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French film "Welcome" wins European Parliament 2009 LUX Prize

It was announced today in Strasbourg that this year's European Parliament LUX Film Prize has been won by the film "Welcome" by the French director Philippe Lioret. This film received the majority of EP members' votes.

The film is set in Calais, France, and shows a swimming instructor who chooses to help out a young Kurdish refugee who needs to swim across the English Channel to join his girlfriend who has already emigrated to England along with her family.

This year's LUX Prize, worth about €87,000, will finance the subtitling of the winning film in all the 23 European Union's official languages, including the adaptation of the original version for visually- or hearing-impaired people, and, for each EU member state, the production of a 35-mm print or a contribution to the DVD release. In this way Parliament aims to help break down language barriers that too often hinder the circulation of films throughout Europe. It also contributes to raise societal issues which are at the very heart of the European public debate − in the case of "Welcome", immigration and fundamental freedoms.

During the award ceremony EP President Jerzy Buzek said:

The LUX Prize is a young and forward-looking initiative, and one of which Parliament expects much. We want the medium of film to spark debate on subjects that attract public attention in the EU Member States, and give rise to questions that can be of relevance to us all, questions that are also relevant to this Parliament.

This year’s winner meets that challenge in its own particular way. Philippe Lioret’s ‘Welcome’ takes us into the world of immigrants in Europe and their hopes for a better future. This is an issue both important and relevant to society, one to which we cannot remain indifferent.

The LUX Prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament for fiction or animation films illustrating or questioning the founding values of European identity, revealing Europe’s cultural diversity or providing insights into the EU integration debate. This year's finalists, along with Welcome, were Eastern Plays by Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria, Sweden) and Sturm by Hans-Christian Schmid (Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands).

More information about the LUX Prize

Cineuropa on the LUX Prize

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