France has big night at International Emmys

France has big night at International Emmys

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
France has big night at International Emmys

AA Photos

France had a big night Nov. 23 at the International Emmys, winning three top awards, led by the hit crime thriller “Engrenages” (“Spiral”) which won for best drama series. But the normally festive ceremony was tempered by reflections on the recent Paris terrorist attacks.

Executive producer of “Engrenages,” Anne Landois, noted that the production team works closely with police to offer a realistic look at the French judicial system. She thanked the police for their response to the terror attacks and their efforts “to preserve our values.”

“I would like to dedicate this award to the victims of despair and hate, and I hope that love and generosity will win in France and all over the world,” said the show’s star, Caroline Proust, who plays a police captain, in her acceptance remarks at the awards ceremony at the Hilton New York.

The show won the Emmy for its fifth season in which its heroes try to unravel the double-murder of a mother and child as they plunge into a world of organized crime, drugs and girl gangs.

The Emmy for arts programming went to “Illustre & Inconnu: Comment Jacques Jaujard a Sauve le Louvre” (“The Man Who Saved the Louvre”) about the French National Museums director who organized a resistance group to keep thousands of artworks out of the Nazis’ hands.

“This movie is mainly about art, but it’s also about resistance against barbarism,” said co-director Pierre Pochart.

The other French winner was “Soldat Blanc” (“White Soldier”), about two young soldiers in Saigon whose friendship is shattered when they end up on opposite sides in the early days of the Viet Minh insurgency against French colonial rule, which took the Emmy for best TV movie/mini-series.

The highlight of the awards ceremony came when “Downton Abbey” creator and writer Julian Fellowes was presented the honorary International Emmy Founders Award by the show’s executive producer Gareth Neame and actress Elizabeth McGovern, who stars as Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham.

Neame noted that “Downton Abbey,” which chronicles the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants amid the backdrop of historical events such as the sinking of the Titanic and World War I, is “probably Britain’s most successful scripted TV export.” The show wraps up its sixth and final season next month on Britain’s ITV, which will begin airing in the U.S. on Jan. 3 on PBS.

France has big night at International EmmysBest actor and actress

The best actor award went to Maarten Heijmans of the Netherlands for “Ramses,” which chronicles the rise and fall of the popular Dutch singer and actor Ramses Shaffy. Norway’s Anneke von der Lippe won the best actress Emmy for “Eyewitness” in which she plays a small town police chief caught in the middle of a murder investigation.

Britain’s only win came in the non-scripted entertainment category for “50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy,” in which thrill-seeking Irish TV presenter Baz Ashmawy brings his mother along for an extreme bucket list trip around the world that has her doing daredevil stunts like skydiving and alligator wrangling. He brought his mother to the ceremony “as proof [he] didn’t actually kill her.”

Brazil won two Emmys. “Doce de Mae” (“Sweet Mother”), which stars veteran Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro as an aging matriarch who dispenses wisdom to her family, won in the comedy category. “Imperio” (“Empire”), about a man who becomes wealthy by smuggling precious stones only to see his empire collapse, received the Emmy for best telenovela.

South Africa’s “Miners Shot Down,” which covers the 2012 Marikana massacre in which government security forces fatally shot 34 striking miners, took the Emmy in the documentary category. Its director Rehad Desai dedicated the award to victims of the massacre and their families “and to the continuing fight for justice and equality in South Africa.”

“Arrepentidos - El Infierno de Montoya,” the story of a once successful Colombian actor who ends up in prison after agreeing to become a drug mule, won in the category for non-English language U.S. Primetime program.

The awards ceremony honors excellence in TV programming outside the U.S.