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Background
 

LUX Prize: The European Parliament is committed to culture

Culture - 01-10-2007 - 21:37
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Constructing Europe is also about supporting cultural diversity and the creative arts. At the moment when the European Union is celebrating its founding texts and is in the process of drafting an new treaty, the European Parliament has decided to create the LUX Prize (light).

The objective of the LUX Prize is to illuminate the public debate on European integration and to facilitate the diffusion of European films in the European Union.  The LUX Prize will finance the subtitling and the kinescope recording of the winning film in the 23 official EU languages.  The original language recording will be adapted for sub-titling for hard of hearing and deaf people.  

Here are the three films in competition, selected by a 17 member jury composed mainly of people working in the cinematic professions:

- Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven), by Fatih Akin
- 4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), by Cristian Mungiu
- Belle toujours, by Manoel de Oliveira

Each film will be shown 9 times, from 1 October to 18 October 2007, within the European Parliament in Brussels.  A 90 seat cinema room has been especially conceived and built for this purpose

The screenings are free, and priority goes to MEPs, if there is room available, it is open to all other people who enjoy cinema and have access to the European Parliament.

Only MEPs who have seen all three films during the screenings or extra muros, will be able to exercise their right to vote.  The film which gains the highest number of votes will be the winner.

The LUX Prize will be awarded by the European Parliament President, Hans-Gert Pöttering in Strasbourg (France), during its plenary session on 24 October.  A trophy, inspired by a representation of the Tower of Babel which forms the LUX Prize's visual identity, will be given to the laureate.
 
REF.: 20070927BKG10868

The LUX Prize – an expression of the European Parliament’s commitment to culture

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The European Parliament and cultural diversity
 
The European Parliament is a champion – and a symbol – of cultural diversity. Its very make-up reflects Europe’s multiplicity of cultures and languages. With 785 seats, the European Parliament is the world’s largest international parliamentary body. It is also the most diverse: its Members represent the people of the European Union’s 27 Member States; 23 languages are spoken in the Parliament, not to mention the regional and minority languages of the Union. The Parliament, whose legislative powers are steadily increasing, shares the Union’s motto, ‘Unity in Diversity’. Intercultural dialogue and freedom of thought, which have inspired and underpinned the history of European cinema, are two of its most cherished causes.
 
Cinema at the heart of cultural exception
 
Cinema lies at the heart of the European cultural model. It is emblematic of the cultural exception dispute between the European Union and the United States. Cinema is also a medium that is accessible to a very large number of people of all ages. Marrying sound and image, it has always been a medium that appeals to the individual at an emotional rather than a cognitive level. At a time when text as a medium is at a crossroads, cinema is the ideal vehicle for communication – or reflection – on Europe and its future.
 

Further information :

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The aims of the LUX Prize

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Shedding a different light on the future of Europe
 
One of the main criteria in selecting the films short-listed for the LUX Prize has been their success in showing the process of building Europe in a different light. As the European Union works on a new treaty, the artistic and narrative quality of the winning film will give the audience a glimpse of a submerged dimension of the European venture – the individual, perhaps the intimate, dimension.

Facilitating circulation of European films
 
Breaking through the language barrier that prevents films from moving around the European Union is the other major objective of the LUX Prize. It will give a powerful circulation boost to a cinematic work within the common market and will ultimately add to Europe’s cinematographic and cultural wealth.
 
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Panel and selection criteria

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In this first edition of the LUX Prize, three films will be shortlisted by a panel consisting of members of the profession: producers, distributors, cinema operators, festival directors, critics, etc.

The members of the selection panel
 
The seventeen panellists were appointed by the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee and are all members of the profession:
 
Ivo ANDRLE
Czech Republic
Cinema operator in Prague and film distributor via Aerofilms.
 
György BÁRON
Hungary
Film critic.
 
Kirsten Lykke DALGAARD
Denmark
Director of the Grand Teatret complex (art and experimental cinema) and the distribution company Camera Film. President of the international Natfilm Festival.
 
Michel DEMOPOULOS
Greece
Special fiction adviser for the public television channels ERT. Former director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
 
Fatima DJOUMER
France
Head of International Affairs for Europa Cinémas.
 
Waldemar DABROWSKI
Poland
Former Culture Minister.
 
Mercedes ECHERER
Austria
Director of the EUXXL Film Festival.
 
Enrique GONZALEZ KUHN
Spain
In charge of acquisitions at the distribution company Alta Films, and cinema operator.
 
Roman GUTEK
Poland
Distributor and cinema operator.
 
Dany HABRAN
Belgium
Head of Programmes at the Churchill and Le Parc cinemas in Liège.
 
Susanne HOFFMANN
Germany
Secretary-General of International Public Television and Director of the Prix Europa.
 
Tony JONES
United Kingdom
Director of the Cambridge Film Festival and cinema operator.
 
Stefan KITANOV
Bulgaria
Director of the Sofia Film Festival and producer.
 
Rui PEREIRA
Portugal
Director of the Indielisboa Film Festival.
 
Vida RAMASKIENE
Lithuania
Director of the Kino Pavasaris Film Festival.
 
Georgette RANUCCI
Italy
Operator of the Alcazar in Rome. Representative for the Cannes Festival in Rome and Milan. Head of Public Relations at the Lucky Red distribution company.
 
Yvon THIEC
France
General Director of Eurocinéma in Brussels.
 
Selection criteria
 
Films:
 
- Fiction or documentary; animated films are eligible;
- Minimum length: 60 minutes;
- Produced or co-produced in a country eligible under the MEDIA 2007 programme (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland);
- Illustrating the universality of European values and/or the diversity of European culture and/or bringing insights into the debate on the process of building Europe;
- Released for the first time between 1 May of the previous year and 1 June of the current year.
 
The ten shortlisted films
 
- 4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
- Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven)
- Belle toujours
- California Dreaming
- Exile Family Movie
- Fräulein
- Import-Export
- Iszka utazasa
(Iska’s Journey)
- Kalinovski Square
- Kurz davor ist es passiert
(It Happened Just Before)
 
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The three LUX Prize finalists

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Auf der anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven), by Fatih Akin;
4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), by Cristian Mungiu;
Belle toujours, by Manoel de Oliveira.
 
Auf der anderen Seite
 
Director: Fatih Akin
Co-production: German-Turkish
Length: 122’
Year: 2007
Released in Belgium (distributor): 11/2007 (Cinéart)
Original language: German
Subtitles (for showings): English
Electronic subtitles (for showings): French
Projection format: Betacam digital (16:9)
Award: Cannes 2007 – Screenplay Prize

Synopsis
 
Despite the misgivings of his son Nejat, Ali, a widower, decides to move in with Yeter, a prostitute who shares his Turkish origin. Nejat, a young German teacher, soon warms to Yeter when he realises that she sends most of what she earns to her daughter in Turkey to pay for her university education.
 
Yeter’s accidental death drives a wedge between father and son. Nejat goes to Istanbul to search for Ayten, Yeter’s daughter. He is unaware that Ayten, a 20-year-old political activist, has fled to Germany to escape the Turkish police.
 
In Hamburg Ayten becomes friendly with Lotte, a German student, who is quickly won over by the young Turkish woman’s charm and political commitment. Lotte even invites Ayten to stay in her home, despite the qualms of her mother Susanne. Ayten is arrested and put in detention, and ultimately deported to Turkey, where she is sent to prison.
 
Lotte decides on the spur of the moment to drop everything and go to Turkey, where she runs into a brick wall of bureaucracy, with all her efforts to secure Ayten’s release seemingly doomed to failure. She happens to meet Nejat and they become flat-mates. A tragic event prompts Susanne to travel to Istanbul to continue her daughter’s quest. As he grows closer to Susanne, Nejat feels the need to be reconciled with his father, who now lives in Turkey, by the Black Sea. He decides to go and look for him.

4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile
 
Director: Cristian Mungiu
Production: Romanian
Length: 113’
Year: 2007
Released in Belgium (distributor): 09/2007 (Imagine Film)
Original language: Romanian
Subtitles (for showings): French
Electronic subtitles (for showings): English
Projection format: Betacam digital (16:9)
Awards: Cannes 2007 - Palme d’or, Prix FIPRESCI, Prix de l’Education nationale
 
Synopsis
 
1987, a small town in Romania. Ceausescu is in power.
 
The scene is set in a girls’ dormitory, with exams in progress. Otilia, a blond, and Gabita, a brunette, are room mates. While one anxiously packs her suitcase, the other is combing the black market for soap and American cigarettes, precious commodities that will be needed to buy favours.
 
There is a tacit bond of complicity between the two girls. Together they prepare to face a daunting journey through a dehumanising world built on lies, denunciations and moral compromise. It is Otilia who will commit the ultimate act of selflessness, when she sacrifices herself to help her friend. This great story of friendship, told in thriller form, plunges us into the darkest years of a dying regime. The two girls’ will to survive embodies that of an entire nation.

Belle toujours
 
Director: Manoel de Oliveira
Co-production: Franco-Portuguese
Length: 70’
Year: 2006
Released in Belgium (distributor): 09/2007 (Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique)
Original language: French
Subtitles (for showings): English
Electronic subtitles (for showings): German
Projection format: Betacam digital (16:9)
 
Synopsis
 
After an interval of 38 years, two extraordinary characters from Luis Buñuel’s film Belle de jour revisit the mystery of a secret known only to the male character and desperately needed by the female protagonist.
 
Their paths cross again. She does everything to avoid him. But he is insistent and persuades her to see him again by promising to reveal the secret that only he knows. They agree to meet for dinner at a smart hotel.
 
Throughout the dinner she, now a widow, is expecting him to divulge what he really said to her husband, paralysed by a bullet fired by one of her lovers.
 
The atmosphere is tense...
 
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The jury for the LUX Prize: the 785 Members of the European Parliament

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The jury will be made up of the 785 Members of the European Parliament. All Members will be invited to view the competing films, and only those who have seen all three will be allowed to exercise their voting right.
 
There will be an attendance register at the door of the projection room. If a Member has already seen one of the films, s/he will be able to tick the relevant option and sign the register, and will then be exempted from watching the film again.
 
Voting will be electronic, via Inside, the European Parliament’s intranet site.
 
Voting will close at midnight on 18 October. The outcome will remain undisclosed until the LUX Prize is awarded in plenary sitting on 24 October in Strasbourg (France).
 
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The Prize and the award ceremony in plenary

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The LUX Prize will be awarded to the film that receives the most votes.
 
A trophy will be presented to the winner by the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, in the presence of the 784 other members of the Assembly and representatives of the three finalists.
 
The LUX Prize will consist of assistance in kind in the form of subtitling and video-to-film transfer (kinescopage) of the winning film in the 23 official EU languages. There will also be an original language adaptation for the deaf and hard of hearing.
 
If the winning film has already been sold for projection in cinemas in some countries and subtitled for the purpose, the nature of the prize (e.g. assistance with production of the DVD) will be determined by agreement between the European Parliament and the film’s appointed representatives.
 
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Showings of the three films

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Venue: European Parliament, Brussels (1040), ASP 3rd floor, Vox Box area
Dates: 1-18 October 2007
Room: 90 places. Disabled access.
Showings are free and open to MEPs, who have priority, and, subject to availability of seats, anyone else with an interest in cinema and authorised access to the European Parliament.
 
Each of the three finalists will be shown nine times, as it follows:
 
Auf der anderen Seite
4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile
Belle toujours
 
 
 
01-Oct
13.00
01-Oct
19.00
02-Oct
13.00
02-Oct
19.00
03-Oct
13.00
03-Oct
19.00
04-Oct
13.00
04-Oct
19.00
05-Oct
10.30
05-Oct
12.30
08-Oct
13.00
08-Oct
19.00
09-Oct
13.00
09-Oct
19.00
10-Oct
13.00
11-Oct
13.00
11-Oct
19.00
12-Oct
10.30
12-Oct
12.30
15-Oct
13.00
15-Oct
19.00
16-Oct
13.00
16-Oct
19.00
17-Oct
13.00
17-Oct
19.00
18-Oct
13.00
18-Oct
19.00
 
 
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European Parliament workshops for cultural diversity

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The showings will be closed by European Parliament workshops on cultural diversity which will be held in Brussels from 16 to 18 October.  The first edition will be devoted to cinema.  The new challenges following the enlargement of the European Union and the emergence of new technologies in the cinematographic industry will be on the agenda.
 
The programme approved by the Committee on Culture and Education will be put on-line.
 
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Visual identity of the LUX Prize

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European Parliament Cinema Prize

European Parliament Cinema Prize "Prix Lux"

LUX is the Latin word for light.
 
The concept underlying the logo of the LUX Prize is the Tower of Babel, the symbol (also used by the European Parliament) of multilingualism and cultural diversity united in a single place and with a single goal.
 
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