The awards were announced at a ceremony Thursday evening in New York. Last year's best documentary winner, "Taxi to the Dark Side," went on to win the Academy Award for documentary.
"Pray the Devil Back to Hell," directed by the American filmmaker Gini Reticker, is about how thousands of women helped turned the tide of violence in Liberia through sit-ins and other peaceful protests. After years of war that killed 250,000, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected president in 2005.
Said the festival jury: "In a relentless pursuit of peace, the women of Liberia show us how community, motherly love and perseverance can change the fate of a society. `Pray the Devil Back to Hell' is a reminder that we have the power to say `Enough!' to the atrocities of the world."
The winner of best narrative feature was "Let the Right One In," a Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson. A combination coming-of-age story and vampire flick, it was hailed by the jury for its "mesmerizing exploration of loneliness and alienation through masterful re-examination of the vampire myth."
Other awards included: Huseyin Karabey ("My Marlon and Brando") for best new narrative filmmaker; Thomas Turgoose and Piotr Jagiello who shared in best actor ("Somers Town"); Eileen Walsh for best actress ("Eden"); and Carlos Carcas for best new documentary filmmaker ("Old Man Bebo").
The winner of the award for best film, determined by audience vote, will be announced Saturday.
By Jake Coyle