Jan Mojto Awarded French Legion On Honor

The head of Germany's Beta Film has produced such pan-European television events as "Borgias" and "Napoleon."

BERLIN - The French government has awarded veteran European television executive Jan Mojto the Legion on Honor for his "extraordinary contribution to French culture and cooperation with France."

Maurice Gourdault Montagne, the French ambassador to Germany, presented Mojto with the honor at an event at the Munich International Film Festival. Speaking on behalf of French president Francois Hollande, the ambassador said Mojto and his production/distribution company Beta Film contributed to the “democratization of art” though the “international distribution of artistic works.”

Mojto, a native Slovenian who has spent most of his career in Germany and speaks several languages, including French, has built Beta’s business on pan-European productions. Beta specializes in cross-border co-productions of television events, such as Tom Fontana’s bad Pope series Borgias, a German-French co-production, or the 2002 mini-series Napoleon, featuring French stars Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu, Italian actress Isabella Rossellini and German actors including Sebastian Koch and Alexander Maria Lara.

“I see this (award) not just as a great honor from France but also as a call for me to continue to work on behalf of European culture and cooperation,” Mojto told THR.

Mojto reflected that while growing up in communist Slovakia, ít was French culture, in the form of his French language teacher, that opened up the world beyond the Iron Curtain and first set him on his life’s path.