South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-Dong’s Poetry picked up the Le Regard d’Or Grand Prix and FIPRESCI Award at Switzerland’s Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) which celebrated its 25th edition this year.

The International Jury, including India’s Sunil Doshi and Georgia’s George Ovashvili awarded the Swiss Francs 30,000 top prize to Poetry “for the skillful fusion, the perfect unity, the beauty, the purity and essence of art in itself: poetry”,  and made a Special Mention of Sin Retorno from Miguel Cohan.

In addition a Special Jury Award “for inventiveness in script and directing, for renewal of cinematographic language or for thematic and formal audacity” was presented to Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Abdolvahab’s Please Don’t Disturb, while the jury of the International Federation of the Film Societies gave its Don Quixote Award to Autumn by Aamir Bashir from India.

At the same time, Los Colores del la Montaña by Carlos César Arbeláez went home with both the Ecumenical Jury Award and the festival’s Audience Award.

This year’s edition of FIFF was the last under the direction of Edouard Waintrop who had taken up the position in 2007 and is now moving to become the new director of the Centre d’animation cinématographique Voltaire (CAC Voltaire) in Geneva.

His successor, Thierry Jobin, responsible for the film section of the Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps since 1998, will take over in Fribourg from this May.

Meanwhile, Marie Kreutzer’s feature debut The Fatherless (Die Vaterlosen), which premiered at the Berlinale’s Panorama last month, was the big winner at this year’s Diagonale showcase of Austrian cinema held in the Styrian city of Graz.

The film bagged four awards at the weekend’s closing ceremony, including the Grand Prix for Best Feature Film as well as prizes for cinematography in a feature film (Leena Koppe) and best actor (Johannes Krisch) and actress (Marion Mitterhammer).

Other prizewinners included Elfi Mikesch for her cinematography on her documentary Mondo Lux – Die Bilderwelten des Werner Schroeter and editors Evi Romen for Wolfgang Murnberger’s My Best Enemy and Wolfgang Widerhofer for the Diagonale’s opening film Abendland.

Visiting Graz during the festival week for the Diagonale’s Industry Day, Austria’s Minister of Culture Claudia Schmied pointed out that her budget for film had increased by Euros 8m between 2006 and 2011 with funding for the Austrian Film Institute rising from Euros 9.6m to Euros 16.57m. “In the long term, I am aiming to get an increase of the budget of the Austrian Film Institute to Euros 20m,” Schmied announced, adding that she was also looking at contributing co-financing of up to Euros 500,000 for the digital conversion of Austria’s cinema screens.

She explained that her ministry “could fund up to 25% of the jointly agreed basic costs per screen. However, funding will also be required from the federal states (Länder), communities and other ministries as well as own contributions by the cinema-owners for the complete realization.”

Talks about a co-financing model are already underway with cinema-owners, distributors and political decision-makers at local, regional and national level.

Schmied stressed that any funding by her ministry for digital conversion would not be siphoned off from existing budgets such as the one for supporting innovative film projects.