Berlin Audience Award to 'Lemon Tree'


BERLIN -- Eran Riklis' "Lemon Tree" has won the Audience Award for best film in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival.

"Lemon Tree" is the story of a Palestinian woman who inherits a lemon grove that borders on the land of the Israeli defense minister. More than 20,000 Berlin cinemagoers cast ballots for this year's Audience Award.

Second place went to Julian Shaw's documentary "Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story" about the famous South African satirist and AIDS activist Pieter-Dirk Uys. Another documentary, Samson Vicent's "Erika Rabau -- Puck of Berlin," took third place. The film follows veteran Berlin Film Festival photographer Erika Rabau as she snaps her way through the 2007 event.

The Iranian-French co-production "Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame" by young Iranian director Hana Makmalbaf has won the Crystal Berlin Bear for best film running in Berlin's Generations sidebar. Set in Afghanistan, "Buddha" looks at the struggles of a young girl trying to raise the money to go to school. The Generations jury gave a special mention to the Norwegian film "The Ten Lives of Titanic the Cat" from Grethe Boe.

"The Black Balloon" from Australian director Elissa Down, a story of dealing with autism, took the best film prize in the Generations 14plus section. Nina Parley's animated feature "Sita Sings the Blues," which is based on an Indian folk tale, received special mention from the jury.

The Grand Prize of children's charity association the Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk, went to Oliver Jean-Marie's comic-book adaptation "Go West! A Lucky Luke Adventure." A special mention went to the coming-of-age story "Mutum" by Brazilian director Sandra Kogut.

European art house cinema group Europa Cinemas Label and the Confederation of International Art House Cinemas both picked "Revanche," a crime drama set in rural Austria by director Gotz Spielmann as the best European film screening at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

A tale of guilt and revenge, Spielmann's film follows the story of Axel, a low-ranking criminal who falls in love with one of the girls in his bosses' brothel. It stars Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko and Andreas Lust. Germany's The Match Factory is handling international sales on the picture.

"This is a very well-made and dramatic film that we believe has the potential to grip audiences around Europe," the Europa Cinemas jury said in a statement. "The story is absorbing, the characters well-drawn and the performances uniformly strong. This is true European cinema at its best -- an authentic and uncompromised view of a corner of Europe."

The Confederation's top Forum prize went to the docudrama "United Red Army" from Japanese filmmaker Wakamatsu Koji.

The Berlinale's Teddy Award for best film with a gay theme was awarded in Berlin Thursday night to Olaf de Fleur's "The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela." The Icelandic film is set in the Philippines and tells of a transsexual prostitute who dreams of marrying a white, Western man. The Teddy jury prize went to "Be Like Others," from Tanaz Eshaghian, a look at the oppression of homosexuals in Iran. The Best Documentary Teddy went to "Football Under Cover," from David Assmann and Ayat Najafi. Their crowd-pleasing film follows a soccer match, in Iran, between the Iranian national woman's team and a team of young woman from the Kreuzberg district of Berlin.

The Ecumenical Jury, which represents the Protestant and Catholic churches, picked Philippe Claudel's "I've Loved You So Long" as its best film of the Berlinale. Special mention went to Wang Xiaoshuai's "Zuo You -- In Love We Trust." The Ecumenical Jury's Panorama prize was awarded to John Crowley's "Boy A."

The Fipresci association of international film critics picked Fernando Eimbcke's "Lake Tahoe" as its favorite of the festival. The story of a young boy coming to terms with the death of his father, also won the coveted Alfred Bauer prize. Fipresci's Panorama award went to "Mermaid" from Russian director Anna Melikian, with the Forum prize going to Natalie Assouline's "Brides of Allah."

Amos Kollek's "Restless," which was shut out of the main Berlinale award, picked up the top prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas.

Naoko Ogigami's "Megane" won the Panorama"s Manfred Salzgeber prize with the Dialogue en perspective prize -- awarded by French channel TV5 Monde in co-operation with the Franco-German Youth audience -- going to Sebastian Heidinger's "Drifter."