'Haifa' earns New Cinema's Italian nod


ROME -- The New Cinema Network announced Wednesday that its prize for best Italian project will be awarded to Mohsen Melliti for "Returning to Haifa," an examination of the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a single Palestinian a family.

The prize, sponsored by the Italian Society of Authors and Editors, identifies important in-progress projects and works to help get them completed by matching the project with producers.

The selection of Melliti's project for the honor is unusual because the director was born in Tunisia. But he is eligible for the prize because he has lived in exile here since 1991.

The prize for best European project prize went to Polish director Slawomir Fabicki's "Bonobo Jingo," about a young boy whose family is forced to live in abandoned railway carriages who ends up owning a monkey freed during a robbery attempt.

Two other films, both from French directors, received an honorable mention: Dominique Lienhard's anti-war drama "Along the Main Road" and "Butano" from Laurent Negre, the story of a young Pakistani immigrant to Barcelona.