Thomas Vinterberg to receive EU Prix MEDIA in Cannes at beginning of this year’s two-day European Rendezvous

Danish film director Thomas Vinterberg has been selected as the winner of the second European Union Prix MEDIA to be presented during Cannes’ first weekend by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The prize is awarded to the best new film project with box-office potential which was submitted for development funding from the EU’s MEDIA Programme this year.

Vinterberg, who is the president of this year’s jury for Un Certain Regard, will accept the award from the Commissioner on May 19, the director’s 44th  birthday.

He will share the award with his regular co-screenwriter Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt) and producer Sisse Graum of Zentropa for his next project The Commune which is set to go into production next year.

The Commune is based on the film-maker’s play of the same name which he staged successfully in Vienna’s Burgtheater and draws on  his experience of life in a commune in the 1970s and 1980s.

The first EU Prix MEDIA was awarded last year to Iranian Asghar Farhadi’s project Le Passé which was selected to screen in this year’s Official Competition in Cannes.

The award ceremony kicks off this year’s European Rendezvous two-day programme of high-level roundtables.

Cultural exception on the agenda

On Monday, Vassiliou will address a seminar hosted by France’s CNC about strengthening the cultural exception which has come back on to the agenda after the Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht insisted on including audiovisual services in the EU’s draft negotiation mandate for free trade negotiations with the US from this summer (Vassiliou was one of three Commissioners who had voted against this proposal in March)

Although de Gucht had claimed that the cultural exception „is not up for negotiation“, he did little to allay the concerns of a delegation of Belgian film-makers – including the Dardennes brothers, Jos Stelling and Jaco van Dormael – who met him in Brussels last week.

After the meeting, they called on the EU Member States to reject the draft negotiation mandate and also invited de Gucht to join them at the CNC seminar on May 20.

However, the Trade Commissioner is due to be in New York from May 17-20, so it is unlikely that he will find time to drop by to the Cote d’Azur for another grilling from the European film family.

In the meantime, the petition launched by leading European film-makers declaring that the cultural exception is non-negotiable has attracted almost 5,000 signatures.

Vassiliou will spend the rest of the Monday morning with her now traditional meeting with festival president Gilles Jacob and a select group of European film-makers to discuss such issues as strategies  to reach the audience and promoting film literacy.

Creative Europe, Cinema Communication

The European Rendezvous in Cannes will doubtless also serve as a platform for yet further discussion on the European Commission’s (EC) planned Creative Europe framework programme and the latest draft on the Cinema Communication about state aid for film and audiovisual works.

While the EC had initially trumpeted a 37% increase of funding for 2014-2020 compared to the budget for the existing MEDIA and Culture programmes, Creative Europe is now expected to have an overall budget of around €1.3bn, which translates into an increase of “nearly 9%“, according to the Commission.

Meanwhile, film functioniaries and producers from across Europe will be using their free time between screenings and cocktail receptions to put pen to paper to give their comments on the EC’s third and final public consultation about its review of the state aid criteria used to assess EU Member States’ support measures for films and other audiovisual works.

Comments on the revised draft Communication will be accepted until May 28, 2013 at

Vassiliou and Filippetti to attend Europa Cinemas meeting

At the same time, policy statements can be expected from Commissioner Vassiliou and France’s Minister for Culture and Communication Aurélie Filippetti when they attend Europa Cinemas Network meeting on May 19 along with MEPs Doris Pack and Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, MEDIA unit chief Aviva Silver (at her last Cannes Film Festival before moving on to DG COMM on June 1), Sari Vartiainen, head of MEDIA at the EACEA agency, and CNC president Eric Garandeau.

Items on the meeting’s agenda will include an overview of distribution and digital screening in the Europa Cinemas network, the political timetable for Creative Europe, and results of Europa Cinemas Mundus in 2012.

The Network Meeting will be held only a couple of weeks after 100 Europa Cinemas members learnt that they are among 130 cinemas (with a total 200 screens) receiving €4m – double the originally planned €2m – towards the costs of digitisation of screens showing a significant proportion of European and non-national European films.

Cinema operators supported in this final round included Munich’s Theatiner Film, Tallinn’s Artis, Berlin’s Yorck-Kino cinemas, Venice’s Giorgione d’Essai, and Kino Charlie in Poland. (ends)