65th Cannes Film Festival EU MEDIA Prize

Asghar Farhadi to be first winner

Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou will award the first EU MEDIA prize to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi on 20 May 2012 at the Cannes Film Festival.

Asghar Farhadi, known in Europe and throughout the world for his films About Elly (2009) (which won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009) and A Separation (2011) (which won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012) and producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy (Memento Films Production) will be awarded the EU MEDIA prize for their new project, which will be filmed in France, and in French, next autumn.

“I am proud to give this award to Mr Farhadi today for this film project which has a strong cultural identity and illustrates the openness of European culture, which I defend daily. After the worldwide success of his masterpiece A Separation, he gives us a project which is committed and moving in equal measure and above all draws on universality,” said Vassiliou.

Asghar Farhadi said: “In these times when certain politicians are trying to turn the beautiful rainbow of cultural diversity in the world into differences and confrontations, I believe that this MEDIA award for my next film project is a very encouraging sign. I would therefore like to warmly thank the MEDIA programme, and commend it for its lucid and open vision of mutual and respectful exchanges between cultures.”

The MEDIA prize is awarded for the best project with box-office potential submitted by a screenwriter and a production company. The project is selected from the applications submitted for development support for 2012.

The work may be fictional, an animated film or a documentary but must be for cinema release. The development costs which are eligible for support under MEDIA include preparing the scenario, seeking and identifying the main actors and staff and preparing the financing plan, initial marketing plans and a pilot production.

The winner is chosen by independent experts, the European Commission and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Creative Europe – the future of the MEDIA programme

This first EU MEDIA prize also marks the start of a new phase for the MEDIA programme for the period 2014-2020 entitled Creative Europe.

Through Creative Europe, the European Commission will offer a unique programme covering all cultural and creative sectors and providing different financing options for professionals in the world of cinema in a specific MEDIA section.

The programme is especially intended to help professionals work transnationally and use digital technologies in order to improve the circulation of films and other cultural works.

With Asghar Farhadi paving the way, Vassiliou would like provide more support for artists who do not work in their home countries and promises to facilitate transnational cultural activities organised between member states and third countries.

With a budget of €1.8 billion for the period 2014-2020, Creative Europe intends to allocate more than €900 million in support of the film and audiovisual industry (currently covered by the MEDIA programme and MEDIA Mundus) and close to €500m to culture. The European Commission is also proposing to allocate more than €210m to new guarantee funds intended to cover bank loans up to €1bn granted to small operators.

(European Commission press release)

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