Brussels, 19 February 2009
Seven films funded by the EU's MEDIA film support programme will compete in thirteen categories at this year's Academy Award ceremonies, to be held on Sunday 22 February. One of these MEDIA funded nominees, Slumdog Millionaire, will compete in the prestigious Best Film and Best Director categories. The MEDIA programme will also be represented by three of the nominees for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, including Entre les Murs ("The Class", France), winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2008 Cannes film festival (IP/08/800). Last year, two films funded by MEDIA, the EU film support programme, brought home Oscars. In the last three years, MEDIA funded films have won a total of eight Oscar awards (see annex).
"The diversity and riches of European film is well reflected in this year's Oscar nominations," said Viviane Reding, EU Media Commissioner. "I see this as a great pay off for the European Union's efforts to make European cinema more competitive by supporting the development of films made or co-produced in Europe, their distribution across borders, as well as the use of digital new technologies."
Seven films funded by the EU's MEDIA film support programme have been nominated for Oscars at this year's Academy Awards: Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (Germany, Uli Edel), Entre les murs (France, Laurent Cantet), Waltz with Bashir (Israel/France/Germany, Ari Folman), Happy Go Lucky (UK/Mike Leigh), The Duchess (UK/France/Italy, Saul Dibb), Slumdog Millionaire (UK/US, Danny Boyle) and the award-winning documentary, Man on Wire (UK/US, James Marsh) (for synopses, see annex).
The EU's MEDIA programme provided significant financial support to these films figuring high on the nominations list of the Oscars Ceremony. The total contribution from the EU's MEDIA programme for these films alone amounted to € 3,028,000, with even more support likely to follow for distributing the film to cinemas.
Last year, the Oscar winner for best foreign language film was the MEDIA-funded Austrian-German co-production "The Counterfeiters" (Die Fälscher) (IP/08/298). In 2007, the German MEDIA-funded "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen), won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language film. In 2006 the French MEDIA-funded "The March of the Penguins" (La Marche de l'empereur) was awarded 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 every year.
The MEDIA 2007 programme will provide €755 million to Europe's film industry from 2007-2013 (IP/07/169). This January the Commission also proposed a MEDIA MUNDUS programme (IP/09/26) that will provide another €15 million of funding from 2011-2013 for projects submitted by audiovisual professionals from the EU and third countries. A clear priority of both the MEDIA and the MEDIA MUNDUS programme is the distribution and promotion of European films outside their original country, across Europe (almost 65% of the total MEDIA budget) and the globe.
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. In 2008 the MEDIA programme supported over 1,800 projects with a total €107 million.
MEDIA-funded Oscar winners 2006-2008
MEDIA-funded Oscar nominations 2009
Best foreign language film:
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (Germany)
MEDIA support € 342,745
Based on the 1997 non-fiction bestseller by Stefan Aust, former editor of the German news magazine Der Spiegel, set in Germany, 1970. Bombings, terrorism and fears threatened the foundations of Germany's young democracy. Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslini who formed the Red Army Faction and used inhuman means to spread terror. Horst Herold, the chief of the German police, entered into a merciless pursuit against these young terrorists but realised that they were only the tip of the iceberg.
The Class/ Entre les murs (France)
MEDIA support € 735,400
François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighbourhood. Neither stuffy nor severe, his extravagant frankness often takes the students by surprise. But his classroom ethics is put to the test when his students begin to challenge his teaching methods
Waltz with Bashir (Israel/DE/FR)
MEDIA support € 635,960
One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can’t remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images...
Best picture / Best director / Best adapted screenplay/Best original score/Best original song/Cinematography/Film editing/Sound editing/Sound mixing:
Slumdog Millionaire (UK/US)
MEDIA support € 200,000 but likely to receive more in 2009.
In a picaresque tale worthy of a Henry Fielding novel, this Tom Jones is Jamal, a poor, bright-eyed youth mischievously getting in and out of scrapes with his even more rambunctious older brother, Salim. In a horrifying turn of events, the two youngsters' lives change in front of their eyes when their mother is viciously killed during a riot. Alone, they turn to the streets, becoming “slumdogs.” A ray of sunshine comes into their lives when they befriend another orphan, the feisty young girl Latika, and soon the three are inseparable. Adventure follows as the trio learns to survive the cutthroat life of contemporary India – but at least they have each other. Or do they?
Best original screenplay:
Happy Go Lucky (UK)
MEDIA support € 726,500
[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ][Image]
The adventures of Poppy. Is she perhaps a little crazy and irresponsible? Or is she in fact deeply sane and sensible? Either way, everybody falls in love with her, for better or for worse...
Art direction/ Costume design
The Duchess (UK – FR – IT)
MEDIA support € 387,291
Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, married at a young age in 1774 to the powerful Duke of Devonshire. She used her wit, feminine wiles and innate flair for fashion to become one of the most beloved and influential figures in British society and politics.
Best documentary feature
Man on Wire (UK/US - James Marsh)
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century"