Paradox Lake, an American independent production by Polish-born, first-time director Przemyslaw Shemie Reut was named best film at the 8th Athens International Film Festival, which wrapped yesterday (Sept 19).

The film, which received the Audience Award accompanied by a Euros6,000 prize, beat competition including Gus van Sant's Gerry John Sayles Sunshine State and Andrew Smith's The Slaughter Rule in the festival's mainstay American Independents section. Like Gerry and The Slaughter Rule, Paradox Lake first premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival in January.

Other sections included a six-title spotlight on Mexican cinema showcasing films such as Gerardo Tort's De La Calle, Marisa Sistach's Perfume De Violetas and veteran cult figure Jaime Humberto Hermosillo's Escrito En El Cuerpo De La Noche.

Steven Spielberg's Minority Report opened the proceedings at a specially arranged gala. Other highlights in the Panorama and Special Screenings sections included Gaspar Noe's controversial Irreversible, Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar, Paul Greengrass' Bloody Sunday, Shane Meadows' Once Upon A Time In The Midlands and Zhang Yimou's Happy Times. TheCanadian avant-garde cult film maker Guy Madin was the object of a ten title tribute. A classical touch was provided by special screenings of 1930s French master Jean Vigo's L'Atalante, Zero De Conduite and A Propos De Nice from restored prints.

Attendance rose to more than 35,000 up from 30,000 last year. The event was backed by mobile phone maker Nokia, the EU's MEDIA programme, the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Athens Municipality.