Scandinavian productionstook top honours at Sunday's closing gala of the 12th Athens International FilmFestival-Opening Nights Conn-X, obtaining all three major awards.
The Swedish/Danishco-production Farval Falkenberg(Falkenberg Farewell), directed by first timer Jesper Ganslandt was named BestFilm. The director was present to receive the Golden Athena Award of $9,560(7,500 Euros).
The Best Direction awardwent to the Norwegian production DenBrysomme Mannen (The Bothersome Man) by Jens Lien.
The Best Screenplay awardwent to Kim Fupz Aakeson and Pernille Fischer Christensen for the Danishproduction En Soap (A Soap), directedby Fischer Christensen.
The official jury for the 15-title-strong competitive section was formed by 18- to25-year-old cinephiles from EU member countries.
Two US productions shared the Audience Award. Swedish Auto by Derek Sieg was votedbest film of the competition section while John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus was named best film out ofcompetition. Cameron Mitchell had previously received an Audience Award for his 2001 debut feature Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Among the highlights of the Athens festival was the presence of veteran US actor Ben Gazzara, who starred in The Shore,which is the debut feature of US-Greek film-maker Dionysios Zervos. Gazzaraalso appears in one episode of the porte manteau film Paris Je t'Aime, which was the closing film of the Festival and was presentedby its producers Claudie Ossard and Chris Bolzli.
Other guests included UK director Andrea Arnold, German actress MartinaGedeck and UK writer Sam North, director of literary agencyConville & Walsh, who held a masterclass on the adaptation of literature forthe cinema. Also present was Yacef Saadi, producer and actor in GilloPontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers(1966), which was presented in the Special Screenings section alongside otherclassics such as John Frankenheimer's Secondsand Vera Chytilova's Daisies.
Attendance for the 11-dayevent saw 48,800 admissions.