Nikolai Lezaic’s drama has picked up the Best Film Award and the Cineuropa Award at the fourth Estoril Film Festival in Portugal.

Tilva Rosh, Serbian director Lezaic’s debut feature, tells the story of two teenagers growing up in a desolate mining town in eastern Serbia. The feature had previously picked up the Heart Of Sarajevo award and premiered at Locarno.

French actress Isabelle Huppert was awarded theSpecial João Benárd da Costa Jury Prize for her performance in Marc Fitoussi’s comedy Copacabana, while Andrey Stempkovsky, Anush Vardanyan and Givi Shavgulidze shared the Montblanc Best Screenplay Award for Russian feature Reverse Motion.

According to festival director Paulo Branco the fifth Estoril Film Festival attracted between 25,000-30,000 visitors. The festival was opened by singer Lou Reed and presented masterclasses from Stephen Frears and John Malkovich.

Speaking to Screen, Branco said: “This was one of the festival’s best editions. We had great films and great art. This festival is based on transversality and the belief that any artist is a filmmaker and any filmmaker is an artist.”

Branco confirmed that going forward the Estoril festival would remain the home of the annual Europa Distribution conference which this year attracted over 60 independent European distributors for its fourth edition.

Over the two-day conference delegates discussed a range of topics including the current state of the European VOD market (which is forecast to be worth €2.2bn by 2013), crowd funding-based production and distribution initiatives and the ongoing Virtual Print Fee (VPF) negotiations.

Regine Vial, president of Europa Distribution and head of distribution at Les Films Du Losange, presented the key elements of legislation recently passed in France outlining French distributors’ contribution to the digitalisation of screens.

The new legislation ensures that the French ministry of culture provides a €125m subsidy for the cost of equipment required for digital conversion, non-film related industries such as sport and theatre, which are increasingly using digital cinemas to show events, make a contribution to the VPF, and crucially that the cost of digitalisation is cheaper than the costs incurred in producing and distributing 35mm prints. According to the law VPF payback to the third party installation outfit can be made over a ten-year period.

Speaking to Screen, Vial said: “I think this is very important. We now have regulation that says that digitalisation must be cheaper than 35mm [production and distribution] and we have a ten year time period in which the payments. We are happy to pay this contribution. I don’t think this model is necessarily the best rule for other countries but it helps to discuss it and exchange ideas.”

France is the first country to pass comprehensive legislation concerning the VPF.

During a panel on current VOD experiences MUBI founder Efe Cakarel was upbeat about the potential for revenue growth in the art house-focused VOD market.

In the wake of MUBI’s recent deal with Sony Playstation, which makes it possible to download the independent film platform from the Playstation Store as a free application, Cakarel anticipated a boom in the niche sector. He warned delegates that “as an industry we previously overestimated the short term potential of VOD, but now we are underestimating the importance and impact of VOD going forward.” Cakarel informed delegates that since the launch of the MUBI-Playstation deal on Wednesday the company had signed up 210,000 new registrants. Cakarel claimed that thanks to the partnership, which extends across 16 countries and approximately 16m consoles, MUBI had “overnight become one of the most significant independent distribution platforms in the world”.

Of the conference’s success, Adeline Monzier of Europa Distribution said: “We’ve reached a point where we have very common ground on a lot of topics and we are now sharing a great deal of information. We had some very lively debates, the delegates took an active part in the schedule and the networking events worked really well. After four years this is a very good sign. We will be back next year.”