Austria hails Cannes heroes as trophy cabinet bulges

26th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Austrian actor Christoph Waltz received the festival's best actor award for his performance in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," while director Michael Haneke took home the coveted Palme d'Or for his film "The White Ribbon."

Vienna -- Top honours for two Austrians at the Cannes festival were proof that the country's movie industry has become a force to be reckoned with internationally, politicians and film professionals said Monday.

"Today's award ceremony in Cannes is an impressive success for Austrian filmmakers," Culture Minister Claudia Schmied said after the wins were announced Sunday night.

Austrian actor Christoph Waltz received the festival's best actor award for his performance in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," while director Michael Haneke took home the coveted Palme d'Or for his film "The White Ribbon."

The wins made it "more than clear that the Austrian film industry is a vital sector with great potential for the future," added Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Josef Proell.

"The victorious run of our homegrown film industry continues with today's triumph," Schmied added.

Austrian cinema scored its biggest win ever last year with a best foreign picture Oscar for Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters."

And this year again, an Austrian film -- "Revanche" by Goetz Spielmann -- was nominated in the same category.

Reacting to the Cannes awards, the Austrian Film Institute, which provides funding, spoke of "a further highlight in a wave of success."

"Austrian cinema is alive as never before and is making incredible achievements," its director, Roland Teichmann, said.

The Austrian Film Commission, which promotes Austrian cinema abroad, added it was "incredibly proud".

Award-winner Haneke told the Austrian Press Agency himself in Cannes: "Two Palmes for Austrians this year, that's wicked!"

But while welcoming his colleague's "much-deserved accolade," Ruzowitzky warned: "We have to be careful about depicting this as a triumph for Austrian film, rather it is evidence of where Austrian politicians have failed."

Lack of funding and opportunities in Austria meant that Haneke's film was produced mostly with German money and Waltz was awarded for a performance in a US production, he noted.

Culture Minister has already called for further funding for the Austrian film industry.

AFP/Expatica

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