Abu Dhabi, Nov 1 (IANS) Veteran Hollywood talent Judi Dench and Argentinian performer Diego Peretti clinched the best actress and best actor awards respectively in the Narration Feature Competition of the seventh Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), it was announced at the gala's closing ceremony here Thursday night.
Indian actress Tillotama Shome won the best actress title in another competition category.
Dench was awarded here for her role in British drama "Philomena", which is based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who spent decades searching for the son taken from her by Catholic nuns and sold into adoption overseas.
The actress was not present at the ceremony, which was held at the auditorium of the glitzy and majestic Emirates Palace here, but the applause for her victory was loud enough to let her know how much her performance was loved by audiences.
Peretti won for "La reconstruccion", which translates to "The Reconstruction". The actor embodies the role of a workaholic oil worker, who finds his lonely routine shattered when he rekindles an old friendship that bring key changes to his life.
In the Narration Feature Competition, which focuses on exciting vision and original storytelling in narrative feature films by international filmmakers, the Black Pearl Award for best narrative film went to "A Touch of Sin" Jia Zhangke. The jury, comprising Jacki Weaver (Australia), Adrian Wootton (Britain), Hiam Abbass (Palestine), Dora Bouchoucha (Tunisia) and Sandra den Hamer (Netherlands), gave a special award to Hiner Saleem's Kurdish film "My Sweet Pepper Land".
"In The Sands of Babylon", a hard-hitting docu-drama, won the best film from the Arab world, while Merzak Allouache was honoured with the best director from the Arab world trophy.
The awards ceremony also saw Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass receiving the Black Pearl Career Achievement Award. Having worked in movies like "Munich", "The Visitor", "Miral", and "Peace After Marriage", the audience gave her a much-deserve standing ovation. Hollywood actor Forest Whitaker was also chosen for the Career Achievement honour, and he was awarded on the fest's opening ceremony Oct 24.
Awards in multiple categories were given away in front of a packed audience Thursday night..
Winners of the New Horizons Competition, which awards work of first-time and second-time directors of fresh narrative films from around the world, were adjudged by Yesim Ustaoglu (Turkey), Irene Bignardi (Italy), Nour-Eddine Lakhmari (Morocco), Valery Todorovsky (Ukraine) and Michel Kammoun (Lebanon). This year, 15 films competed in this category.
The Black Pearl Award went to "Still Life", directed by Uberto Pasolini, while a special jury award was bestowed on Levan Koguashvili for "Blind Dates", and a special mention was also made for Aaron Wilson's "Australia".
Hisham Zaman's "Before Snowfall" was named the best film from the Arab world, and there was a separate special jury award for a film from the Arab world for "Villa 69", helmed by Ayten Amin.
The best actor award was taken home by "The Double" star Jesse Eisenberg, and the best actress honour was shared between Indian actress Tillotama Shome for "Qissa" and Norwegian talent Julia Wildschutt for "Love Me".
Awards were also given out in the Showcase section (judged by the audience), Documentary Feature Competition and Our World Competition categories.
ADFF, for the first time, introduced the Child Protection Award category in partnership with the Ministry of Interior. The award aims to draw attention to movies which raise awareness about the situation of abused or neglected children or promote prevention measures in this regard. "These Birds Walk", set in Pakistan, won the best film.
Japanese film "Like Father, Like Son" got the award for best script, and four films found special mentions - "Short Term 12", "My Name Is Hmmm..." and "The Queen" and "Agri And The Mountain".
ADFF FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award 2013 was shared by "The rooftops" and "El Gort". The ADFF NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award 2013 was given to "Harmony Lessons).
The fest concludes Saturday.