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European Film Awards: The Year of The Romanian Film

Tuesday, December 4----------The year 2007 will be remembered for many things.....but one of the biggest surprises, at least in the worlds of film and media, has been the emergence of the former Communist state of Romania as the hottest film producing territory, not only in Europe, but also worldwide. Of course, a few international arthouse hits does not a thriving industry make, but if one wanted to get a sense of where the energy and inspiration in contemporary cinema could be coming from next, a savvy film maven could certainly face to points east, to the suddenly hot filmmaking city of Bucharest, Romania.

Romania ruled at this past weekend's European Film Awards held in Berlin. Sponsored by the European Film Academy, the Awards are the "European Oscars" and acknowledge the finest works being produced on the European continent today. Repeating its win of the prestigious Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, the Romanian abortion drama 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS won the best film prize Saturday evening. Cristian Mungiu, the film's nova hot director, won the Best Director honors as well. This double win certainly gives the film much needed momentum for the other "big stake" prizes of the Golden Globe, BAFTA and, of course, the Oscar. The film will have its theatrical release via IFC Films later this month. With abortion a hot-button issue in this year's US Presidential election, the allignment could be right for 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS to go all the way.

Other highlights of the evening included (yet another win) by British actress Helen Mirren for her transformative role as Queen Elizabeth in THE QUEEN (another award to add to Ms. Mirren's crowded mantelpiece); the Best Screenplay award to director Fatih Akin for the multi-character, multi-country political fable THE EDGE OF HEAVEN; and the Discovery Award to Israeli director Eran Kolirin for the international festival favorite, THE BAND'S VISIT (another prime Oscar contender this year).

Special awards were bestowed on such seminal film talents as director Jean-Luc Godard, cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, producers Margaret Ménégoz and Dr. Veit Heiduschka, and film legends Manoel de Oliviera and Alain Resnais. While heralding important new film talents on the dynamic European film scene, while also acknowledging the contributions and legacies of historic film giants, the European Film Awards more than fulfilled its mission of shining the spotlight on the past and the future of European cinema and illustrating its tremendous diversity, vitality and staying power.

The full list of winners:

EUROPEAN FILM 2007
4 LUNI, 3 SAPTAMINI SI 2 ZILE (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), Romania
directed by Cristian Mungiu
produced by Mobra Film SRL

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2007
Cristian Mungiu for 4 LUNI, 3 SAPTAMINI SI 2 ZILE

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2007
Sasson Gabai in BIKUR HATIZMORET (The Band’s Visit)

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2007
Helen Mirren in THE QUEEN

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2007
Fatih Akin for AUF DER ANDEREN SEITE (The Edge of Heaven)

EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER 2007
Frank Griebe for DAS PARFUM: DIE GESCHICHTE EINES MÖRDERS (
Perfume:
The Story of a Murderer
)

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY PRIX DEXCELLENCE 2007
Uli Hanisch for Production Design DAS PARFUM: DIE GESCHICHTE EINES
MÖRDERS

EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2007
Alexandre Desplat for THE QUEEN

EUROPEAN DISCOVERY 2007
BIKUR HATIZMORET (The Bands Visit) by Eran Kolirin, Israel

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY 2007 - Prix ARTE
LE PAPIER NE PEUT PAS ENVELOPPER LA BRAISE (Paper cannot Wrap up
Embers) by Rithy Panh, France

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY SHORT FILM 2007 - Prix UIP
ALUMBRAMIENTO by Eduardo Chapero-Jackson, Spain

THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD 2007
LA SCONOSCIUTA by Giuseppe Tornatore

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY CRITICS AWARD 2007 - Prix FIPRESCI
COEURS by Alain Resnais

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Jean-Luc Godard

EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA 2007 - Prix Screen International
Michael Ballhaus

PRIX EURIMAGES
Margaret Ménégoz and Dr. Veit Heiduschka

HONORARY AWARD
Manoel de Oliveira

Sandy Mandelberger, Awards Watch Editor

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