Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, About Elly) will be presented with the first EU MEDIA Prize.

EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou will present the award on May 20 during Cannes.

He gets the new award alongside Memento Films producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, for their new film to be shot in France next autumn.

“I am proud to give this award to Mr Farhadi today forthis 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.

Farhadi added: “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 new award will recognise a best project with box-office potential submitted (for development support consideration) by a screenwriter and a production company. The winner is chosen by independent experts, the European Commission, and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).