Crossing Europe Award for Best European Documentary goes to Erik Gandini’s Videocracy.

Zvonimir Juric & Goran Devic’s war drama The Blacks (Crnci) won the Crossing Europe Award in the European competition at this year’s edition of the festival which came to a close in the Austrian city of Linz at the weekend.

The International Jury of France’s Matthieu Darras, artistic director of the Film Festival Bratislava, the Slovenian Film Fund’s Nerina T. Kocjanćić, and actress-producer Labina Mitevska, unanimously chose The Blacks “for the powerful visualisation of an extreme situation, for the original and disturbing narration, for the outstanding performance of the actors as well as for the directors’ brave approach to a controversial topic.”

Festival director Christina Dollhofer had also shown three documentaries in the European Panorama section by Devic, which deal with the awareness of history and (not) coming to terms with it in his home country of Croatia.

Meanwhile, the Crossing Europe Award for Best European Documentary – which includes the acquisition of Austrian TV rights by public broadcaster ORF - was presented for the first time this year, fittingly, to Erik Gandini’s Videocracy about Silvio Berlusconi’s TV business.

And the audience award went to Swiss filmmaker Severine Cornamusaz for her film Animal Heart (Coeur Animal), a drama about a dysfunctional farming family, which had won the Swiss Quartz Film Award for Best Fetaure Film last month.

Now in its seventh edition, Crossing Europe had to stage the six-day event with a dramatically reduced budget (€ 440,000) than in previous years. This year had seen the city of Linz cut its subsidy to the festival, while MEDIA Programme from Brussels had doubled its support this year and made a financial commitment until 2013. Dollhofer is looking to have a budget of at least € 500,000 in future and will be courting potential new sponsors as well as the public purse to back the festival.

At the same time,  the attendance of 17,000 was on par with 2009 when the festival had lasted one day longer and attracted 18,000 spectators.

Attendance by some festival guests was affected by the volcanic ash cloud — US singer Lydia Lunch and Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic both had to cancel their visits to the city on the Danube — while other guests switched to train, bus or private car to reach the festival.