EuroparlTV goes behind the scenes of this year’s award, which pays for the prize-winning film to be subtitled in all of the EU’s languages. We catch up with the finalists and the winning director who welcomes the opportunity to reach beyond audiences in j
The 2009 Lux Prize winner is 'Welcome', a French film. Thanks to this cinema prize, launched by the Parliament three years ago the film will be subtitled in all the EU's official languages. The prize goes to the best EU production dealing with a European theme. EuroparlTV looks at the 2009 Lux Prize. And the winner is 'Welcome' by Philippe Lioret. He walked 4000km to find her. He'll swim the channel. This French film tells the story of Simon, a swimming coach who secretly helps a young Kurdish refugee to swim across the English Channel. It's a film about human beings, an encounter between two men who are both in love with women and these love stories are thwarted. All this is set against the turmoil caused by immigration. In France the film shook the political class as it refers to a law condemning those helping illegal immigrants to 5 years in prison and a €30,000 fine. It concerned a change to this law so that helping illegal immigrants for profit would be punishable by 5 years in prison. This would only affect traffickers and networks not ordinary citizens who would have been convicted for being compassionate which is unacceptable. The amendment was rejected, but it was taken to the European Court of Justice. Mr Lioret hopes that the LUX Prize will add weight to the argument. The EP launched this cinema prize three years ago. To compete a film must focus on a European theme. An independent jury selected three finalists including 'Welcome'. The films were screened in a makeshift cinema in the EP. The jury was made of MEPs who had one, two or three votes depending on the number of films they had watched. The film is about a Turkish family that is attacked by neo-Nazis in Bulgaria. But you can easily imagine the film taking place in Paris and substituting the Turkish family for a Moroccan one. In the end it was the theme of immigration and aiding refugees that won. The prize aims to overcome the language barriers hampering distribution in the EU. Consequently, 'Welcome' will receive 87,000 euros, so it can be subtitled in the 23 official EU languages. and adapted for those with sight or hearing problems. Technical changes are costly for small countries and distributors, which helps to increase the dominance of US films. I'm very proud and delighted that 'Welcome' can be seen... in all the languages as a matter of course, and not just in English for countries where the film will only be watched by an elite that can read English. 23 languages or more as in the case of the 2007 winner 'Auf der anderen Seite'. A world first, to promote German culture the Goethe-Institut added languages like Chinese and the Turkish. The film's DVD has 30 language options.