The Nordic Council's Film Prize 2002, which was awarded for the first time on Tuesday night, went to Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki for The Man Without A Past - which has also been selected as the Finnish candidate for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

With the Nordic Council's Film Prize, which was awarded at the Nordic Council's 50th anniversary gala at the Opera House in Helsinki, came a $46,270 (DKK 350,000) cash award to be shared by the film's director, scriptwriter and producer - in this case Karurismaki alone.

The jury consisted of representatives from all five Nordic countries, who had to choose between 10 features from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Aki Kaurismaki has had his most successful year ever following the release of his new film, the second instalment in his Finland trilogy kicked off with Drifting Clouds in1996, and has travelled the world to pick up awards including the Jury Grand Prix and Best Actress (Kati Outinen) in Cannes, FIPRESCI's Best Feature of the Year award in San Sebastian, the Douglas Sirk Award in Hamburg, and most recently the Flemish Community's Grand Prix for Best Feature at Belgium's 29th Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent.