ROME — The Rome Film Festival’s New Cinema Network co-production mart has selected “Shun Li and the Poet,” a project by young Italo helmer Andrea Segre, as winner of its Focus Europe prize.

Segre’s project is a naturalistic love story set on a small island in the Venetian lagoon where an old fisherman and an immigrant Chinese waitress become entangled.

The jury, comprising producers Simon De Santiago, Cedomir Kolar and Rosanna Seregni, praised Segre’s “Shun Li” for its “original, poetic and deeply human approach to immigration as a topic.”

The Focus on Europe prize promotes the production of sophomore works and carries Euros 30,000 ($37,000) in seed coin.

“Shun Li,” which aims to mark acclaimed documaker Segre’s feature film debut, is being shepherded by Italo producer Francesco Bonsembiante.

The NCN nod for best first work, worth Euros 4,000 ($ 5,000), went to Dutch helmer Threes Anna’s San “The Bird Can’t Fly,” starring Barbara Hershey as a pastry chef in South Africa. “Bird” recently unspooled in San Sebastian.

Rome’s three-day co-production mart, which ended Monday, was attended by 85 international production, financing and sales companies including Celluloid Dreams, Arte, Pandora and Future Films, plus a large Italo contingent comprising, among others, Medusa, RAI Cinema and Indigo Films.