Brussels, 10 May 2011
Female scriptwriters share 2011 MEDIA European Talent Prize
Brussels, 10 May 2011 - Scriptwriters Virág Zomborácz (Hungary) and Hanna Sköld (Sweden) will share this year's MEDIA European Talent Prize for their film scripts for Afterlife and Granny's Dancing on the Table. The annual prize is awarded to the best film project supported by the European Union's MEDIA fund for cinema; experts rate the scripts on their potential to reach a pan-European audience. This year two projects received the same number of points so the prize is shared. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will present the awards at the Cannes Film Festival on 15 May.
"I am delighted this year's MEDIA European Talent Prize goes to two exceptional female scriptwriters," said Commissioner Vassiliou. "Virág Zomborácz and Hanna Sköld write the kind of film audiences all over Europe will adore: unique, funny, sad and comic at the same time. The stories are local, but their themes are universal."
Virág Zomborácz, who will receive her award with Ferenc Pusztai, representing production company KMH Film, said: "The MEDIA European Talent Prize is an honour and inspiration. It will also take us much closer to the realisation of 'Afterlife'."
Hanna Sköld, who will collect her prize with Helene Granqvist from production company Good World, commented: "We are making a new kind of film, based on participatory story-telling. I thank the many people around the globe who, through social media, supported the scriptwriting process with their personal stories, thoughts and ideas. The MEDIA programme's support was invaluable," she added.
The EU's MEDIA programme includes a development scheme that helps independent production companies to develop new dramas, animation films or creative documentaries. The European Talent Prize is awarded to the screenwriter and production company behind the best project with pan-European appeal.
The scripts are rated by experts from the 32 countries involved in the MEDIA programme (27 Member States plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Each script is assessed by at least two "readers" (one from the country of the script-writer, one another country) and given points. This year, they evaluated 93 film projects (see annex II) which have been selected to receive more than €3.5 million in total from the MEDIA programme. (Individual projects receive from €10 000 to €80 000).
As part of their award, the Commission is inviting the winning scriptwriters and their producers to the Cannes Film Festival, where they will receive specialist coaching and have the chance to network with fellow film-makers.
Film development support, which in many European countries is hard to come by or does not exist, can be decisive for a project in the early stages. It enables production companies to develop scripts, research story lines, arrange financing plans and secure intellectual property rights. The outcome is a better developed film project, supported by solid financial partnerships and with stronger market potential.
A lot of European films might never have made it to the screen without financial support from the MEDIA programme at this crucial development stage. Films like the 2008 Palme d'Or winner Entre Les Murs, or Italy's Gomorrah, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in the same year, or last year's children's animated film Niko.
Overall, the EU is investing €755 million in Europe's film industry through the MEDIA programme from 2007-2013. The programme's objective is to improve the distribution and promotion of European films and to strengthen the competitiveness of the film sector. Since its launch 20 years ago, the EU has invested more than €1.5 billion in the film industry.
For more information:
The MEDIA programme: http://ec.europa.eu/media
The Cannes International Film Festival: http://www.festival-cannes.fr
Annex I: Biographies of the winning scriptwriters and film synopses
Virág Zomborácz was born on 11 January 1985, in Budapest, Hungary. In 2009 she received her MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree from the University of Drama, Film and Television in Budapest. Since 2010 she has been studying multimedia at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in the Hungarian capital. She has written and directed short fiction films, experimental documentaries and video art pieces.
Afterlife tells the story of the dysfunctional Tulipan family. The father is a pastor who rules the life of his family with an iron fist. But when he meets his untimely demise, the family breaks down, collapsing like a group of puppets with no one to hold their string. Slowly, however, they need to settle into a new life… a new life where the presence of a ghost can help them. Is it a ghost story? Yes, but also a unique, black comedy set in a small village, just after the collapse of communism.
Hanna Sköld started her career at Rosengårds TV station 10 years ago, and through Skurup’s film school, the scriptwriting school at Broby Grafiska and at the scriptwriting training workshops Katapult and Sources 2 she has become a symbol for making film in an unconventional way. Her first feature, Nasty Old People, had its premiere in 2009 on Swedish torrent file website The Pirate Bay. The film was distributed online in 113 countries and has been translated into 17 different languages by the audience.
Sköld founded Tangram Film in 2007 together with three female directors. Her latest project, Granny’s Dancing on the Table, has already won the "Power to the Pixels pitch award" in London and the Swedish "Doris" award.
Granny's Dancing on the Table is the tale of Eini, a girl who grows up in the deep Swedish forests, isolated by her abusive father and afraid of the surrounding world. At 17 she breaks free to explore the world. She has a sixth sense, like being able to predict earthquakes… but is this enough to get her by in an unknown world, especially when she's totally unaware of her own feelings?
Annex II: New projects funded under the MEDIA programme's development scheme