Tyro Polish helmer Slawomir Fabicki has won the top prize at the Rome Film Festival’s New Cinema Network co-production mart for “Bonobo Jingo.”

Fabicki’s first feature, “Retrieval,” was among the European Film Academy’s nominees for European Discovery of the Year in 2006, after screening that year in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.

He previously scored an Oscar nom for his short “Meska Sprawa” in 2002.

“Bonobo Jingo” is about an 11-year-old boy who joins a gang of thieves and befriends a stolen Bonobo Pygmy chimpanzee while living with his family in an abandoned train car, an illegal residence that bulldozers will soon demolish.

The jury that gave out the Rome NCN prize, worth E30,000 ($42,000), consisted of French producer Cedomir Kolar, Spanish producer Simon de Santiago and Italian producer Rosanna Seregni. They praised the script for its strong story that could appeal to a demographically broad audience.

Prize is geared toward international helmers who have made a first feature and are looking to finance their second projects.