“The Salamander Child” by Belgian director Theo Degen, hailing from the INSAS film school, was named as the top prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation student film section. The announcement was greeted by vigorous applause and widespread approval.

The jury comprising Tunisian writer, Kaouther Ben Hania, Swedish writer-actor-director, Tuva Novotny, French writer-director Alice Winocour, Egyptian writer-director-producer Sameh Alaa, Spanish filmmaker and teacher Carlos Muguiro and French director and screenwriter Nicolas Pariser, described the film as “personal, original and magical.”

The Cinefondation, in its 24th edition this year, invited student films from 17 film schools, having receive applications from 1,835. The shortlisted films included 13 live-action and 4 animated shorts.

Second place prize went to South Korea’s Yoon Daewoon, from the Korea National University of Arts, for “Salamander,” a film that the jury described as “delivering a surprising transformation and a subtility that moved us, by a promising director.”

Two third place prizes were awarded to “Love Stories on the Move” (aka “Prin Oras Circula Scurte Povesti De Dragoste”) by Carina-Gabriela Dasoveanu from Romania’s UNATC “I. L. Carigale,” and to “Cantareira,” by Rodrigo Ribeyro from the Academia Internacional de Cinema Brazil.

The Festival allocates a €15,000 grant for the first prize, €11,250 for the second and €7,500 for the third.