Based on the life of Nolberto Coria who plays himself (as Beto) in the story about the gap between rich and poor and white and Indios in Mexico, Parque Via also received the Fipresci International Critics Prize.
At a closing press conference, the French actress and jury member Rachida Brakni said that the jury had been unanimous in its decision on choosing this film, which combines documentary elements and fiction. 'We all agreed that it was a very cinematic work,' she noted.
At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening on the Piazza Grande, the International Competition jury gave its Special Jury Prize for the second-best film to Polish filmmaker Malgoska Szumowska's second feature 33 Scenes From Life, starring Julia Jentsch, Peter Gantzler and Maciej Stuhr, while the Leopard for Best Director went to Canadian Denis Cote for his third feature Elle Veut Le Chaos.
The Leopard for Best Actress was awarded to Ilaria Occhini for her performance in Federico Bondis debut feature Mar Nero, while the Best Actor honour was taken by Tayanc Ayaydin for his role as an independent young market trader in Eastern Turkey in Ben Hopkins' The Market - A Tale Of Trade.
Meanwhile, special mentions were given by the jury, which included last year's Golden Leopard winner Masahiro Kobayashi and Serbia's Goran Paskaljevic, to Chinese filmmaker Pan Jianlin for Feast of Villains and to South Korea's Noh Young-seok's road movie Daytime Drinking which also received the Network for Asian Cinema's Netpac Prize.
In the parallel Filmmakers of the Present competition, the jury - whose members included filmmakers Benedek Fliegauf and Corso Salani - gave their Golden Leopard to Swiss director Fernand Melgar for his documentary La Forteresse and a Special Prize for Alicia En El Pais by Chile's Esteban Larrain, while the jury for the Best First Feature Leopard in the two competitions awarded their prize to Austrian playwright Händl Klaus for his feature debut März.
Although the nightly Piazza Grande open-air programme was considered by many to be weaker than previous years and not a match on this year's International Competition, two titles nevertheless stood out as candidates for this year's Audience Award: Philipp Stölzl's mountaineering drama North Face (Nordwand), which attracted 7,700 spectators on its Saturday evening screening slot on the first weekend, and the eventual winner, Garth Jennings' caustic comedy Son Of Rambow which is only now being released theatrically in Continental Europe this autumn.
The festival's organisers reported a 4% increase in the number of admissions for the cinemas - up from 117,651 in 2007 to 123,3008, while rain on six evenings during Piazza Grande open-air screenings meant that admissions for these presentations dropped from 68,100 last year to 56,700 for the 61st edition of the festival. This therefore explained the 3% drop in overall attendance to 180,008 this year.
A full list of this year's prizewinners can be found at www.pardo.ch.