German drama Zappelphillip (The Fidgeter) has won the Golden FIPA Grand Prize at the 26th Festival  International des Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA) in Biarritz.

Connie Walther also received the best direction nod for the film, produced by Neue Schonhauser Filmproduction-Bayerischer Rundfunk, in which a mother and teacher attempt to deal with a temperamental child.

The drama also saw Alex Komlew win the best original score award.

The three members fiction jury, headed by French/Tunisian film-maker Karim Dridi (Bye Bye, Foul Play), also named Bernard le Coq best actor in the French fiction La Derniete Campagne (The Last Campaign) by Bernard Stora.

Julietta Cardinal received the best actress nod for her part in the Spanish production Carta a Eva (Letter to Eva), directed by Agusti Villaronga.

The biopic received the best screenplay award for Villaronga, Alfed Perez and Roger Danes.

Anonymous premiere

Standing out among the 13 feature films forming this section was the world premiere of Les anonymes (The Anonymous), a real life controversial drama produced by Canal Plus on the assassination of the French prefect in Corsega  by the island separatists in 1998. It is the new film by French film-maker Pierre Schoeller, whose previous outing The Minister was widely acclaimed two years ago, garnering three Cesars.

Three UK productions were among those awarded in the TV series section. The Kudos Film and TV production Utopia directed by Marc Munden, a gripping series exploring the reality of conspiracy theories, received the Golden FIPA. 

Tom Stoppard was awarded  the best screenplay trophy for Parade’s End directed by Susanna White while Errolyn Wallen received the  best original score award for One Night directed by  David Evans.

Creative docs

The jury of the Creative Documentaries section, headed by the celebrated Belgian film-maker Chantal Ackerman acompanied among others by the outstanding DOP and film director of Israeli origin Nurith Aviv, gave the Golden FIPA to the French doc Silence Radio produced by Perspective Films and directed by Valery Rosier.

The film also received the Mitrani Prize founded in memory of the French film-maker, creator of the FIPA, as well as the prize of the prestigious French weekly Telerama.

The Argentinian-French co-production (Bo Travail/Intuition Films) Argentina, the 500 Stolen Babies of the Dictatorship directed by Alexander Valenti received the Golden FIPA in the Reportage section while the French-Swiss co-production (Ideale Audience, Arte France, Radio-Television Suisse) Bloody Daughter focusing on the family relations of the famous piano player Martha Argerich, directed by her daughter Stephanie Argerich, received the Golden FIPA in the Performing Arts section.

Sweeping changes

More than 120 films formed the FIPA selection in a year marked by sweeping changes at the top.

New artistic director Francois Sauvagnargues, a former Canal Plus fiction department executive, accompanied by new president and veteran film-maker Didier Decoin and secretary general Philippe Reilhac, are being called on to restructure and revitalise the festival.

The event was created 25 years ago by Mitrani and artistic director Pierre Henri Delleau, previous head of the Cannes prestigious Quinzaine de Realisateurs section.

Some visible signs are already notable such as the introduction of a new section, titled SmartFip@. Set over two days and curated by Florence Girot and Christopher Canalis, it is dedicated to interactive TV with the participation of  industry players and the audience with the aim of developing an original and complementary narrative world across a variety of platforms.

The website has also been restructed and Fipatel, the market side of the event reserved for international buyers and TV commissioners, is also being revamped.

Also on the industry side the FIPA took care to situate itself in the consultations concerning  French production and coproduction with other European countries.

Standing out was the ongoing debate on a national level concerning the introduction of  a levy on internet operations,  which could come to further back the already booming  French film production and distribution of local fare (commanding last year 40% of the local box office) as well as world sales (up 80% world wide in 2011 as compared to the previous year).

To that effect a number of debates and roundtables were organized at the FIPA.

Standing out was the one attended by Aurelie Fillippetti, French Minister for Culture and Communication, accompanied by Eric Garrandeau, head of the French Film Centre (CNC), topping a selected group of top executives from such institutions as Arte (Anne Durupty), Canal Plus and France Televisions (Remy Pflimlin).