Marcos Jorge's Estômago - A Gastronomic Story won four prizes at the Première Brazil awards ceremony at the 9th Rio International Film Festival tonight.

The awards were handed out at the historic Odeon BR theatre, where a special Fipresci Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro, nominated for an Oscar in 1998 for Walter Salles' Central Station.

Estômago picked up the best director award, the audience award for best film, the special jury prize and the best actor award for João Miguel, who received the same prize two years ago in Rio, for his performance in Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures.

A satiric study of people's relationship with food, Estômago tells the story of a man who gets by in the society after he learns how to cook and how to divide people: between those who eat and those who are eaten.

Sandra Kogut's Mutum, screened as the closing film in Cannes Director's Fortnight earlier this year, won the best fiction feature prize, the most important award. It's a tale of a 10-year-old boy who is not mute (as the title suggests), but speaks very little, expressing his emotions and thoughts only through his eyes.

Actor Babu Santana took home the festival's second-ranked award, the special jury prize, for performing in two films, Estômago and Mare, Our Love Story, a musical inspired by Romeo And Juliet and portrayed by young people from a slum in Rio.

The jury presided by the cinematographer Affonso Beato rewarded Carla Ribas with the best actress award for Alice's House, where she plays a manicurist who deals with the hardships of life in a poor neighbourhood of Sao Paulo. The performance had already given her the jury special prizes for actress in Miami and Guadalajara film festivals.

After the awards the world premiere screening of Mike Newell's Love in the Time of Cholera closed the 15 days long film festival. Rio's attendance totaled 230,000 admissions this year, a 20% increase over 2006.


Première Brazil Official Jury
Best Fiction Feature: Mutum Sandra Kogut
Best Documentary: Condor Roberto Mader
Best Short: Sete Minutos (Seven Minutes) Cavi Borges, Júlio Pecly and Paulo Silva
Best Director (feature): Marcos Jorge Estômago - A Gastronomic Story
Best Director (documentary): Cao Guimarães Andarilho
Best Actor: João Miguel Estômago - A Gastronomic Story
Best Actress: Carla Ribas Alice's House
Special Jury Prize: Actor Babu Santana Estômago - A Gastronomic Story and Mare, Our Love Story

Audience Awards
Best Fiction Feature: Estômago - A Gastronomic Story Marcos Jorge
Best Documentary: Memories For Daily Use Beth Formaggini
Best Short: Damned Tetê Mattos

Best Latin American Feature: Silent Light Carlos Reygadas