rocca was voted Best Actress for Giorgio Treves's costume drama Rosa E Cornelia, which also won the Public Prize for Best Film.

Giuseppe Rocca, received the Best Young Director award for Giuseppe Rocca's Lontano In Fondo Agli Occhi; and Lorenza Indovina was named Best Young Actress for her role in Alex Infascelli's chiller Almost Blue.

Festival director Felice Laudadio, who is also president of Cinecitta Holding and director of the Taormina film festival, chose 18 films out of a selection of more than 70 to compete in the five-day event, which is held in a mountain resort in the province of Valle d'Aosta, near the Italo-French border.

Guests at the 42nd edition of the festival featured some of the most well-known names in the Italian film industry, including directors Gillo Pontecorvo, Marco Bellocchio and actress Virna Lisi who received a career achievement award.

The St Vincent Prize was originally scheduled to be held in October but was postponed due to the heavy flooding that swamped north-western Italy at the time (ScreenDaily, October 26).