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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Cronenberg film wins Canada prize
(l-r) Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, David Cronenberg, Vincent Cassel
Cronenberg (second right) was at the film's premiere with its stars
Canadian director David Cronenberg has won the main prize at the Toronto Film Festival for Eastern Promises.

The People's Choice Award, voted for by film fans, is regarded as an early indicator of success at the Oscars.

The tense and violent Russian mob drama set in London, which co-stars Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen, has been receiving positive reviews.

The picture is due to open the 51st London Film Festival, which launches in the city on 17 October.

Hollywood big hitters

Other films which were recognised on the closing night of the Toronto gala were Juno, a Canadian movie about teenage pregnancy, and Body of War, a documentary from former US talk show host Phil Donahue.

Spanish-Mexican production La Zona took the international critics' prize, which honours a film by an up-and-coming director.

Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett promoted the Elizabeth sequel in Toronto

Festival director Piers Handling said of Cronenberg's win: "It's great that it's a Canadian film by one of our monsters."

The film-maker was not in Toronto to accept the award as he is in the US on a promotional tour where it opened in selected cities this weekend.

Cronenberg and lead actor Mortensen worked together on 2005's A History of Violence, which was nominated for two Academy Awards.

This year's Toronto Film Festival has attracted a wealth of Hollywood big hitters, including Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Cate Blanchett.

The Australian actress attended the world premiere of The Golden Age in the Canadian city, in which she reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth I.

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