Shanghai hands out TV honors

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SHANGHAI -- The top prize for television in China, the world's biggest TV market in terms of viewers, was warded late Friday to the German-produced WWII drama "March of Millions" at the 13th Shanghai Television Festival.

The STVF's Magnolia award for best TV film went to "March" producers at teamWorx Television and Film GmbH. The fest's Jury Grand Prix went to "After Thomas," a drama from U.K.–based Hartswood Films about raising an autistic child.

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Chosen from more than 60 entries, winners were feted at the Oriental Arts Center in Pudong, the new business district of China's biggest city and commercial capital.

China has nearly 100% television penetration, with about 360 million television households. Though strictly controlled by the Communist government in Beijing, the medium's revenues are growing as the overall economy steams ahead toward the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Attendees noted that the festival was better organized than last year, perhaps in part dut to its separation for the first time from the Shanghai International Film Festival, which began Saturday.

Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Albano ("Moon Child") won the Magnolia for best director, while China's Yan Fei took home the award for best screenplay for "Toy Train."

Russian Adiran Topol took home the Magnolia for best actor for his role as a solider in "Franz+Polina," while Vanessa Redgrave won best actress for playing the lead in "The Shellseekers."

Given special attention at the festival this year, awards for best foreign and domestic animation -- a field in which China hopes to grow its business -- went to "The Danish Poet" from Norway, and to "Shaolin Wuzang."
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