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 MEDIA-backed film, 'In a Better World', directed by Denmark's Susanne Bier, collected the statuette for best foreign language film.
‘The King’s Speech’ tells the story of the man who would become King George VI, the father of the current Queen, Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ‘Bertie’ VI (Colin Firth) reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded nervous stammer and considered unfit to be King, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
During the reign of King George VI, Malta was a British colony and thousands of Maltese would have listened to the original speech live on their cable radio sets. King George VI awarded the Maltese the George Cross (now part of the Maltese Flag) in April 1942 and visited Malta personally in June 1943.
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.
The MEDIA Programme is a programme of the European Union which aims at supporting the European audiovisual sector. In particular its objective is to strengthen the competitiveness of the European film, TV and new media industries; increase international circulation of European audiovisual products and preserve and enhance European cultural diversity.
MEDIA Desk Malta was set up in 2005 in order to promote the European Union’s MEDIA Programme in Malta and to assist individuals who wish to benefit from this programme. MEDIA Desk Malta is hosted and supported by the Culture and Audiovisual Unit within the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism, the Environment and Culture at the Auberge d’Italie in Merchants Street in Valletta. They can be contacted on phone numbers +356 22915054/7 or +356 21230715 o by email at email@example.com.