Brussels, 26 February 2007
Yet another success for the EU's MEDIA programme: the winner of last night's Oscar for best foreign language film went to the German film "The Lives of the Others" (Das Leben der Anderen) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, which received over €0.5 million in funding from the EU's MEDIA programme for distribution to cinemas and DVD outside Germany.
"Once again, an Oscar flies the flag for European cinema," welcomed Viviane Reding, EU Media Commissioner, this success of German film. "The film 'The Lives of the Others', the plot of which takes place shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall in the then GDR, shows intensely what kind of human drama European cinema is able to show against the background of European history. The support provided by the EU's MEDIA programme has helped to ensure that this story could be told beyond Germany and is now also successful in Hollywood. I hope that this will encourage Europe's film makers to continue to fight hard and with confidence for market success also outside Europe."
The EU's MEDIA programme plays a pivotal role in supporting Europe's audiovisual sector. Nine out of every 10 feature films in Europe distributed outside their home country received MEDIA support. Even though its overall budget is not bigger than that of an average "Hollywood blockbuster", MEDIA promotion has important knock-on effects as each €1 of Community funding generates about €6 in private investment from industry.
At this year's Berlin Film Festival, the EU's launched its new MEDIA 2007 programme, which will provide €755 million for Europe's film industry over the next seven years (see IP/07/169). Almost 65% of the total budget will help broader circulation of European works to other countries in Europe and worldwide. It will provide easier access to finance – in particular for SMEs – and increases the use of digital technologies, making Europe's audiovisual sector more competitive.
At this year’s 79th Academy Awards, besides The Lives of the Others, two other MEDIA-supported films were nominated for Oscars: After The Wedding (Efter Bryllupet-Denmark), and Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno, a hispano-American co-production). Together they received almost another €750,000 in MEDIA funding.
Last year another MEDIA-supported film, March of the Penguins (La marche de l’Empereur) won the Oscar for Best Documentary Film 2006.
MEDIA, the European Union's audiovisual support programme, has been developing and strengthening Europe's film industry for 16 years. Through MEDIA I, II, Plus and Training the previous programmes have supported the development and distribution of thousands of films; as well as training activities, festivals and promotion projects throughout the continent. Under MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training (2001-2006) alone, more than half a billion euros were injected into 8000 projects. Every year 300 new European film projects are funded by the European Commission
See also IP/07/239