Promoting Excellence in the Discourse on Europe. Since 1995, the Erasmus EuroMedia Awards are granted to outstanding media productions contributing to the development of a European society and value system. [learn more]
Grand Award 08
Balkan Express – Return to Europe (TV Documentary)

Balkan Express – Return to Europe, TV Documentary by Pre TV receiving the Grand Award of the Erasmus Euromedia Award 2008


Europe always has been a cultural idea and just because of that it makes sense to structure it politically. But now, building it as a political and societal system we face that there would come out just an administrative envelope, if we would not compose the horizon of its future based on the narrations of the past. Europe as a concept of a society of the communities and as a unity of diversity must not be invented. It has to be discovered. The idea never died since it was born during a long and challenging history of constructing the union searching and mistaking between myth and reality.

The roots can be found in execution of every day life, in philosophy science, religion, common history, languages, but also in arts, literature, and landscapes, ethnicities and people. Europe will have that future as it finds the way how the present discourse is ongoing to interpret its cultural heritage and its political past development – until today. Europe has a face – quite a functional one in present, quite a diverse shaped for future and quite a lost and sometimes disfigured one of past. But there are paths and routes to the archives of cultural memory – many of them can be found in a region and in countries from which we today would not think to go there in search of understanding Europe. Return to Europe: You find its signatures in the Balkans. That’s the message of the serial “Balkan-Express- Return to Europe”, done in 10 40minutes sequences and covering all 10countries and regions in South-East.

It is the merit of the Erste Bank Stiftung – knowing that the sustainability of economical development very much depends from social and cultural concept of a society – to lead the glance to a region that is struggling with its transition from a long period of societal alienation to new horizons of hope and of self-realization affiliated to the political principles of the European Union – thus sketching a new image of the Balkans. a The TV serial “BALKAN-EXPRESS – Return to Europe” was then developed as a TV-narration on people, landscape, culture, societal structure, history of victory and damage and by all that, last not least, as a reflection of the spirit, the charisma and the aura to be discovered in those 10 countries, known as Balkan countries in Southeast Europe. The European Stability Initiative (ESI) has given scientific support and has developed the script based on long research experience. Cine Styria Filmkunst – Kultur Steiermark and the Fernsehfonds Austria have supported the creation which became finally the opus of not less than 62 people – a challenge of organization, administration and cooperation.

It is the merit of the expertise and artistry of the producers and directors of that TV serial to do that research, to invest that sensitivity and that empathy to recover the authentic faces of European identity behind the scenes of new abundance and old poverty, behind the silence on past disappointments and loud, distrustful and diffuse slogans of hope. As an European audience at the end you confess: that’s me! That has to do with what we are dreaming of: we shall overcome!

It is finally the merit of pre-tv – a 26 years working production company in Vienna and Graz with high Southeast Europe experience and competence – its management and its crew to implement the concept into a media program and to realize that big and challenging composition, to manage the organization and communication of lots of experts in medializing and telling the story in such an outstanding quality of journalism, documentarism, featuering and TV-literacy. There is a general mode of approach for all 10 single pieces, but there is a diversity of description, which found a special culmination in the program on Albania, because there the message of all other programs comes out visually at its top: Europe is young. It is the young people that stands for an old idea.

It is the merit of the ORF, especially ORF2 and 3SAT to value the concept and the script as an outstanding contribution to the European discourse, to get involved and engaged as a cooperation partner and to broadcast that excellent program. Through that engagement the public broadcast institution has proclaimed to take seriously the public assignment for cultural education. Reflecting the difficult conditions for a sympathetic performance of Europe a more privileged broadcasting position for such a remarkable production within the ORF TV program would have underlined that ORF-mission for discursive education of cultural knowledge.

In that sense the TV serial “Balkan Express – Return to Europe” fulfils all the criteria demanded by the ESEC international jury: reflection on and of Europe, its idea, its identity and its values in a media language that can bring the message to a wide reach that can benefit from an educational media message for its knowledge and consciousness regarding European society building. In respect of all that the ESEC jury decided to award the production, the producing team and on behalf of all involved persons, organisations and institutions and in special pre-tv as the responsible producing company of “Balkan-Express – Return to Europe” with the Grand Award of the Erasmus EuroMedia Awards 2008.

Video Clip Return to Europe

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Photos of the Award Ceremony