DAILY NEWS: Dispatch from Berlin; ContentFilm and Magnolia Partner; and Del Toro to Receive Sundance Award
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> ON THE SCENE: European Films and Filmmakers Take a Bow During Busy Berlin Weekend
(indieWIRE 12.03.01) — For Jean-Pierre Jenuet, the success of his latest film, “Amelie” (Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain), has been what the director can only call a dream. Co-star Mathieu Kassovitz joked that the filmmaker may soon be jolted by his mother telling him, “Jean-Pierre wake-up, its time to go to school!” Upon winning the European Film Award for Best European Director, here in Berlin (as well as three other awards for him and for his film), Jeunet remarked, beaming, “The dream continues for ‘Amelie.'” Later in the evening, after receiving the top prize of the night, Best European Film 2001, he added, “I did a big film in Hollywood, but it’s so good to have complete freedom, thank you.”
While “Amelie” dominated the ceremony, a number of other acclaimed European films stood the chance to steal the spotlight. Patrice Chereau‘s “Intimacy,” Lone Scherfig‘s “Italian for Beginners” (Italiensk For Begyndere), Michael Haneke‘s “The Piano Teacher” (La Pianiste), and Nanni Moretti‘s “The Son’s Room” (La Stanza del Figlio), all festival favorites this year, were among the movies that competed for the best film honor. Haneke’s “Pianiste” seemed to be an audience favorite, receiving considerable applause and ultimately an award for Best European Actress 2001 for Isabelle Huppert (she topped “Amelie” herself, Audrey Tatou, in the category. The movie, selected as Austria’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, has already racked up more than 700,000 admissions in France since September (it will be released in the United States by Kino International).
Like Jeunet, actor Ewan McGregor, in Berlin to receive the European Achievement in World Cinema 2001 prize, also reflected on the dream of filmmaking. “When I dreamt about movies, I dreamt about movies full of romance, music and dance,” the actor explained. The romantic musical “Moulin Rouge” gave McGregor the type of role he imagined and on Saturday it was chosen as the winner of the Screen International European Film Award 2001 for Non-European Film. The prize will no doubt precede other awards and notices as critics, audiences, and other groups begin to single out the year’s best films.
Friday’s death of former Beatle (and regular film producer) George Harrison, was on the minds of many Saturday. He was remembered for his role in the making of numerous British movies, including “Mona Lisa,” “Withnail and I,” “Powwow Highway,” and “How to Get Ahead in Advertising,” Notably, Harrison was executive producer of “Life of Brian” by the Monty Python troupe, recipients of this year’s European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award 2001. Python’s Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones hammed it up onstage but Harrison’s role in European film was marked and at the end of the evening as an extended clip from “Life of Brian” screened, it seemed fitting that some audience members sang along: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
Saturday night’s European Film Awards inaugurated a new venue in this evolving city, the new Tempodrom at Anhalter Bahnhof, site of an old train station near the glistening Potsdamer Platz. The location is an appropriate one for the EFA’s, which itself cultivated increasing awareness this year and kick off a season of awards that will now shift to the annual pre-Oscars push back in the States. The celeb-studded ceremony (with Ben Kingsley, Brenda Blethyn, Charlotte Rampling, Marisa Paredes, Molly Parker, Stellan Skarsgard and Wim Wenders among the guests) was only one of a number of weekend events held throughout the city of Berlin.
While the event focused on the recent successes in European film, it was also about discovery. Friday night’s “Until Dawn” fiesta welcomed hundreds to the Cantina Barcelona-Berlin on Brückenstrasse for a party that honored the nominees of the European Film Award’s Prix UIP (short film) prize and those nominated for the European Discovery