Plaudit for best Directors' Fortnight European pic

CANNES — “Atmen” (Breathing), the directorial debut of Austrian actor-turned-director Karl Markovics, has won the Europa Cinemas Label for best European film in Directors’ Fortnight.

Europa Cinemas is a Directors’ Fortnight partner.

Also written by Markovics, the Films Distribution-sold “Breathing” turns on an on-probation teen offender who picks up work at the Vienna municipal morgue, then sets out to find his mother.

According to a statement by the Europa Cinemas jury, “Breathing” mirrors many of the themes involving young people present in other Cannes films this year — coping with the problems of growing up, parents, school and love.”

The jury added: “Markovics … gives us a dark but positive story that is full of life, sparked by excellent performances.”

Produced by Austria’s Epo-Film Prods., it toplines Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Gerhard Liebmann and Georg Friedrich.

Stage actor and Austrian tube vet Markovics starred in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s 2007 Academy Award-winning “The Counterfeiters” as master forger Salomon Sorowitsch.

Backed by the EU Media Program, France’ CNC, Eurimages and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Europa Cinemas provides operational and financial incentives to its 1,036 member cinemas to encourage them to screen European films.

Won in the past by films such as “12:08 East of Bucharest,” “Control,” “Eldorado,” “La Pivellina” and “Le Quattro Volte,” the prestigious Label award throws the media spotlight on “Breathing.”

Europa Cinemas also offers a bonus to theaters that give it a more than minimal run.

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