Scandis top Prix Italia fest, Brits fade

Quality of television shows praised at awards

BOLOGNA, Italy — The 53rd Prix Italia wrapped Sept. 22 with a prize list dominated by the Scandinavians and a disappointing showing by the Brits, who usually do well at the fest.

For the second year running, the BBC pocketed a TV drama prize, this time with hard-hitting child abuse drama “Care,” scripted by Kieran Prendville, voted best single drama.

Scandinavian broadcasters won three of the five main TV awards. Denmark’s DR came away with the prize for TV drama (series/serials) for “Worth Fighting For,” a political/psychological drama directed by Jacob Gronlykke and produced by Michael Bille Frandsen.

The TV documentary (current affairs) award went to Sweden’s SVT for its investigative “Heritage for Sale,” an expose of the antiquities trade. The other docu prize went to Finland’s YLE for “Rooms of Shadow and Light,” a portrait of a Bombay brothel.

Host broadcaster RAI claimed the TV performing arts gong with a production of “La Traviata,” hailed by the jury as “an astonishing artistic achievement.”

Prix Italia secretary general Carlo Sartori praised the high quality of this year’s competitish, which was somewhat overshadowed by the events of Sept. 11. About a quarter of those expected to attend failed to show in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Next year, the Prix Italia — the world’s oldest broadcasting festival — moves to Venice. The current organizers, president Jim Graham and Sartori, may have moved on by then. Graham, chairman of U.K. station Border TV, is due to step down in January and will be replaced by Frank-Dieter Freiling, controller of international affairs of German pubcaster ZDF, while Sartori is tipped to become director of TV at the United Nations in New York.

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