European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou welcomed the major success of EU-backed film ‘The King’s Speech’, which was crowned with four Oscars at last night’s 83rd Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.
The film, which received €562 000 in distribution support from the EU Media fund for cinema, scooped the big prizes for Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor (Colin Firth) and best original screenplay (David Seidler). Another EU Media-backed film, ‘In a Better World’, directed by Denmark’s Susanne Bier, collected the statuette for best foreign language film.
Commissioner Vassiliou, who is responsible for education and culture, said, “What a great night for the European film industry and the MEDIA programme. Europe loves cinema and the world loves our films! My congratulations to Tom Hooper and Susanne Bier, who showed that you don’t need a massive budget to make world-beating films. This shows that the European film industry can compete with the best.”
Tom Hooper made ‘The King’s Speech’ on a shoe-string budget by Hollywood standards, for less than €11 million. The funding the film received from MEDIA aims to encourage distribution outside the country where it was made – in this case, outside the UK.
‘In a Better World’, the third Danish film to win the best foreign language category after ‘Babette’s Feast’ (1987) and ‘Pelle the Conqueror’ (1988), received €540 000 from MEDIA for distribution support. Two other EU-backed films were also nominated for Oscars – ‘Dogtooth’ (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece, best foreign film category) was awarded €21 000, and ‘The Illusionist’ (director: Sylvain Chomet, UK/France, best animation category) received €126,000.
The amount of funding distributors receive from MEDIA is based on various criteria including previous ticket sales of non-national films. The funding is re-invested in future distribution costs and in helping to off-set risks. Films can also receive pre-production development funding from MEDIA.