The competition was launched to acknowledge the cutting edge work of first- and second-time features film-makers from around the world.
AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo said: “Our jury enjoyed and deliberated over a truly outstanding group of films, and ultimately decided that the award should be shared by these two amazing works of art.”
The 2009 festival, sponsored by Audi, also gave a special jury mention to Ajami, directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani.
The New Lights winners were announced at AFI FEST’s reception following a closing night screening of Tom Ford’s A Single Man.
The New Lights competition jury was led by actress and film-maker Angela Bassett and also comprised fellow actress and filmmaker Julie Delpy, noted film journalist Bill Krohn, Sergio Wolf, the artistic director of the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (BAFICI), and Hong Kong film-maker Yonfan.