Brussels, 14 May 2014
Bosnian film director Tanović to receive EU 'Prix MEDIA' at Cannes
The Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanović is the winner of the 2014 European Union 'Prix MEDIA', awarded to the best new film project eligible for support from the Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Tanović will receive the award from Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for culture, during a ceremony at the Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday 17 May (10:30 am, Café des Palmes, Palais des Festivals). The director shares the award with co-scriptwriter Predrag Kojovic and producer Amra Baksic Camo for What Are You Looking At?, a story he describes as being "about a city in an indefinitely prolonged post-war period, without heroes and with its values hijacked by corruption and crime". Tanović won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001 with No Man's Land. His 2013 film, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, won the Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin Film Festival and the Silver Bear for Best Actor (Nazif Mujić).
Commissioner Vassiliou said: "Danis Tanović is one of the finest film-makers of his generation. His latest film project is exceptional, with a compelling script that exudes a powerful sense of cultural identity and dynamism. After the worldwide success of his masterpiece 'No Man's Land' and other acclaimed movies, it is clear that he has created the basis for another wonderful film which I'm sure will move hearts and minds in equal measure. We wish him and his team every success."
What Are You Looking At? is still in the early development phase. The central character is Jasmin, living in Sarajevo alongside his friends and enemies, in a period of transition that has gone on for almost 20 years. "For the first time in my life I have felt a need to do a story about the city I live in. Everything I love about it, everything I believe in is gradually falling apart before my very eyes. I do not believe that a revolution in the minds of my fellow citizens is possible, but I hope that this story will get them to start thinking," said writer-director Tanović.
The winning project, submitted by the Sarajevo-based production company SCCA/pro.ba, scored the highest points out of all the applications submitted in the latest selection round for film development funding from MEDIA. What Are You Looking At? was selected as the best new film project by European experts for its outstanding artistic content in combination with promising strategies for development, production and distribution, including strong European box-office potential.
Bosnian director Danis Tanović achieved worldwide success in 2001 with his first film No Man's Land, which claimed more than 40 international awards including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Set in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993, during the heaviest period of fighting, the bittersweet anti-war movie marked a complete renewal of the war satire genre.
Other notable films written and directed by Tanović include Triage (2009) and Cirkus Columbia (2010). The director, who studied in Sarajevo and Brussels, is also a professor in film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts (Akademija Scenskih Umjetnosti) in Sarajevo. In 2003 Tanović was a member of the jury at Cannes Film Festival.
Amra Baksic Camo, who also produced An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, is the long-time head of CineLink, the Sarajevo Film Festival's co-production market. She is one of the founders of SCCA/pro.ba, an independent film, video and TV production company based in the city. Amra has also benefitted from the EU supported funding schemes ACE (Atelier du Cinéma Européen) and EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs) for the training of producers.
Previous winners of the Prix MEDIA
The first winners of the Prix MEDIA, in 2012, were the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy for a film project which became Le Passé, starring Tahar Rahim and Bérénice Béjo. The film went on to win the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes last year. Béjo also won the Best Actress Award.
Last year the Danish writer-director Thomas Vinterberg, best-known for Jagten, nominated for an Oscar 2014, received the Prix MEDIA with co-writer Tobias Lindblom and producer Sisse Graum (Zentropa) for the film project Kollektivet (The Commune). Kollektivet is expected to have its premiere in autumn 2015 or spring 2016.
EU Prix MEDIA
The European Union's Prix MEDIA is awarded to the project with the best box-office potential submitted for development funding from Creative Europe's MEDIA programme. The work may be fictional, animated or a documentary but must be for cinema release. Development costs which are eligible for support under MEDIA include preparing the script, seeking and identifying the main actors and crew, preparing the financing plan, initial marketing and a pilot production. The winner is selected by a panel of independent experts and representatives of the European Commission and Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, which manages the MEDIA sub-programme.
Since 1991, MEDIA (acronym for 'Mesures pour encourager le développement de l'industrie audiovisuelle' – Measures to encourage the development of the audiovisual industry) has invested €1.7 billion in film development, distribution, training and innovation with the aim of enhancing the diversity and international competitiveness of the European film and audiovisual industry.
Creative Europe, which combines the EU's MEDIA and Culture programmes, has a budget of budget of nearly €1.5 billion over the next seven years – 9% more than previous levels. Creative Europe will provide funding for at least 250 000 artists and cultural professionals, 2 000 cinemas, 800 films and 4 500 book translations. It will also launch a new financial guarantee facility enabling small cultural and creative businesses to access up to €750 million in bank loans.
For more information
European Commission MEDIA programme
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU
Translation into Bosnian language of the press release
Annex: Previous winners of the EU Prix MEDIA and MEDIA European Talent Prize
EU Prix MEDIA
Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark) for Kollektivet (The Commune)
Vinterberg shared the award with co-writer Tobias Lindholm and producer Sisse Graum (Zentropa)
Asghar Farhadi (Iran) – first winner of the EU Prix MEDIA, with producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy
MEDIA European Talent Prize (2009-2011)
Two scriptwriters shared the prize
Virág Zomborácz (Hungary) for her film script Afterlife
Hanna Sköld (Sweden) for her film script Granny's Dancing on the Table
Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland) for the drama project Sister of Mercy (Siostra miłosierdzia)
Helena Trestikova (Czech Republic) for the documentary project Miracle After 35 Years