'Ein Shams' takes top prize at Taormina

Fatih Akin honored at festival for career achievement

ROME -- Ibrahim el-Batout's drama "Ein Shams" (Eye of the Sun) took home the Golden Bull, the top prize at the 54th Taormina Film Festival Saturday, capping a strong festival for films from countries honored in the festival's national sidebar over the last two years.

"Ein Shams" -- which had its world premiere in Taormina -- hails from Egypt, which was last year's spotlight. Turkey, the national spotlight this year, produced "Tatil Kitabi" (Summer Book), a drama from Seyfi Teoman -- which won the special jury prize.

Turkish-German director Fatih Akin was also honored with a Nielsen prize for career achievement, and Turkey's Ferzan Ozpetek was the head of the jury.

The prize winners illustrate Taormina's efforts to cast itself as a Mediterranean festival rather than an Italy-focused event.

The cast of "Tractor, Love, and Rock-n-Roll" from Slovenia's Branko Djuric won the prize for best acting.

The Taormina event, Italy's second oldest film festival, is directed by Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter's chief international critic.