Page last updated at 15:43 GMT, Friday, 20 May 2005 16:43 UK

Palm Dog prize for mystery canine

Harry, president of the Palm Dog jury
Harry is president of the Palm Dog jury, which rewards canine actors

A small Mongolian shepherd dog has been awarded the Cannes film festival's most bizarre prize - the Palm Dog.

The canine cast members' award went to the unnamed black-and-white dog in movie The Cave of the Yellow Dog.

Film distributor Wolfram Skowronnek Schaer picked up the prize on the animal's behalf. "I hope the dog is still alive," he said.

The 2003 Palm Dog was won by a chalk outline of a dog heard barking in the Nicole Kidman film Dogville.

Jury member James Christopher said the choice had been a difficult one.

Referring to the festival's opening movie Lemming, he said: "We had a serious argument about whether the Palm Dog could have been stolen by a lemming at one stage."

Honourable mention

The Cave of the Yellow Dog tells of a small girl who finds a dog and brings it home, but is not allowed to keep it.

Collecting the award on the winner's behalf, Skowronnek said: "He is in Mongolia and we will do our best to bring this to him."

Honourable mentions this year went to a West Highland terrier in the film Greyfriars Bobby and canine actors in competition movies Broken Flowers and Don't Come Knocking.

It was left to small dog Harry, president of the Palm Dog jury, to pose for reporters wearing the winner's black collar.

"There were a lot of dogs at Cannes this year," said film critic and jury member Derek Malcolm. "I stepped on one on my way back to the hotel last night."

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