Tunis wins two top awards at Taormina

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ROME -- "Making Off, le Dernier Film" (Making Of), which won two prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival, took home two more major awards Friday when it won the Golden Bull for best film and the top performance prize at the 53rd Taormina FilmFest.

The film, from Tunisian director Nouri Bouzid, tells the story of a group of Muslim fundamentalists who try to turn a young banker, played by best perfomance winner Lotfi Abdelli, into a suicide bomber. The Taormina best film prize is the biggest honor yet for the highly regarded film, which took home a special mention for its screenplay and a best actor nod for Abdelli at Tribeca, which concluded last month.

Among other prize winners at Taormina were Italian Mafia informer drama "L'Uomo di Vetro" (Man of Glass), from Stefano Incerti, which won a jury prize for best script. A separate jury prize was given to Israeli David Volach's "Hofshat Kaits" (My Father, My Lord) -- another Tribeca honoree, for best narrative feature -- which recounts the story of a rabbi forced to choose between his faith and his family.

Bulgarian director Ilian Simeonov won the Beyond the Mediterranean prize for "Warden of the Dead," and a best short film award was given to Paolo Santangelo's "Pisci di Broru," awarded based on Internet voting from viewers who saw the nominees on the festival's web site.

On Saturday, the day after the festival's close, Guiseppe Tornatore was awarded Italy's Nastri d'Argento (Silver Ribbons) award for best film for his 2006 drama "La Sconosciuta" (The Unknown Woman). The Nastri d'Argento prizes, which were announced previously, are Italy's oldest film honors and are handed out each year by Italy's National Film Journalists Union.

Tornatore -- best known for "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso," the 1990 Oscar winner for Best Film -- was honored earlier during the Taormina event with a retrospective that included extensive screenings of his work.

Other Nastri d'Argento winners included Nanni Moretti's "Il Caimano" (The Cayman), which took home prizes for best producer and both of the top acting prizes. Ennio Morricone, who won an honorary Oscar this year, won the Nastri d'Argento prize for best musical score for his work on Turnstone's "La Sconosciuta."

This year's Taormina event, which started June 16, grabbed worldwide attention as the site of the international launch of megabudget summer thriller "Transformers," from Michael Bay. The festival is recasting itself as a Mediterranean event and a launching pad for international summer films.
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