Karl Markovics’ Debut 'Atmen' Scores Prize in Directors' Fortnight (Cannes 2011)

Austrian director wins ‘Europa Cinemas Label’ best European film in Directors' Fortnight.

LONDON -- Karl Markovics’ debut feature Breathing (also known as Atmen) from Austria has been awarded the ‘Europa Cinemas Label’ as best European film in the Directors’ Fortnight section of Cannes.

The win was announced by a jury of four exhibitors – the ninth year the Label has been awarded in the section in Cannes. Europa Cinemas is a partner of the Directors’ Fortnight.

The win means Markovic’s film will now benefit from support from Europa Cinemas for its promotion and programming in the Network's cinemas.

Europa Cinemas in the network number are in 60 Countries, 588 cities and cover 1036 cinemas with 2789 screens.

The film -- reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter -- stars Thomas Schubert, Karin Lischka, Gerhard Liebmann and Georg Friedrich and details the story of a young man reaching probation during his sentence in a juvenile detention center. He finds a probation job at the municipal morgue in Vienna and finds a dead woman who bears his name. After finding out it isn’t his own mother, he looks for his real one.

The Europa Cinemas Label jury said in a statement: “Karl Markovics has given us a very strong debut feature. The story of a young man leaving prison and learning how to lead his life mirrors many of the themes involving young people present in other Cannes films this year – coping with the problems of growing up, parents, school and love. Markovics put less emphasis on the aesthetics - although the photography is very good - but gives us a dark but positive story that is full of life, sparked by excellent performances. We very much hope this Label prize will help this great film secure as wide a European audience as possible.”

It was being touted internationally by Films Distribution during Cannes.

Winners of the Label in Cannes in previous years have included: 12:08 East of Bucharest, Control, Eldorado, La Pivellina and Le Quattro Volte.