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U.K. sweeps Monte Carlo TV fest

Britain takes all three miniseries nods

MONTE CARLO — The U.K., not for the first time, swept the Monte Carlo TV Festival awards, picking up 11 out of 20 of the Gold Nymphs handed out Thursday during the fest’s 47th edition in Monaco.

The U.K. took all three miniseries nods, including best mini for “Bon Voyage.”

“It was by far the best piece of pure filmmaking,” noted Morgan Wandell, miniseries jury president and senior VP of drama development at ABC Studios.

The Brits also took three of the four comedy Nymphs, including international producer for Feelgood Fiction’s “Suburban Shootout” producers Laurence Bowen, Philip Clarke and Greg Boardman.

The U.S. came home with four Nymphs: Tom Hooper won for direction and Peter Morgan for script for “Longford” in the TV film category; “Lost” producers Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Jack Bender walked away with a Nymph for producer. Jaime Pressly won for actress in a comedy series for “My Name Is Earl.”

France, despite its massive talent presence at the fest, picked up only three Nymphs, including TV film for “Flowers for Algernon.”

Monte Carlo, now minus its market, has become a major launch pad and promotional vehicle for Euro and North American TV fare, with all of the major studios, including 20th Century Fox, ABC Studios and Sony, present in the form of talent.

“Broken Trail” star and exec producer Robert Duvall showed up, as did “CSI” thesp Gary Dourdan and “24” producer Jon Cassar.

Duvall told Daily Variety that the theme of Chinese girls working as prostitutes in the story about the waning days of the old West gave the miniseries more credibility with Euro audiences than the average Western.

Dourdan called for a little more recidivism in his “CSI” character Warrick Brown, a recovering gambling addict. “I’m too good. I need a cringe factor, something to make the viewer’s toes curl,” he noted in a press conference.

The fest has tried to attract, and honor, more international content for years, but storylines and production values are clearly still lost in translation.

China and Hong Kong together had six entries shortlisted, the most of any territory outside Europe and the U.S. The rest of Asia had a handful of noms, Africa had two and Latin American had none.

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