Category: BBC FOUR
Downfall has been named the winner of the BBC FOUR World Cinema Award 2006.
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel flew in from Vienna to collect the award from host Jonathan Ross at the live ceremony, which took place last night (26 January).
The ceremony was sponsored by Pioneer GB Ltd.
Downfall is a compelling and powerful drama set in a war-torn Germany.
The film reconstructs Hitler's increasingly deranged final days in his bunker and the events that lead to the end of the Second World War.
With this masterpiece of historical accuracy and human dramatisation, director Oliver Hirschbiegel shows a different side to one of the most infamous men in history.
Supported by the astounding interpretation of Bruno Ganz, Downfall portrays the complexity of Hitler's character in the greater context of his downfall, revealing a realistic and intimate portrayal of madness and human tragedy.
Oliver Hirschbiegel said: "I'd like to thank the jury and the BBC for this initiative and for supporting world cinema.
"Downfall is a very difficult movie and it was painful to shoot. Of course we knew that we would cause controversy using this new approach.
"Therefore I'm especially proud to receive this award but at the same time I'm ashamed because of all the movies that have been mentioned tonight - I love them all and I love the film makers and I hope I deserve this honour.
"I also take the opportunity to thank the audience in the UK because Downfall did tremendously well. It is very important to support world cinema and that is only possible thanks to the audience."
The award was announced last night live on BBC FOUR from the National Film Theatre after a panel of judges - Amanda Donohoe, Jonathan Romney and Stephen Woolley - chose the winning film from a shortlist of six announced earlier this month.
The shortlist was nominated by the UK's leading critics, film school heads and festival directors.
Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC FOUR, said: "The judges must have found it challenging to pick a winner from such a diverse range of brilliant films.
"Downfall is an extraordinary and brave film, not just because of the story it tells but for how it captured the public imagination."
Notes to Editors
Oliver Hirschbiegel came to international attention in 2001 with the chilling thriller Das Experiment (The Experiment). At present he is working on a new thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
This is the third BBC FOUR World Cinema Award.
Last year's winner - as voted by Gillian Anderson, Roger Clarke and Kevin MacDonal - was The Return by Russian director Andrea Zvyaginstev.
The 2006 Judging Panel
Amanda Donohoe is an award winning film and television actress whose credits include the roles of Cara Jean 'CJ' Lamb in the long-running LA Law series, Lady Pembroke in The Madness Of King George and the young Lucy Irving in the adventure drama Castaway.
Jonathan Romney is the film critic on The Independent on Sunday.
Award winning British producer Stephen Woolley has produced such critically acclaimed British films as The Crying Game, Interview With A Vampire, Michael Collins, The End Of The Affair and most recent recently Breakfast On Pluto.
Stephen made his directing debut in 2005 with Stoned, his psychodrama about Brian Jones, former member of the Rolling Stones.