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Activities - 01/12/2008


The Class awarded at the European Festival of 4 screens : an opportunity to come back to the Europa Cinemas Label improving the circulation of european cinema.


The Estonian film The Class (Europa Cinemas Label in 2007)awarded at the European Festival of 4 screens (cinema, television, internet, mobile phone) which took place in Paris from November 14th to 16th. An opportunity to come back to the Europa Cinemas Label improving the circulation of european cinema.



Launched at Directors' Fortnight in 2003, this year the Europa Cinemas Label celebrated its fifth anniversary and to date has supported 20 European films. Juries made up of member exhibitors from the Europa Cinemas network attend each of the partner festivals (the Panorama section of the Berlinale, Directors' Fortnight, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and Venice Days) to award the Label to a European film that has attracted their attention. In addition to the distinction of the award itself, the Label benefits both distributors and exhibitors. The former know that they will be able to rely on a network of 700 cinemas that will help to ensure a long run for their film, while the latter benefit from a financial bonus from the second week of exhibition and once a certain number of screenings is exceeded.

The initial results for the 4 films that received the Label in 2008 are testament to the impact that the Label has on the circulation of films in Europe, as well as to the interest of professionals in these films outside the mainstream.

At the Panorama in Berlin, the network exhibitors honoured the film by one of Austria's leading contemporary directors, Götz Spielmann, who has returned to the screens with Revanche (Austria's entry for the Oscar for best foreign language film).
Revanche recounts the efforts by a former prisoner, Alex, and his girlfriend Tamara, a young Ukrainian prostitute, to start a new life with the money acquired from a robbery. But things go wrong when a police officer arrives on the scene, leading to the young girl's death.
"Elegantly spinning primal elements of guilt, revenge, faith and redemption, helmer's gripping fifth feature is prime fest material that's likely to rate Euro arthouse exposure" (Variety). After being shown at the Panorama, where it also received the CICAE Prize, the film went on to feature at the Pusan, Toronto and Los Angeles festivals. Released in Austria in May, it attracted an audience of 18,000, a good figure according to its distributor Filmladen. It will shortly be released in Germany (Movienet Film), Greece (Artplex Attica), Switzerland (Cineworx), France (MK2), the United Kingdom (Artificial Eye), Norway (Arthaus), and Slovenia and Croatia (Art Servis).

The jury at Directors' Fortnight decided to honour a film from an entirely different genre, awarding the Label to Bouli Lanners' Belgian comedy Eldorado, which is also representing its country at the Oscars. Yvan is a dealer in old American cars. He is a single man, well into his forties and quick-tempered. Upon returning home, he finds Elie, a young burglar who is hiding under his bed. An unlikely dialogue ensues. Yvan, who feels a strange affection for Elie, agrees to take him to his parents' home, behind the wheel of his old Chevrolet. What then begins is a new kind of road movie: one that is absurd, comical, funny and magnificently filmed. We already knew Bouli Lanners to be a talented actor, but having already made an impression two years ago with his first film, Ultranova, he has now confirmed his genuine talent as a filmmaker with Eldorado, which was also honoured in Cannes with the International Critics' Prize and the "Regards jeunes" prize, given for a director's first or second feature.
The jury said: "Eldorado really has the potential to attract a wide audience across Europe, who will identify with the characters and their emotions. An absence of sentimentality, remarkable cinematography and clever use of music help drive the film". Released in Belgium on 4 June, the film proved extremely successful, prompting its distributor Benelux Film Distributor to put additional prints into circulation. Its success was confirmed in France, where an audience of more than 130,000 saw the film, distributed by Haut et Court. Eldorado was also distributed in Italy at the end of August by Archibald Film, and will be shown in the Netherlands (BFD) and Germany (Kool FilmDistribution) too.

Since 2006, a partnership has been in place with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Following on from Finnish film Frozen City by Aku Louhimies, and The Class by Estonian director Ilmar Raag (a genuine national success in 2007, with more than 30,000 admissions), this year the jury opted to award its Label to a film with a lighter feel: Bahrtalo! (Good luck!), the first feature film by Hungarian director Róbert Lakatos. This is a neorealist comedy in which the situations are thought up by the director, but the two main characters interpret their own roles. The jury wanted to reward the "open-mindedness" of the film, and emphasised its cleverly adapted form, which finds the perfect balance between fiction and reality.
The camera follows the adventures, in different countries and through different cultures, of two friends looking for ways to hit the jackpot. The acting is essentially improvised by the two comedians, whilst the camera remains unobtrusive and never knows in advance what is going to happen to the characters. According to the director, the film's strength does not lie in the main storyline but rather in the unexpected nature of the situations and the behaviour of the two characters. Bahrtalo! (Good luck!) is considered by the film's producer Andras Muhi to be a continuation of the tradition of the Budapest School, advancing a form of sociological cinema realised on the basis of a "field study" and acted by non-professionals. Distributed in Hungary on 15 May 2008 by MOKEP, it has been sold for television to Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, Yle Tv in Finland, Dr Tv in Denmark and Tv Ontario in Canada.

Finally, Machan by Uberto Pasolini, the famous producer of The Full Monty, was unanimously chosen as the winner by the Venice Days jury. This Italian/Sri-Lankan coproduction, based on a true story, presents the amazing experiences of a group of young Sri Lankans who, in order to emigrate to Europe, decide to set up a national handball team, a sport about which they know nothing - not even the most basic rules. "Immigration is a very real issue in Europe today and this is an enjoyable, well written and well directed film that makes its point with humour and without lapsing into cheap sentimentality", the Label jury declared. Machan has been distributed in Italy by Mikado since 11 September and is also expected in France (UGC), Switzerland (Rialto Film), Germany and Austria (20th Century Fox).

In conclusion, there is no denying that, in addition to their national releases, the films that have been awarded the Label have benefited from wide circulation in Europe. Control by Anton Corbijn (Label winner, Directors' Fortnight 2007), for example, has been distributed in more than 20 European countries. Tricks by Andrzej Jakimowski (Venice Days 2007), having walked off with the main prizes at 6 international festivals, has also been sold in more than 20 countries and has already been released in Poland, the Netherlands, Norway and France.


Revanche by Götz Spielmann (AT)
The Match Factory - Brigitte Suarez

Eldorado by Bouli Lanners (BE)
Films Distribution - Didar Domehri

Bahrtalo! (Good Luck!) by Róbert Lakatos (HU)
Taskovski Films - Jarmila Outratova

Machan by Uberto Pasolini (IT)
Beta cinema - Andreas Rothbauer

Finally, we would like to mention that the next Europa Cinemas Label will be awarded to a European film from the Panorama section of the Berlinale 2009.

The jury is made of four network exhibitors: Dagmar Wagenknecht (Kinoklub am Hirschlachufer, Erfurt, Germany), Robert Rider (Barbican Centre, London, UK), Christin Berg (Oslo Kino, Norway) and Krisztina Paldy (Budapest Film, Hungary).
Berlinale 2009 : from February 5th to 15th