Vassiliou pays tribute to Michael Haneke as Amour dominates European Film Awards
European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has paid tribute to the "exceptional talent" of Austrian director Michael Haneke after his film Amour scooped the four main prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva) at the 25th European Film Awards in Malta yesterday (2 December).
Amour, a French-Austrian-German co-production, focuses on the enduring love of an elderly couple as they confront the realities of ageing and death. Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Madness of King George) was honoured with the European Achievement in World Cinema award and Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Nearly all the winning films received funding through the European Commission's MEDIA programme. Commissioner Vassiliou said: "This 25th anniversary of the European Film Awards is an opportunity to reflect on the excellence of our directors, writers, actors, camera operators and all the other specialists who make our films the envy of the world. This year's crop of winners are no exception. I was fortunate to see the premiere of Amour at Cannes this year, where it deservedly won the Palme d'Or. Michael Haneke is a director of exceptional talent and originality. All of his films are special but Amour is possibly the best thanks to outstanding performances by the two leads. I'm also delighted that our MEDIA fund has supported the development and distribution of so many of this year's winning films. There could be no better testament to the added value of this programme, which will continue to fund European films under our new Creative Europe programme." The annual European Film Awards are organised by the European Film Academy, which was founded in 1988 and brings together 2,700 European film-makers with the aim of promoting Europe’s film culture. The EU's MEDIA programme supports the Academy with an annual grant of €175 000. Full list of winners: European Film Awards 2012. To find out more: MEDIA programme; Twitter @VassiliouEU (Contacts: Dennis Abbott: +32.2.295.92.58)