Raja Amari's French-Tunisian title, Satin Rouge, scooped the top prize at the Turin Film Festival (Nov 7-15), Italy's pre-eminent event for international cutting-edge films.
Amari's drama focuses on a mother who discovers a whole new world when she enters, by chance, a Tunis nightclub.
A special mention went to Flying With One Wing (Tani Tatuwen Piyabannat), a dramatic picture from Sri Lankan director Asoka Handagama. The movie revolves around a mechanic who is sexually blackmailed by a doctor who, after an accident, discovers his patient is actually a transexual. The film also won the Audience Award for best Feature film.
Meanwhile, the festival's Euros 1,500 Holden prize for best screenplay was awarded to Brasil's Anna Muylaert for Durval Discos, which follows an ageing rocker whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a child.
Turin's prestigious Euros 10,000 Doc2000 prize for best Italian documentary was scooped by Alina Marazzi's Un Ora Sola Ti Vorrei, a reconstruction of the filmmaker's journey as she edits old home movies in the search of the face of her mother who died when she was 7 years old.
Another big winner from Italy was Andrea D'Ambrosio and Daniele Di Biasio's Fighting Fish (Pesci Combattenti), a documentary about a group of often violent Neapolitan school drop-outs who resurface thanks to a local council project in a special school which offers monetary compensation for good behaviour in order to incite the children to attend classes.
The film was given a special mention by the Doc2000 jury and also won as the Cipputi Award for best film about the working world.
Fighting Fish was produced by Lucky Red's Andrea Occhipinti, indie stalwart Gianluca Arcopinti of Pablo Films and Nicola Giuliano and Francesca Cima of Indigo.