NEW YORK — Attempts to make the Intl. Emmy Awards less centered on English language productions partially paid off Monday night when a Swedish TV movie took home top honors as best drama. It was the first time a Swedish entry had ever won the prestigious award in that category, and one of the few times a non-English language show managed the feat.
Australian and Dutch productions pocketed awards in two other program categories.
Britain’s Channel Four captured two other prizes, while the BBC — traditionally the biggest winner at the annual Intl. Emmys — had to settle for a single trophy.
The 26th annual Intl. Emmy Awards were presented during a black-tie gala at the New York Hilton, attended by nearly 1,000 international TV execs and celebrities. Dutch comedian Hans Liberg — a cross between Victor Borge and Mark Russell — emceed the three-hour show.
In his opening remarks, dinner chairman and Universal Television chair Blair Westlake pointed to the growing cross-culturalism that is helping programs increasingly travel both ways across the Atlantic.
The winners were chosen from among more than 400 entries submitted by broadcasters and producers from around the world.
Among the presenters were John Ritter, Alan Thicke, Linda Purl and Joanne Woodward.
In addition to the six program awards, Robert Halmi Sr., chairman of Hallmark Entertainment, received the Intl. Council’s Founders Award, and Sam Nilsson, director general of Swedish Television, was honored with the Directorate Award.
TV Cultura Brazil took home the UNICEF Children’s Day of Broadcasting Award for outstanding contributions to children’s programming, and pioneer ABC broadcast executive Julius Barnathan posthumously received the Ted Cott Award.
The running theme of this year’s show was the ongoing importance of human rights, with various presenters pointing to the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, especially those rights involving children.
The mission of the 30-year-old Intl. Council of NATAS is to encourage excellence in television by awarding the Intl. Emmys and to nurture excellence through industry research and educational programs.
Jeffrey Seligman of the Union Square Group produced the show.
Following is the list of Intl. Emmy winners:
“The Tattooed Widow” — SVT (Sweden)
“Exile in Sarajevo” — Exile Prods. (Australia)
“The War Symphonies: Shostakovich Against Stalin” — Rhombus Media/ZDF/Arte/IDTV (Netherlands)
CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG PEOPLE
“Blabbermouth and Sticky Beak” — Double Exposure/Channel Four (U.K.)
“The Judas Tree” — Landseer/Channel Four (U.K.)
“The Vicar of Dibley: Love and Marriage” — Tiger Aspects Prods./BBC (U.K.)