News Brief: Nov. 2009
A 35-segment Dutch television serial drama, "In Europa," received the 2009 Erasmus EuroMedia Grand Award Oct. 16, before a large gathering at the Vienna City Hall of media colleagues and sponsors from across Europe and the Balkans. Based on an acclaimed book by historian Geert Mak, the series covers the societies, regions and eras of Eropean countries, seeking to illuminate the defining conflicts and ideologies.
Prof. Mak’s aim was to "reassess the history of the fragmented continent," said Prof. Thomas A. Bauer, president of the European Society of Education and Communication (ESEC), co-host with the city’s Press and Information Office (PID) of the awards ceremony. "This history is the cultural, political and symbolic environment of any country in Europe." Describing the documentary as a "topology of men, of societies, regions, cities and eras," in the search for "the ever unsatisfied hope for brotherhood and togetherness."
Two awards went to Austrian nominees: The first was a Special Award for Aesthetics to author Josef Winkler and filmmaker Josef Pfeifenberger of Focusfilm, for their documentary The Movie Screen Visitor (Der Kinoleinwandgeher), exploring the cults of the dead in Carinthia through Winkler’s insights into his Catholic childhood in a world of closed minds, and his ultimate escape through literature, and here through symbolic and aesthetic deconstruction in film.
The second was a Country Medal Austria to Radiodialoge – Voices of Diversity, (Stimmen der Vielfalt) by the Austrian Association of Independent Radio (Verband Freier Radios Österreich), a project giving voice to migrants living in Austria, what presenter Axel Maireder described as "the ‘others’ reporting on mainstream society as part of that society... as central as anyone else."
Other awards included an Award for an Ethic Focus to the German publisher Cornelsen Verlag leading a consortium of human rights organizations for the DVD Against Antisemitism – for Enlightenment (Gegen Antisemitismus – für Aufklärung); an award for Discourse and Politics to Dominique Maestrali and David Descrame of Calisto Productions, Paris for The Scar (La Cicatrice), portraits of rediscovery along the former Iron Curtain; and a Sponsorship Award to the Slovene film company LI Productions for a spare, yet powerful documentary Border Crossings (Sentilj Spielfeld), a portrait of border communities that had thrived as the market places on the edge of the free world. Following the Schengen Open Borders Agreement, for border and their raison d’être disappeared, leaving ghost-like reminders of a divided Europe.