Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata was awarded best film at the Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema on Saturday night (July 19).

Best director went to Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Three Monkeys, echoing his best director win at Cannes earlier this year. Tokyo Sonata also screened at this year's Cannes, where it picked up the jury prize in the Un Certain Regard section.

Salt Of The Sea, from Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir, was awarded Cinefan's special jury prize. The film, about a Palestian woman born and raised in Brooklyn who decides to return home, also shared the FIPRESCI prize with Mehreen Jabbar's Ramchand Pakistani.

Jabbar's film tells the story of a seven-year-old boy who accidentally crosses the border between Pakistan and India and ends up in an Indian prison. India's Percept Picture Company is currently attempting to arrange a day-and-date release for the film in India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Amor Hakkar won best actor for French-Algerian co-production The Yellow House, a film that he also wrote and directed. Best actress was jointly awarded to Hiam Abbas and Rona Lipaz-Michael for The Lemon Tree from Israel. Another Israeli film, Eran Kolirin's The Band's Visit, picked up the audience award.

In the Indian competition, best film went to Girish Kasaravalli's Gulabi Talkies, which also took the best actress prize for Umashree's performance.

Best actor was shared by Rajat Kapur, for his performance in The Prisoner, and Govind Namdeo for Kabootar.

Both films, which are from first-time feature directors, were creating buzz at the festival. Kabootar, directed by Maqbul Khan and produced by Anubhav Sinha, was being described as an Indian City Of God. Pryas Gupta's The Prisoner is a fast-paced drama about a writer who comes out of prison and accidentally picks up a gangster's briefcase full of cash.

Sunil Doshi's Alliance Media & Entertainment recently acquired The Prisoner for distribution in India.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Cinefan has increased its prize money to $250,000 and introduced lifetime achievement awards which went to Indian film-maker Mrinal Sen and Filipino writer Jose 'Pete' F Lacaba.

The festival also held the fourth round of IBM2,a series of seminars, master classes and art auctions and exhibitions. The programme included the Indian edition of the Berlinale's Talent Campus and discussions on screenwriting, film criticism, co-productionandadapting literature for the big screen.

IBM2 also featured a discussion on Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma's influence on cinema. However, Ketan Mehta'supcoming biopicabout Varma, Rang Rasiya, was not screened as planned as thelocal version of the film is not yet ready.

High-profile guests at this year's edition included Johnnie To, on hand to introduce opening film The Sparrow; Paul Schrader, who held a screenwriting masterclass; producer David Weisman (Kiss Of The Spider Woman), and leading Indian filmmakers including Anubhav Sinha, Ketan Mehta and Sudhir Mishra.

The festival closed with Mumbai Cutting: A City Unfolds, an omnibus of ten short films that pay homage to Mumbai, from Indian directors such as Rituparno Ghosh, Shashanka Ghosh and Anurag Kashyap.


Asian and Arab Competition:

Best Film: Tokyo Sonata - dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)

Special Jury Prize: Salt Of This Sea - dir: Annemarie Jacir (Palestine)

Best Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan - Three Monkeys (Turkey)

Best Actor: Amor Hakkar - The Yellow House (France)

Best Actress: Hiam Abbas and Rona Lipaz-Michael - The Lemon Tree (Israel)

Audience Award: The Band's Visit - dir: Eran Kolirin (Israel)

Indian Competition:

Best film: Gulabi Talkies - Girish Kasaravalli

Best director: Remo - A Story Of Red Hills

Best actress: Umashree - Gulabi Talkies

Best actor:

Rajat Kapur - The Prisoner

Govind Namdeo - Kabootar


Confessional - Ruel Dahis Antipuesto & Jerrold Viacrucis Tarog (The Philippines)


Bioscope - K.M. Madhusudhanan (India)


Salt Of The Sea - dir: Annemarie Jacir (Palestine)

Ramchand Pakistani - Mehreen Jabbar (Pakistan)