The 2009 Milan International Film Festival will mark the unveiling of an innovative new format, a hybrid of award ceremony and film festival.

The new awards program will give not-yet-released independent movies the opportunity to be in competition with nominations, and be promoted through the prestige of the Milanese “Oscar” statuette, Leonardo’s Horse. The nominated movies will be exhibited privately to the judges before the festival so as to maintain their premiere status.

The MIFF awards ceremony will kick off the multi-day event, followed by a full program of multiple screenings of the awarded movies. The Grand Audience Winners Award will be revealed on the final day of the festival.

Andrea Galante, founder and director of the festival, explained the thought process behind this unique format: “We want our films to be sold and distributed. With this in mind, I began thinking in reverse—from the goal of releasing a film to understand the necessary steps.”

The festival will take place on May 4-12, 2009 in Milan, Italy. For more information, visit