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European Parliament Film Prize unveils at Mostra the 3 nominees: Eastern Plays, Sturm and Welcome

Today, under the auspices of the 66th Mostra, the European Parliament unveiled the three contending films for the LUX Prize

2009: Eastern Plays (Kamen Kalev), Sturm (Hans-Christian Schmid) and Welcome (Philippe Lioret) will compete for the film prize that has been awarded by the European Parliament to a European co-production for the last two years.

For the winner, the LUX Prize 2009 (lux is the Latin word for light), worth about 87,000 Euros, will finance subtitling in the EU's 23 official languages, including the

adaptation of the original version for visually- or hearing-impaired people, and, for each EU's member state, the production of a 35-mm print or a contribution to the DVD release.

The LUX Prize is a tangible symbol of the support brought by the European Parliament to foster the circulation of films within the European Union.


Three Films at the Heart of the European Public Debate

Eastern Plays, Sturm and Welcome are part of the 2009 LUX Prize Official Selection (see appendix 2) unveiled on June 12 in partnership with the Brussels European Film Festival.


These three films shed light on issues that are at the very heart of the European public debate: fundamental rights, public freedoms, justice, solidarity, immigration.


For Doris Pack, President of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, «there is no European conscience neither emotion nor European identity, if we don't keep in mind the specific histories of each country, that is to say if we don't watch European films in order to discover the soul of Europe».

According to Kamen Kalev, director of Eastern Plays, «Neo nazi movements are not more present in Bulgaria than in other European countries. Intolerance is not exclusive to a single country, nor does it belong only to right-wing political forces. All politicians have the same responsibility -to help people outgrow their prejudices and learn to live together.»

Hans-Christian Schmid, director of Sturm, told that «one of the main reasons for me for making and also watching films in cinema is that they can tell an audience how diverse our lives in different countries and circumstances can be. I am very interested in seeing how individuals get along in diverging societies, when they are confronted with all kinds of social and economic changes. I like to be part of their - sometimes poetic and sometimes very real - lives and fates, and how they are told by filmmakers all over the world. Films need to travel and the LUX Prize can help a great deal to make these films be seen and understood all over Europe. What more could one ask for? »


Emmanuel Courcol, co-scriptwriter, with Philippe Lioret, of Welcome, reminded us «when a love story bumps into geography, human law and the absurd world order. The Amsterdam Treaty aimed at establishing an "area of freedom, security and justice" for Europeans. The selection of Welcome by the LUX Prize is an encouraging sign. We see this as a sign of support for the values which the film defends - commitment, solidarity and open-mindedness - against all attempts to go backwards.»

At last Fatih Akin and Klaus Maeck, respectively director and co-producer of Auf der anderen Seite, winner of the LUX Prize 2007, stated that "the LUX Prize is the most innovative award for European cinema. The sponsored subtitles enabling the laureate to present his film all around Europe is a great idea, and the election process draws attention to foreign productions from babylonic Europe which otherwise would have remained unknown. Hopefully the European Parliament will continue to promote our diverse and rich cinematographic culture through the LUX Prize».

LUX Prize 2009: Key Dates of the Competition

The LUX Prize 2009 laureate will be designated after the screening of the three competing films in the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels (Nov. 3-20) and the vote cast by all 736 Members of the European Parliament (Nov. 24). On November 25, the LUX Prize 2009 will be awarded in the European Parliament's hemicycle in Strasbourg by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament. Auf der anderen Seite (by Fatih Akin, 2007) and Le Silence de Lorna (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2008) were the first two LUX Prize winners.

Three Films at the Heart of the European Public Debate

The three contending films for the lux prize 2009


Director: Kamen Kalev

Country: Bulgaria, Sweden

Year: 2009

Running time: 89 min.

Original languages: Bulgarian, Turkish, English


Two brothers who have lost all contact are suddenly brought together when they have opposite roles in a racist beating: while Georgi who's recently joined a neonazi group participates in the violence, Itso witnesses and rescues the Turkish family. Georgi, now being asked to participate in larger events, starts to question his implication in the movement and Itso wonders if the beautiful Turkish girl he saved could be his ticket out from his sad life in Sofia. Only by reuniting will the two brothers be able to assess what they really want from life.

STURM : Hans-Christian Schmid
Director: Hans-Christian Schmid
Country: Germany, Denmark, Netherlands
Year: 2009
Running time: 110 min.
Original languages: English, German, Bosnian, Serbian


Hannah Maynard, a prosecutor at The Tribunal in The Hague manages to convince a young Bosnian woman to testify against an alleged war criminal. Amidst the inconsistency of political interests and threats coming from Bosnian Serb nationalists, she realizes that her opponents not only sit on the dock across from her, but are also found in her own ranks. Hannah faces the trial of her life, all of a sudden torn between her strong beliefs in the system and her loyalty towards the witness.

WELCOME: Philippe Lioret

Director: Philippe Lioret

Country: France

Year: 2009

Running time: 110 min.

Original languages: French, Kurdish, English


Simon works as an instructor and lifeguard at the Calais swimming pool. To impress his wife and win her back, he decides to take a big risk, when he secretly helps out a young Kurdish refugee who wants to swim across the English channel.

The LUX Prize 2009 Official Selection

The three contending films have been chosen by the same panel who had previously determined the LUX Prize 2009 Official Selection.


• 35 RHUMS - Claire Denis

• ANDER - Roberto Castón

• EASTERN PLAYS - Kamen Kalev


• KATALIN VARGA - Peter Strickland

• LOST PERSONS AREA - Caroline Strubbe

• NORD - Rune Denstad Langlo

• PANDORA'S BOX - Yesim Ustaoglu

• STURM - Hans-Christian Schmid

• WELCOME - Philippe Lioret


Every year, the LUX Prize Official Selection includes ten films which meet the following requirements:


  • Fiction or animation films;
  • Minimum running time of 60 minutes;
  • Illustrating or questioning the founding values of our European identity, Europe's cultural

  diversity and/or bringing insights into the debate on the EU integration process;

  • Produced or co-produced in countries eligible under the MEDIA 2007 programme

  (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland);

  • First theatre release between 1 June 2008 and 31 May 2009.


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