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BBC Four delivers crown to ‘Triplets’

Channel aims to be major buyer of foreign fare

LONDON — Sylvain Chomet’s debut pic, “The Triplets of Belleville,”scooped the first BBC Four World Cinema Award, honoring the best foreign-language film released in the last year in the U.K. Brazilian gangster pic “City of God” nabbed the audience prize, determined by votes cast online.

The inauguration of this award signals BBC Four’s ongoing desire to distinguish itself as a major new buyer of foreign-language fare, which has been marginalized in recent years on terrestrial channels.

Quirky animated tale “Belleville” came out on top after jury members Bjork, Mike Figgis, Robert Carlyle and helmer Alex Cox backed it ahead of strong competition from “City of God,” “To Be and To Have,” “Good Bye, Lenin!,” “The Man Without a Past” and “Spirited Away.”

The backbone of BBC Four’s efforts to position itself as the home of world cinema on U.K. TV is a joint distribution and acquisition pact inked with distrib Optimum Releasing in Februarythat spawned the Discoveries program.

The annual Discoveries series showcases six films from emerging international filmmakers. The 2004 list season includes “Broken Wings,” “Historias minimas” and “Blind Shaft.” Shane Danielson, artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, assists the program by earmarking suitable titles.

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