Just a day after the wrap of the 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival - where, for the first time, Greek talent garnered the bulk of awards - more Greek films were honored during the Greek State Cinema Awards organized by the Culture Ministry in Thessaloniki.

This year's local box office hit, artist biopic El Greco, a Greek/Spanish/Hungarian co-production directed by Giannis Smaragdis, won 8 awards including best picture, director, cinematography, artistic direction, editing, music, sound and make-up.

The best picture award for El Greco means that the film will be Greece's submission for an Academy Award nomination in the foreign film category for 2010, although the fact that great part of the dialogue is in English may hinder its chances.

El Greco, has registered 650,000 admissions during five weeks in local release and is still running strong at the box office.

Runner ups for best film were Kostas Kapakas' coming of age tale Uranya and Thanos Anastopoulos' Correction (Diorthosi), a somber portrait of racial intolerance in contemporary Athens. All three got cash prizes as well.

Both films shared the best script award. At Thessaloniki 's film festival, Anastopoulos and his co-writer Vassilis Raissis had taken that prize.

Diorthosi also won the best actor award for its male lead Yorgos Symeonidis and Constantina Voulgari was named best debut director for her existential tale, Valse Sentimental.

The new Minister for Culture, Mihalis Liappis, presented the awards, worth $550,429 (Euros 370,000), and seized the occasion to announce a series of measures in favour of the local cinema industry. They include the regulation of the cash flow to the state subsidized Greek Film Centre and the implementation of tax shelter to lure local and foreign private investment in film production.