Opera Jawa , an Indonesian musical filled with gamelan music and Javanese court dances, won best film at the Silver Screen Awards of the 20th Singapore International Film Festival. Director Garin Nugroho was on hand to receive the top honour.

Iraqi Kurdistan-born Shawkat Amin Korki took home best director for his debut Crossing The Dust which he filmedsoon after the US troops arrived in Iraq. The picture also shared the NETPAC jury award with Korean coming-of-age comedy Like A Virgin by Lee Hae-young and Lee Hae-jun.

Carlos Chahine walked away with best actor for The Last Man, a Beirut-set Lebanon-France co-production by Ghassan Salhab. Best actress went to Han Hyo-ju who stands in as the daughter for a dying man for one night in Korean director Lee Yoon-ki's Ad-Lib Night.

A special jury prize was presented to Chinese director Ying Liang's The Other Half.

The main jury consisted of Bangladeshi director Morshedul Islam, Masoud Amralla Al Ali of the Dubai International Film Festival, Hong Kong independent filmmaker James Leong as well as veteran actor Lim Kay Tong and filmmaker Bertrand Lee, both from Singapore.

The NETPAC jury panel included Jeannette Paulson Hereniko of Hawaii International Film Festival, Hong Kong film critic Freddie Wong and Parvathi Nayar of Singapore 's Business Times financial paper.

This year, the event achieved better-than-expected box office revenues and admissions. Festival director Philip Cheah says the festival is pleased with more than 20% of the 96 screenings being sold-out so far. The festival will close on Monday with Opera Jawa.

Another success was the various programmes on Arabic cinema. 'Not only the audience, but even the Asian foreign critics and guests had their interest piqued and realised that this was an area of cinema that needed more attention,' says Cheah.

He is also happy to see the new generation Singapore filmmakers charging ahead with independent projects. As announced in a panel discussion during the festival, Sun Koh is initiating an anthology project, Lucky 7, as the first collaborative effort among local filmmakers.

With an ultra-low budget, the HD picture is composed of seven segments by seven young filmmakers including Koh. Despite their multiple genres, the segments will be assembled into one story starring one main actor, Sunny Pang. The picture is currently in post-production.


Best Asian Feature Film Category - Best Film:

Opera Jawa by Garin Nugroho

Special Jury Award:

The Other Half by Ying Liang

Best Director:

Crossing The Dust by Shawkat Amin Korki

Best Actor:

Carlos Chahine in The Last Man by Ghassan Salhab

Best Actress:

Han Hyo-ju in Ad Lib Night by Lee Yoon-ki

NETPAC Jury Award:

Crossing The Dust by Shawkat Amin Korki and Like A Virgin by Lee Hae-young and Lee Hae-jun

Best Singapore Short Film Category - Best Film:

Conversations by Tia Quah

Special Jury Prize:

Katong Fugue by Boo Junfeng

Best Director:

Tan Keng Ing Kirsten for Fonzi

Special Achievement Award:

Tan Wei Keong for White