Pistol Opera, (pictured) the first film in eight years directed by Japanese master Seijun Suzuki, has won the first FIPRESCI (Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique) Award to be presented at the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF), which ended yesterday.

Chair of the FIPRESCI jury, Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, described Pistol Opera as a "highly personal blend of traditional and experimental cinema". Australian director Tony Ayres' debut feature Walking On Water, written by Roger Monk, was given a special mention due to the "freshness" of the writing and acting.

BIFF chose to reflect its long-standing interest in Asian cinema and its love of local films when it was decided this year that each of Australia's east coast capital city festivals would bestow FIPRESCI awards.

Seafood, the Chinese/Hong Kong film directed by one-time Chinese novelist Zhu Wen, won the NetPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award, the Asian cinema award introduced last year.

A special mention was given to Whispering Sands, the debut film from Indonesian writer/director Nan T Achnas which stars local acting legend Christine Hakim.