Peter Mullan's TheMagdalene Sisters, which walked awaywith the Golden Lion at last year's Venice Film Festival, continued its winningways on the international festival circuit by being named best feature film bythe jury of the Newport International Film Festival.

The MagdaleneSisters, which will bereleased in the US on August 1st through Miramax Films, is Mullan's second directorial turn after Orphans. It follows the true story of a group offour young women who were forcibly remanded to live inside a Catholic conventin 1964.

Produced byFrances Higson, and executive produced by Ed Guiney and Paul Trijbits, the filmstars Geraldine McEwan, Anne-Marie Duff and Nora-Jane Noone. Mullan is best known as a distinguished actor who has played thelead roles in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe, Mike Figgis' Miss Julie, Brad Anderson's Session 9 and Michael Winterbottom's The Claim, among other films.

The Newport Film Festival, a highlyconvivial US regional affair now in its 6th year on the historicalRhode Island yachting haven, also gave Rostslav Aalto's Cleaning Up the top documentary jury prize.

The Finnish feature followsthe East European tour of 'Cleaning Women', a cult Finnish rock phenomenoncomprised of three earnest sympathetic country boys clad in women's suits andglamour make-up playing instruments made from drying racks.

The Audience Award for bestfeature went to Alejandro Agresti's Valentin, an Argentinian-Dutch bittersweet comedy about growingup in a dysfunctional family in Buenos Aires. Its young lead actor Rodrigo Noyawas also named best actor.

Valentin, another art-house film set to be released in the USthis year by Miramax, caused controversy at the Mar del Plata film festival inArgentina earlier this year when it was initially disbarred from competitionbecause of previous festival outings in Biarritz and the Netherlands, where thedirector is based.

Reinstated, the film went onto win the special jury prize at Mar del Plata 'for the poetry of its spirit.'Miramax is also funding Agresti's next two pictures.


Best Feature Film:
The Magdalene Sisters
Dir: Peter Mullan

Best First Time Director:
Amy Hobby
Coney Island Baby

Best Actor:
Rodrigo Noya

Documentary, First Prize:
Cleaning Up
Dir: Rostslav Aalto

Documentary Jury Prize:
Dir: Jesse Moss

Short Film, First Prize:
Acordar (Waking Up)
Dirs: Tiago Guedes, Frederico Serra

Short Film, Jury Prize(Tie):
The Toll Collector (Dir: Rachel Johnson)
The Vest (Dir: Paul Gutrecht)

Claiborne Pell Award ForOutstanding Original Vision:
One More Hour With You (Un'oraSola Ti Vorrei)
Dir. Alina Marazzi


Best Feature:
Dir: Alejandro Agresti

Best Documentary:
Shelter Dogs
Dir: Cynthia Wade

Best Short:
Roof Sex
Dir. Pes

Chosen By Middletown High SchoolStudents

Best Film:
Dir. Deepha Mehta

Honorable Mention:
Detective Fiction
Dir: Patrick Coyle