Brussels, 07 Mar 2006
French-made film 'March of the Penguins' (La marche de l'Empereur), which received 1.13 million euro of EU funding to support its international distribution, has won the Academy award for best documentary 2006.
Accepting the award at the Oscars ceremony on 5 March, Luc Jacquet, the film's director, dedicated his statuette to all the children that had seen his work. 'In 2041, they will decide to ruin you or not, [with] the treaty that protects Antarctica. Maybe, the 'March of the Penguins' will inspire them,' he said.
Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding welcomed the Academy's decision as further proof of the quality of the European film industry and the success of the MEDIA programme that helped to fund the documentary's international distribution.
'European films succeed not only in their own national cinema markets, but also and increasingly in other European countries and other continents,' said the Commissioner. However, Ms Reding stressed that European films are still missing huge opportunities due to the fragmented audiovisual market in Europe and the lack of a proactive approach to new international markets.
'We need to improve Europe's strategy on film exports at a time where digital distribution and film online offer new possibilities and look at new markets such as Brazil, South Africa of China. I am working on that,' she added.
In 2005, the EU funded MEDIA programme invested 100 million euro in European cinema to support training, development, distribution and promotion. Today, nine out of every ten feature films that are distributed outside their home country have received support from the programme. The target for the end of the next phase of the programme (2007 to 2013) is to raise the market share of non-national European films from ten to 20 per cent.