Hall earns producer award at Monte Carlo fest

MONTE CARLO — Fox’s “Arrested Development” walked away Friday with a Golden Nymph for producer of the year in the category of comedy at a glitzy awards ceremony that closed the 45th edition of the Monte Carlo Television Festival.

Michael C. Hall was tapped the year’s top drama actor for his work on HBO’s “Six Feet Under.”

The U.K., however, dominated the awards ceremony for the third year in a row, taking home half of the 20 Nymphs handed out, including those for television film (Tiger Aspect Prods.’ “Omagh”) and European producer (Red Production Co.’s dark crime series “Conviction”).

Fest opened June 26, but with no business taking place, the event was dominated mainly by talent and accompanying execs, including former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather, Marcia Cross and four others from the “Desperate Housewives” cast, as well as top French talent brought in by TF1.

Rather, whose CBS News documentary “Court Martial in Iraq” was in competition, told Daily Variety that international awards ceremonies recognizing the value of good news programs helped raise the bar for news in the public eye. “Real investigative journalism is expensive, and when it is given international recognition such as at a festival like Monte Carlo, it underscores and, to some degree, inspires others.”

Scandi lenser Nahid Persson’s “Prostitution Behind the Veil” and Gregoire Deniau’s “A Clandestine Crossing of the Seas” from France won Nymphs for news documentary; CBS went away empty-handed.

France’s Denys Granier-Deferre picked up the Nymph for direction in a television film for his pic “93, Rue Lauriston,” while Taodue Film’s “Paolo Borsellino,” from Italy, took the miniseries prize. Drama producer of the year kudos went to Denmark’s “The Eagle,” produced by Sven Clausen.

Fest prexy HSH Albert II was in attendance but declined his usual duty of opening the awards ceremonies in accordance with a three-month state of mourning for the late Prince Rainier of Monaco, who founded the festival in the early 1960s with the late Princess Grace.

Pola Rapaport’s “Writer of O,” presented by INA (France’s National Audiovisual Institute), won the grand prize for documentaries handed out by URTI.

Exec veep of the fest David Tomatis said no further changes would be made to the event for some time. Fest’s date was changed and its market and conference side dropped in recent years. Only 14 programs were screened to the public, a number he said would rise in the future.

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