Russian drama Playing TheVictim (Izobrajaya Zhertvy) wasawarded the top Marco Aurelio prize at the Rome Film Fest's first editiontoday.

The prize (awarded by a juryof fifty 50 Roman filmgoers led by Ettore Scola) includes a large cash prize of$252,310 (Euros 200,000), which was awarded to the film's director KirillSerebrennikov.

Playing The Victim, a black comedy and adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, is the story of Valya (Yuri Chursin) who takes ajob of impersonating the victims in crime scene reconstructions.

Previously the work was a theater piece that played at playedat the Edinburgh Festival and the film also took top kudos at theKinotavr Open Russian Film Festival-Sochi in June. It marks the third featurefor Serebrennikov, whose previous film Bed Scenes showed in the Visions section at the 2005 TorontoFilm Fest and whose debut Raginwas shown at Karlovy Vary in 2004.

The Special Jury Award wentto Shane Meadows' This Is England,an autobiographical coming-of-age story focusing on a young boy who isbefriended by a group of skinheads.

Meadows, on hand to pick uphis award, first thanked Romans for penne arrabbiata (a spicy pasta dish)before thanking the jury for their "courage in selecting a film whosetough subject matter (racial hatred) is hard to vote for."

French actress ArianeAscaride took the Rome Film Fest-BNL Best Actress honours for her performancein Armenia (Le Voyage en Armenie) byRoberto Guediguian.

The Rome Film Fest - Chamberof Commerce award for Best Actor went to Italian Giorgio Colangeli for hisperformance in novice director Alessandro Angelini's Salty Air (L'ariaSalata).

Children's sidebar Alice InThe City had a jury of 150 children. The Alice winner in the K12 section wentto Liscio, an Italian entrydirected by Claudio Antonini. Morgan J. Freeman's Just Like The Son was voted best picture in the Young Audiencescategory.

Other parallel (nonofficial) awards handed out Saturday included the Cult Award for BestDocumentary (selected by a jury of critics and directors) for Louise Osmond andJerry Rothwell's Deep Water; theL.A.R.A award for best Italian performer (voted by a jury of agents) went toNinetto Davoli for his role in Eugenio Cappuccio's Uno su due.

On Friday, the first editionof the Patricia McQueeney Award for best actor's agent was awarded to UTA's JimBerkus and presented by Harrison Ford.