An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government
Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level

MEDIA Salles at Cinema Expo International 2005,
Amsterdam (NL), 27- 30 June




30 June 2005

Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)
European Film of the Year

Christian Carion’s film is the star on the third day
of MEDIA Salles’ Focus on Europe at Cinema Expo International

Yesterday evening on the big screen, exhibitors from all over Europe watched the showing of Merry Christmas, by Christian Carion, chosen by MEDIA Salles as European Film of the Year, because of its theme and high potential for distribution. Indeed, the release of this full-length feature, co-produced by France, Germany, the UK and Romania and presented outside the official competition at Cannes, is already planned in the cinemas of as many as 16 European countries. These will include France, in October, Germany and Greece in November, The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium in December. A film of great intensity and poetry, but also able to provoke smiles, Merry Christmas is inspired by a true story and set on Christmas night 1914 and, as Mike Vickers, Treasurer of MEDIA Salles, said while presenting it, “it is the story of how, in the gloom of gathering war, the enemy can lose his threatening connotations to become another human being, to whom one may even wish Merry Christmas”.
The screening of the film was introduced by a few trailers, chosen from amongst the European films which, in the opinion of MEDIA Salles, combine high potential for international distribution with excellent quality: Simon, a sparkling comedy by the Dutch director Eddy Terstall, which had a good success when released in The Netherlands; Frozen Land, by Aku Louhimies, which totalled more than 170,000 admissions in Finland, its country of origin; One Day in Europe, by Hannes Stöhr, a co-production by Spain and Germany which has already reached Hungarian screens and is programmed for several other European markets, including Poland, Greece and Portugal, in a few months’ time; Crossing The Bridge, a documentary on the music world in Istanbul, by the Turkish-German director Fatih Akin, winner of the 2004 Golden Bear in Berlin with Head On; Sophie Scholl: The Last Days by Marc Rothemund, which won the 2005 Golden Bear awards in Berlin for Best Actress (Julian Jentsch) and Best Director, and which is dedicated to the last days in the life of Sophie, the young student from Munich who, together with her brother and other young people only a little older than herself, founded the anti-Nazi group “White Rose” and paid for her loyalty to her ideals with her life. Already released in Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg, the film is programmed for release in Belgium and Spain towards the end of the year. Special attention was also devoted to the trailers of Don’t Come Knocking, the latest work by the master Wim Wenders, which in August will be in cinemas in Germany and the Netherlands, in October in France and Belgium, and has already been bought by Iceland, Cyprus, Sweden and Turkey, and Kirikou and The Wild Beasts, by Michel Ocelot and Bénédicte Galup, a film that, six years after the fortunate film Kirikou et La Sorcière, promises to be a great success for animated films in the 2005-2006 season. Also presented in Cannes, it will be released in France and Italy in December and is then programmed to reach the screens of another thirteen European countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia and Germany.

MEDIA Salles’ Focus on Europe continues, devoting today’s programme to “Italian Cinema Worldwide”, a project for the promotion of Italian films at the main professional meetings of cinema exhibitors throughout the world. During the “Final Luncheon and Awards Ceremony” (1.30 pm, Westhal 3), during which Bruno Ganz will receive the “International Star Award”, MEDIA Salles will present the “European Producer of the Year" Award to Elda Ferri, producer of films including the most recent successes by Roberto Benigni, such as Life Is Beautiful and the latest, keenly-awaited, The Tiger and The Snow, a brief sequence of which will be shown as an advance screening.

Cinema Expo International is the traditional meeting for European exhibitors, which brings together over 1,200 professional operators from all countries. The event includes seminars on different aspects of the cinema industry and the presentation of films about to be released. The programme of Cinema Expo International includes an exhibition of equipment and services for cinemas, from theatre design to the most technologically advanced products.

The MEDIA Salles project operates within the framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of the Italian Government.
The end objective of MEDIA Salles is to foster theatrical distribution of European audiovisual products. This aim is pursued both by high profile campaigns involving Europe's cinema exhibitors and by initiatives to raise the visibility of European productions with industry players and potential audiences, creating specialized information channels on a global scale. Thus the current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail in a program with a triple focus - training, promotion and information - and maximum combined effect.

MEDIA Salles
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Tel.: +39.02.66984405 – Fax: +39.02.6691574