'Hunger', the new film about the IRA hunger strikers and the last weeks of Bobby Sands' life, has won the Camera d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Best First Feature.

'Hunger' is the feature directing debut of Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen and stars German-born and Kerry-raised actor Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

At the festival's closing ceremony, McQueen said of 'Hunger': "The film is about people in a situation of extreme pressure and what people do and what we do."

Commenting on the film's win, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen congratulated the cast, crew and producers.

He said: "This is the third year running that Irish film has been honoured at Cannes. Following the success of 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' and 'Garage', this Camera D'Or will keep Irish film practitioners in the world's eye for the foreseeable future."

The Minister continued: "On this island we are proving our world class in the art and business of film craft. This film covers a very turbulent part of our history with an unadorned reality and reminds us of how far we have come as an island in the last quarter century."

It is expected that 'Hunger', which was supported financially by the Northern Ireland Film Board and by the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, will be released in the autumn.

At the Cannes Film Festival the French film 'The Class' won the biggest award, the Palme d'Or.

Benicio del Toro was named Best Actor for his performance in the Che Guevara biopic 'Guerrilla', with Sandra Corveloni winning Best Actress for her performance in the Brazilian film 'Line of Passage'.

Clint Eastwood and Catherine Deneuve received Lifetime Achievement awards at the closing ceremony.

Visit our Cannes Film Festival gallery here.