Brussels, 25 February 2013
Oscar triumph for MEDIA-backed films Amour and Searching for Sugar Man
European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has paid tribute to the makers of EU-backed films Amour and Searching for Sugar Man after their success at last night's 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood. Austrian director Michael Haneke scooped the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Amour, a moving portrayal of an elderly couple as they approach the end of their lives. Searching for Sugar Man, the true story of rock guitarist Sixto Rodríguez, who vanished into obscurity in the mid-70s only to be re-rediscovered working as a labourer, won Best Documentary Feature. The two winners were among six nominated films supported by the MEDIA programme for cinema, which have received
Commissioner Vassiliou, who attended the premiere of Amour at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or, said: "What a great night for the European film industry and the MEDIA programme. Amour is a masterpiece of European cinema, beautifully written and beautifully acted. My warmest congratulations go to Micheal Haneke." The Commissioner also paid tribute to director-producer team Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn for their success: "Searching for Sugar Man is an incredible story and I'm sure it will now be an even bigger hit," she commented.
The MEDIA programme aims to boost diversity and competitiveness in the European audiovisual sector through funding for film development, promotion and the distribution of European films outside their country of origin. MEDIA will form part of the new Creative Europe programme from 2014.
The six MEDIA-backed films in contention for the Oscars were (with funding received to date):
Amour by Michael Haneke (France, Austria, Germany) nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress, Directing, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay - awarded
A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affaere) by Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark) nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (€ 850 000).
Kon-Tiki by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Norway/Sweden/Denmark/UK) nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (€ 150 000).
The Impossible by Juan Antonio Bayona (Spain) nominated for Best Actress (Naomi Watts) (€ 65 000).
Searching for Sugar Man by Malik Bendjelloul (Sweden/UK) nominated for Best Documentary Feature (€ 20 000).
The Gatekeepers by Dror Moreh (France/Israel) nominated for Best Documentary Feature (€ 110 000).
The funding which distributors receive from MEDIA is based on various criteria including previous ticket sales for non-national films. The funding is re-invested in future distribution costs and in helping to off-set risks. Films can also receive pre-production development funding.
MEDIA (a French acronym for "Mesure pour le Développement de l’Industrie Audiovisuelle") is the 2007-2013 EU Programme which supports the European film industry and the audiovisual sector. Over the 2014-2020 period, the Commission has proposed a budget of €1.8 billion for Creative Europe; of this, more than €900 million would be allocated to MEDIA.
For more information
European Commission: MEDIA programme
Follow Androulla Vassiliou onTwitter @VassiliouEU