European & International News

Female scriptwriters share 2011 MEDIA European Talent Prize

[European Commission, 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.

Background

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

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