Dvortsevoy also won the best director prize for the film, his feature directing debut. Tulpan tells the story of a navy serviceman who returns to nomadic life on the steppe of Kazakhstan with hopes of getting married and becoming a shepherd.
'The jury was unanimous. We all considered it a surpassing artistic achievement,' stated jury chairman Jon Voight upon presenting the award. Tulpan won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category in Cannes earlier this year.
The film was also the second highest rated competition entry in a local critics poll published in the official TIFF daily newspaper.
The Special Jury Prize and $20,000 went to Polish-French co-production 4 Nights With Anna, directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. Voight described it as 'achingly beautiful, perfect and moving.'
In the acting category, Felicite Wouassi won best actress for her role in French social drama With A Little Help From Myself, directed by Francois Dupeyron. The film also won the best artistic contribution prize.
Vincent Cassel won best actor for his role as real life criminal Jacques Mesrine in Jean-Francois Richet's two-part French gangster chronicle Public Enemy No. 1.
Jose Antonio Quiros' entry Ashes From The Sky won the Tokyo Earth Grand Prix award for its ecology-minded outlook. The natural TIFF section and the award were established this year as part of the festival's new eco-friendly mandate. Chairman Tom Yoda promised increased eco initiatives at future editions and a newly-created 'Green Carpet Club'.
Tetsu Maeda's competition entry School Days With A Pig won the Tokyo Earth Grand Prix jury award. The film also picked up the audience award. Paul Newman-narrated documentary The Meerkats won the Tokyo Earth Grand Prix special prize.
The Winds Of Asia-Middle East category's top prize and $10,000 was awarded to Turkish film My Marlon And Brando, feature debut of director Huseyin Karabey. Special mentions went to Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises, Ann Hui's The Way We Are and Yasman Ahmad's The Convert.
The 10-film Japanese Eyes section's best picture prize and Y1m ($10,615) went to late director Jun Ichikawa's Buy A Suit, accepted by his wife Sachiko Ichikawa. The special award went to Ittoku Kishibe's role in Osaka Hamlet.
As previously reported on Screendaily.com, the Akira Kurosawa Award was given to Russian actor-director Nikita Mikhalkov and Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige, who both took the stage to receive the honour from Kurosawa's daughter Kazuko.
The Japan premiere of Pixar's Wall-E followed the awards ceremony as closing film.
Audience admissions for TIFF totaled 41,471, a drop of over 25,000 from last year's 68,705. A total of 315 films screened versus 305 in 2007. Total attendance at Co Festa-umbrella events, including the TIFFCOM market, remained flat at 192,273.