Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past has won the Grand Prize for Best Film at the 29th Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent.

The International Jury, under chairmanship of Gerard Mortier, announced the winner Friday night (October 18) at the Capitole theatre. The ceremony preceded the gala screening of the closing film, the European premiere of Shekhar Kapurs' The Four Feathers.

The Grand Prize of the Flemish Community for Best Film - carries a purse of Euros 12,350 for the director and Euros 12,350 for the Belgian distributor that releases the film in Flanders and Brussels.

The Georges Delerue Award for Best Music - of which Euros 6,200 goes to the composer and Euros 6,200 to the Belgian distributor of the winning film - went to Howard Shore for David Cronenberg's Spider.

The SABAM Writers Award for Best Script - consisting of Euros 6,200 going to the writer and Euros 6,200 to the Belgian distributor - was won by Rolf De Heer for The Tracker.

The Robert Wise Prize for Best Director - consisting of Euros 3,700 in order to support the release of winning film - was awarded to Andreas Dresen for Grill Point (Halbe Treppe).

Additionally, the International Jury awarded Canadian director David Cronenberg a Special Jury Prize for his complete body of work.

Traditionally, the International Jury presents the Prize of the Flemish Community for the best Belgian Short. This year however, the jury decided not to award a winner.

During the awards ceremony, other winners chosen by different juries were also announced.

In the Short Film Competition for Flemish Students, the ACE Award for Best Flemish Student Short was won by Micha Pletinckx (KASK) for Schemering. This price consists of Euros 2,480 cash, and Euros 7,400 contributed by ACE for post-production facilities. Snapshot by Jakob Verbruggen received a special mention.

De Prix UIP/Ghent, presented for the third time at the festival, was won by La Chanson-chanson by Xavier Diskeuve (Belgium). This prize consists of Euros 2,000, and additionally a nomination for the Prix UIP part of the European Film Awards 2003, consisting of Euros 10,000.

On Thursday, the StuBru Award was presented to German Director Sven Taddicken for Getting My Brother Laid (Mein Bruder Der Vampir).

For the first time, the festival donated a distribution premium to the winning film of the Fnac Audience Award. Stones by Spanish director Ramon Salazar won the award, comprising Euros 5,000.

Apart from visits by such stars as Juliette Binoche, Jean Reno and Aki Kaurismaki, one of the festival's highlights were the special screenings, over three nights, of the South African soap opera Yizo Yizo which attracted more than 3,300 spectators, some ten times more people than the festival organisers had anticipated.

In addition, this year's event saw Flanders International Film Festival (FIFF) meeting with representatives of Utrecht's Netherlands Film Festival (NFF) to explore ways of working together on joint projects in the future.

Holland Film Meeting supervisor Ellis Driessen told screendaily.com that the Ghent festival could serve as a kind of follow-up event for the Netherlands Production Platform which was held during the NFF for the fourth time this year to allow Dutch producers to pitch new feature projects to possible international partners and had also included projects by two Belgian producers.