Director Shane Meadows has picked up the special jury prize at the inaugural Rome Film Festival for This Is England.
Meadows' previous films include A Room for Romeo Brass
The film, set in 1983, is about an impressionable young boy who becomes involved with a gang of skinheads.
"I thank the jury because the subject matter of the film is not something easy to vote for," Meadows told the AFP news agency.
Russian film Playing The Victim, a modern-day version of Shakespeare's Hamlet, won the best film prize.
The films were judged by a popular jury of 50 film fans chosen from the public.
The director of Playing the Victim, Kirill Serebrennikov, gave an emotional speech after the winner was announced.
"This film is a film for Russia and for Russians. Because we still believe that cinema can change people's way of thinking and consciences," he said.
France's Ariane Ascaride was named best actress for her role in Robert Guediguian's poignant drama Armenia.
Italy's Giorgio Colangeli was judged best actor in the film L'Aria Salata (The Salt Air) by Alessandro Angelini.
The film follows the story of a father and son who are reunited in unusual circumstances after years of estrangement.
Sir Sean Connery was honoured with a lifetime achievement award on the eve of the festival earlier this month.