Masahiro Kobayashi's The Rebirth (Ai No Yokan) became the first Japanese film to receive the Golden Leopard since Akio Jissoji's The Transient Life (Mujo) was an ex aequo winner at the festival in 1970.

Described by artistic director Frederic Maire as 'a very strong and edgy film', The Rebirth also received special mentions from the CICAE Art et Essai and Youth juries as well as being presented with the specially created Daniel Schmid Prize, the latter being a new honour to a film reflecting Schmid's intellectual approach and understanding of filmmaking.

At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening on the Piazza Grande before the world premiere screening of the closing film, Lech Kowalski's Winners and Losers, the International Competition jury headed by French-Swiss actress Irene Jacob gave its prize for Best Direction to Philippe Ramos for the French-Swedish co-production Capitaine Achab which also picked up the FIPRESCI Prize.

The Leopard for Best Actress went to Marian Alvarez in Roser Aguilar's debut feature Lo Mejor De Mi. Best Actor honours were shared between Michele Venitucci in Fulvio Bernasconi's debut Out Of Bounds (Fuori Dalle Corde) and veteran French actor Michel Piccoli (who had received an Excellence Award at the festival earlier in the week) in Hineer Saleem's Sous Les Toits De Paris.

The Jury gave its Special Prize 'for a film that best conveys the spirit of communication between people and culture' to the Jeonju Digital Project 2007 - Memories - by Pedro Costa, Harun Farocki and Eugene Green, while a special mention was made of Cho Sang-yoon's cinematography in Boys Of Tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Amor Hakkar's La Maison Jaune, a favourite with many critics and international buyers, received the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the International Federation of Film Societies' Don Quixote Prize as well one of the Youth Jury's prizes.

In the parallel Filmmakers of the Present competition, the jury - whose members included filmmakers Diego Lerman and Laila Pakalnina - gave their Golden Leopard to Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf for Milky Way (Tejut) and a Special Prize for Imatra by Italy's Corso Salani. Another jury chose Vittorio Rifranti's Tagliare Le Parti In Grigio to receive this year's Leopard for Best First Film.

Not surprising after the reaction of the 7,300-strong audience at last Sunday's screening on the Piazza Grande, Frank Oz's black comedy Death At A Funeral was the winner of this year's Audience Award. Oz's film was probably given a good run for its money since it was up against such popular titles as Paul Greengrass's The Bourne Ultimatum, which attracted 8,500 spectators, including Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Switzerland's Confederation President Micheline Calmy-Rey the previous night, as well as the Friday night's digital HD screening of Adam Shankman's Hairspray which was presented on stage in front of the Piazza Grande screen by the director along with his actress Nikki Blonsky.

A full list of this year's prizewinners can be found at