A short film about a stranger who uses a pen to help a homeless blind man has won an online contest organized by the National Film Board of Canada at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Historia de un Letrero" ("The Story of a Sign"), a heartwarming story produced in Mexico and the U.S. by Alonso Alvarez Barreda, won the contest in which online viewers could vote for their favourite film.

Nine films from around the world were chosen as finalists from over 650 submissions to the Cannes festival's Short Film Corner.

"Victor Gazon" by Patrick Gaze was the sole Canadian film on the short list.

The nine films were made available in English and French on YouTube and were viewed a total of 193,933 times in 10 days - twice as many as last year, said the NFB.

This is the fourth edition of the contest, run by the NFB in collaboration with the Short Film Corner and YouTube.

Barreda's prize is a professional HD mini-digital video camera and a laptop computer with post-production software, courtesy of the NFB.

His winning film can be seen until June 20 in French at www.onf.ca/cannes or www.youtube.com/onf and in English at www.nfb.ca/cannes or www.youtube.com/nfb.

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