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‘Ghost Writer’ sweeps European Film Awards

Polanski takes director, McGregor lead actor prize

Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” dominated the 23rd annual European Film Academy awards Saturday in Tallinn, Estonia, winning best pic.

In Europe’s equivalent of the Oscars — voted on by the more than 2,300 members of the EFA — Polanski’s adaptation of Robert Harris’ novel of a British journo who becomes involved in intrigue after he ghostwrites the memoirs of a former prime minister, was named best pic.

Polanski was named European director and he and Harris — who co-wrote the script — nabbed the screenplay prize. Pic’s star Ewan McGregor took the lead actor award. Albrecht Konrad picked up the production designer award for his work on the film, with Alexandre Desplat nabbing the composer award.

It was a night of triumph for the Polish-born director, who said via Skype from his home in Paris, “You have rewarded a truly European venture.”

Released in July from house arrest in Switzerland after the failure of U.S. authorities to extradite him relating to unlawful sex charges dating back to the 1970s, the director doesn’t travel outside France, Switzerland or his native Poland. His co-producer Timothy Burrill accepted the prize on Polanski’s behalf. McGregor also was absent, working on a shoot in

Thailand. French thesp Sylvie Testud took actress prize for her role as a wheelchair-bound woman seeking salvation in Jessica Hausner’s “Lourdes.”

In other kudos, Giora Bejach received the Carlo Di Palma cinematographer trophy for Israeli film “Lebanon,” which also nabbed the Fipresci prize. Editing kudo went to Luc Barnier and Marion Monnier for terrorist biopic “Carlos.” The documentary prize, given by Franco-German TV channel ARTE went to “Nostalgia for the Light,” a French/German/Chile co-prod directed by Patricio Guzman. Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist,” drew the animation award, Poland’s “Hanoi-Warsaw,” a human-trafficking drama directed by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, the short prize.

Eurimages co-production kudo went to Turkish producer Zeynep Ozbatur Atakan. Also receiving trophies were Bruno Ganz for lifetime achievement award and Lebanese-born composer Gabriel Yared for achievement in world cinema.

The people’s choice award for European film 2010 went to “Mr. Nobody,” written and directed by Jaco van Dormael and produced by Philippe Godeau. Awards came the day after the Tallinn Black Night’s Film Fest ended, where Sergei Loznitsa’s dark tale of contempo Russian provincial life “My Joy” (Germany/Ukraine/Netherlands) took top prize for Eurasian film.

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