Brussels, 25 February 2008
Yet another triumph for European Cinema: At last night's Oscars, the Oscar for the best foreign language film went to the Austrian-German co-production "The Counterfeiters" (Die Fälscher), a film co-funded by the EU's MEDIA programme and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky from Austria. This is the third time in a row that European cinema is successful in Hollywood.
"For the third year running, European cinema is a synonym for success," said Viviane Reding, EU's Media Commissioner, following last night's announcement of the results of the Oscars Ceremony. She had seen the film "The Counterfeiters" herself at the Berlin Film Festival 2007 at an event organised by the then German Council Presidency. "The European Commission is very proud that Europe has supported the impressive film "The Counterfeiters" which tells us a story about our common past, with a lot of thoughtfulness and also with a sense of humour. I congratulate Stefan Ruzowitzky and his Austrian-German team and encourage other talented European film makers to follow this example and excel in the international film industry. I would like to thank today especially the European Parliament that for years has supported the efforts of the European Commission to make European cinema more competitive by promoting the development of films made in Europe, their distribution across borders, as well as the use of digital new technologies."
The EU's MEDIA programme provided significant financial support to 4 films figuring high on the nominations list of the Oscars Ceremony this year: Next to the Austrian-German co-production "The Counterfeiters" (Die Fälscher), there were three French productions "La Vie en Rose" (La Môme), "Persepolis", and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon). The total contribution from the EU's MEDIA programme for these 4 films alone amounted to €2.629.331. The award-winning film "The Counterfeiters" had been supported by MEDIA with €654.980.
Also "La Vie en Rose" (La Môme) from France was successful last night, with an Oscar for the best actress in a leading role – Marion Cotillard as legendary French singer Edith Piaf – and one for the best Make-up. "La Vie en Rose" had received €1.177.584 of MEDIA funding.
Last year, the Oscar winner for the best foreign language film came from Germany, with "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and supported with over €0.5 million from MEDIA (see IP/07/238). In 2006, the French film "March of the Penguins" (La marche de l’Empereur), supported by MEDIA with € 1.13 million, won the Oscar for the Best Documentary Film.
The EU's MEDIA programme plays a crucial role in supporting Europe's audiovisual sector through the development and distribution of thousands of films as well as training activities, festivals and promotion projects throughout Europe. Nine out of every ten feature films in Europe distributed outside their home country received MEDIA support. Even though its overall budget is no bigger than that of an average "Hollywood blockbuster", MEDIA support has important knock-on effects as each €1 of Community funding generates about €6 in private investment from industry.
The MEDIA 2007 programme is providing €755 million to Europe's film industry from 2007-2013 (see IP/07/169). A clear priority is the distribution and promotion of European films outside their originating country, across Europe (almost 65% of the total budget). Under MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training (2001-2006), more than half a billion euros were injected into 8000 projects from over 30 countries.
The MEDIA programme's overall objectives are to strengthen the
competitiveness of the European audiovisual sector by facilitating access to
financing and promoting use of digital technologies, to reflect and respect
Europe’s cultural identity and heritage, and to increase the circulation
of European audiovisual works inside and outside the European.