Sepet, an inter-racial lovestory by commercials director Yasmin Ahmad, won six awards including best filmat the 18th Malaysian Film Festival, which presents the country'stop film awards.

Theother awards included best promising actor (Ng Choo Seong), best promisingactress (Sharifah Amani), best supporting actress (Ida Nerina) and bestoriginal storyline (Ahmad).

ButAhmad was beaten by Puteri GunungLedang's Saw Teong Hin who made history for being the first non-Malay totake the best director award.

The$4m (RM15m) Puteri Gunung Ledang, themost expensive Malaysian film ever, also walked away with best screenplay, bestart direction and best music score as well as a special jury award for beingthe first Malaysian epic.

Malaysia'smost bankable actress Erra Fazira was named best actress for playing from ayoung woman until the old age in her 70s in HinggaHujung Nyawa while best actor went to psychological thriller Di Ambang Misteri's Zamarul Hisham.

Organisedby the National Film Development Board (FINAS) and the Federation of ScreenGuilds Malaysia (GAFIM), this year's Malaysian Film Festival had a record 25feature films, 34 shorts, 16 documentaries and 20 animations nominated in 21award categories - a testimony to the thriving local film industry.

However,some industry members question the organisers' policy of not accepting digitalfilms, making the noteworthy works by young independent filmmakers ineligibleto compete. These included James Lee's BeautifulWashing Machine, Ho Yuhang's Santuary,Amir Muhammad's The Big Durian,Deepak Kumran's Chemman Chaalai,Sandosh Kesavan's Aandal, Woo MingJin's Monday Morning Glory and Visits: HungryGhost Anthology.

Separately,Malaysia will play host to the 50th Asia Pacific Film Festival fromSeptember 28 - October 1.