14 films representing in total over €900,000 of co-funding from the European Union's MEDIA programme have been selected for screening at the 61st Cannes International Film Festival. This high visibility for European films will be celebrated on Europe Day at Cannes, where European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, EU Media Commissioner Viviane Reding and Festival President Gilles Jacob will invite EU ministers for Audiovisual policy to discuss international film cooperation and make a special tribute to Portuguese film maker Manoel de Oliveira. Romanian film-maker Cristian Mungiu, winner of the Palme d'Or prize in 2007, will be the patron of this year's Europe Day.
"Europe can be proud of the cultural diversity and global attractiveness of its vibrant cinema", said José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. "European productions such as 'La Môme', 'Das Leben der Anderen', 'Belle Toujours' and 'Kontroll' have been celebrated at international film festivals and watched by millions of people, projecting the message around the world that Europe is about 'Unity in Diversity'."
"European films rightly figure high on the programme of Cannes 2008," said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. "Yet European film makers are still facing important challenges in Europe and on international markets. During Europe Day at Cannes, we will therefore explore ways to forge worldwide partnerships based on cooperation and reciprocity to more actively promote co-production and distribution of films."
President Barroso will open the Ministers' meeting on 19 May under the multilingual banner "Cinema, Dianying yan, Kino, Chalchitra, Cine: Building a world of exchanges". Ministers, filmmakers and film business participants will discuss how to intensify audiovisual exchanges between EU countries and take advantage of new cooperation and trade agreements between the EU and other regions of the world. They will also explore ways to stimulate joint initiatives between film distributors , cinema operators and training centres from Europe and other countries.
12 Ministers have already confirmed their participation, notably ministers from France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Croatia, which became the first candidate country to join the MEDIA programme earlier this year (IP/08/450), will send its Minister of Culture to the meeting.
In the evening of 19 May, the film "Douro, Faina, Fluvial" (1930) will be shown at the Croisette to honour Portuguese film maker Manoel de Oliveira. "I am looking forward to this very special cultural event, as I have always admired Manoel de Oliveira's work and the film is set in the regions where I spent my childhood," said Commission President Barroso.
MEDIA-supported films have already triumphed at the Oscars this year, with The Counterfeiters (Die Fälscher/Austria-Germany) winning the best foreign language award and La Vie en Rose (La Môme/France) best actress and best make up (IP/08298). Last year's Cannes Film Festival included 11 EU-supported films (IP/07/676) in its selection.
See Annex for brief details of EU-funded films appearing at Cannes 2008.
For further information on the EU's MEDIA programme see:
On the Cannes Film Festival:
Annex: The 14 EU-Funded Films at Cannes 2008
"Gomorra" directed by Matteo Garrone (EU funding from MEDIA: €45,000) – A Neapolitan mafia drama based on a novel by Roberto Saviano.
"Delta" directed by Kornél Mundruczó (€100,000) – Mihail comes home for his father's funeral. He meets his sister for the first time and they fall in love.
"La frontière de l'Aube" directed by Philippe Garrel (€50,000) – A young photographer sees a vision of his ex-lover, an actress who committed suicide after he cut her out from his life and who has now come back to haunt him.
"Le silence de Lorna" directed by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (€202,500) – An Albanian woman marries a drug addict in order to obtain Belgian residency.
"The Palermo Shooting" directed by Wim Wenders (€50,000) – A German photographer decides to take a break in Palermo where he meets a young woman and her completely different way of life.
"Sangue pazzo" directed by Marco Tullio Giordana (€111,600) – Renowned actors of Fascist cinema, who were part of the Salò Republic, were accused of collaborating and torturing and shot by the Partisans after the country was liberated.
"Entre Les Murs" directed by Laurent Cantet (€30,000) – The story of a French teacher at a secondary school in a difficult area.
Un Certain Regard:
"Tulpan" directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy (€40,000) – Bulat has done military service in the Russian Navy and returns to the Kazakh step to become a shepherd. For that, he has to learn the shepherding trade and get married.
"Eldorado" (aka Léa) directed by Bouli Lanners (€51,500) – Yvan grows a strange affection for Elie, an adolescent who breaks into his house, and decides to drive the teenager back to his parents.
"Elève libre" directed by Joachim Lafosse (€82,500) – Jonas' dreams of becoming a professional tennis player are dashed when he fails his exams. He turns to Pierre for support. Their paternal, master-student relationship gradually becomes a complex and ambiguous one of dependence and manipulation.
"Salamandra" directed by Pablo Aguero (€26,000) – Six-year-old Inti has been living with his grandmother when Alba returns to drag him away on a crazy trip to a legendary valley in Patagonia.
"Les Bureaux de Dieu" directed by Claire Simon (€16,000) – Day-to-day functioning of the family planning centre where women come to inform themselves about a choice they have or want to make.
International Critics' Week:
"Better Things" directed by Duane Hopkins (€90,500) – A group of young people grow up together in a rural community in the Cotswolds, experiencing sexual awakening, boredom, and drug use.
"Home" directed by Ursula Meïer (€50,000) – The story of a handful of people gradually cut off and disconnected from the world, who end up shutting themselves in.