Venice Film Fest 2009

September 11, 2009 — Alex van Warmerdam's THE LAST DAYS OF EMMA BLANK (De Laatste Dagen van Emma Blank) a Dutch/Belgian co-production, has been awarded the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European Film in the Giornate degli Autori/Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival, it was announced today by a jury of four Europa Cinemas exhibitors – the sixth year the Label has been awarded in the section. Award Ceremony will be held at Villa degli Autori on Friday 11th, 9.30 pm.
 
THE LAST DAYS OF EMMA BLANK will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas exhibitors who commit themselves to extend the length of its run on screen and additional promotion across the network.
 
The Europa Cinemas jury for this year's Venice Festival consisted of  Andrea Crozzoli, exhibitor at Cinemazero in Pordenone (Italy); Frans Westra, Programmer of Cinema Images in Gröningen (The Netherlands); Christian Braschi, exhibitor at Cinema Le Royal in Toulon (France); Urzsula Sniegowska, exhibitor at Kino Lab Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw (Poland).
 
The jury issued the following statement: "The film takes a deliciously tragic-comic look at greed, manipulation and power at the heart of a family. Ironic and nightmareish at times, the director directs his cast with great skill  and unerringly makes all the right tonal decisions. He manages to make his depiction of a family in a very Dutch setting seem universal. This is a true auteur's film but avoids pretension entirely. We trust that our awarding of the Label to this film will contribute to it attaining the wide European audience it deserves." It was an unanimous decision.
 
Sold internationally by Fortissimo Films, THE LAST DAYS OF EMMA BLANK is written and directed by Alex van Warmerdam, with Mark van Warmerdam as Producer. The cast is  Marlies Heuer (Emma Blank), G ene Bervoets (Haneveld), Eva van de Wijdeven (Gonnie), Alex van Warmerdam (Theo), Gijs Naber (Meijer), Marvan Kenzari (Martin) and Annet Malherbe (Bella). The film is produced by Graniet Film from Amsterdam  in co-production with Le Parti Production from Brussels.
 
In a large country home, the owner Emma Blank is very ill and is cared for by her household staff: Haneveld the head housekeeper, Bella the cook, Gonnie the maid and Meier the man-servant. Despite her desperate need for loving care, Emma is a steely, avaricious dictator whose demands become ever more absurd, to the extent that her staff is driven to madness. Until the day that they discover that they stand to inherit nothing and they drop off their charade of caring and concern and instead plot their revenge.
 
This marks the sixth year that the Europa Cinemas Label has been awarded at Venice, and complements the Labels awarded at the Directors Fortnight section in Cannes, Panorama section in Berlin and Karlovy Vary.
Since 2003, Europa Cinemas has supported 22 Label winning European films representing 13 different European countries. More than 100,000 screenings of these films have been programmed resulting in more than 2.5 million admissions. Last year's Venice winner, Uberto Pasolini's MACHAN, has had successful openings in Italy, Germany and Austria with further openings planned this month in France and Benelux with Norway, Switzerland and Denmark following later in the year. Andrzej Jakimowski's TRICKS (Venice 2007) has won prizes at 6 international Festivals and been released in Benelux, Norway, France, Switzerland, UK, Spain, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
 
Founded in 1992, the Europa Cinemas network around Europe now consists of a remarkable 1945 screens in 758 cinemas in 439 cities in 43 countries. Europa Cinemas' aim is to support the programming and visibility of European films outside their country of origin, and to foster initiatives aimed at encouraging younger audiences to develop their interest in European films and cultural diversity.
 
Previous winners of the Europa Cinemas Label are:
 
Cannes/Directors' Fortnight
2003:  The Mother (Roger Michell, UK)  Kitchen Stories (Bent Hamer, Norway/Sweden)
2004:   In the Battlefields / Dans les champs de bataille (Danielle Arbid, France / Belgium / Lebanon)
2005:  La Moustache (Emmanuel Carrère, France)
2006:  12:08 East of Bucharest/A Fost sau n-a fost ? (Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania)
2007:  Control (Anton Corbijn, UK)
2008:  Eldorado (Bouli Lanners, Belgium)
2009:  La Pivellina (Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria/Italy)
 
Berlin/Panorama
2005:  Live and Become / Radu Mihaileanu, France/Belgium/Israel)
Cockles and Muscles / Crustacés et Coquillages
(Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau, France)
2006:  Tough Enough / Knallhart (Detlev Buck, Germany)
2007:  El Camino de los Ingleses / Summer Rain (Antonio Banderas, Spain)
2008:   Revanche (Götz Spielmann, Austria)
2009:  Welcome (Philippe Lioret, France)
Nord (Rune Denstad Langlo, Norway)
 
Venice/Venice Days
2004:  Darwin's Nightmare / Le Cauchemar de Darwin (Hubert Sauper, Austria/France/Belgium)
2005:  Le Petit Lieutenant (Xavier Beauvois, France)
2006:  Dark Blue Almost Black / Azul Oscuro Casi Negro (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo, Spain)
2007:  Tricks / Sztuczki (Andrzej Jakimowski, Poland)
2008:  Machan / Uberto Pasolini, UK/Germany)
 
Karlovy Vary (Main Competition and East of the West section)
2006:  Frozen City / Valkoinen kaupunki (Aku Louhimies, Finland)
2007:  The Class / Klass (Ilmar Raag, Estonia)
2008:   Bahrtalo! Good Luck! (Róbert Lakatos, Hungary)< BR>2009:  Applause (Martin Pieter Zandvliet, Denmark)