Egyptian filmmaker Marwan Hamed's The Yacoubian Building (Omaret Yacoubian) won the Golden Eye Award in the best debut category at this year's Zurich Film Festival.

The International Jury, headed by veteran US producer Edward R. Pressman, praised the film's approach of "using classic melodrama to discuss issues and conflicts in Egyptian society not openly discussed. We applaud this courageous effort to solve problems through the medium of film, not bombs."

The Golden Eye for best new fiction film went to John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus which was described by the jury as "a tender and humorous blueprint for how humanity can work in contemporary Western society", while the prize for best new documentary" was picked up by Ben Lewis for his entertaining Hammer & Tickle - The Communist Joke Book.

The festival's closing gala also saw the presentation of a lifetime achievement Golden Eye Award to the UK director Stephen Frears who was the subject of a seven-film tribute this year.

During his stay in Zurich, Frears had joined with producer Jan Harlan and documentary filmmaker Christian Frei to give a two-day masterclass for up-and-coming Swiss directors, screenwriters, producers and actors.