Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 Lux Prize Official Selection Update

Yesterday morning during the press conference presenting the Giornati degli Autori selection, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, announced the three (3) finalists films for the current edition of this award.

Seems the 2017 edition could be another year where everyone prediction will win as seems BPM has become a favorite among critic's and audiences, so perhaps will also be honored with more prestigious awards like this one.  Yes, Robin Campillo's Beats Per Minute is a finalist along with Amanda Kernell's Sami Blood and Valeska Grisebach's Western.

The three films in the Official Competition showcase the LUX Film Prize's desire to embrace an unpredictable variety of genre and tones like never before:

-Robin Campillo's third film follows a group of Act Up activists who fight to lend the AIDS problem more visibility in 1992 France and encourage faster progress to be made in terms of research and prevention.

-Amanda Kernell's debut feature tells the vibrant tale of a young Lapp girl who dreams of a different life and distances herself from her community with great anguish because of the racist attitudes they have to face.

-Valeska Grisebach's third feature injects a story about German workers on a construction site for a hydroelectric power station in Bulgaria with ingredients from the cowboys-and-Indians classics, addressing the issues of economic immigration and integration.

120 Battements par minute (BPM 120 Beats Per Minute), Robin Campillo, France
Sameblod (Sami Blood), Amanda Kernell, Sweden, Denmark and Norway
Western, Valeska Grisebach, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria

The 3 finalists will be subtitled in the 24 official languages of the European Union, while the winning film, voted for by the Members of the European Parliament, will be further adapted for visually and hearing impaired. The winner will also receive promotional support during its international release.

During the Lux Film Days period, all 751 members of the European Parliament will be invited to vote for one of three films in competition. On November15th, the winner of the Lux Film Prize will be announced at the formal sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in the presence of the directors.

This year, 28 Times Cinema, another outcome of the fruitful partnership between the European Parliament Lux Film Prize and Giornate degli Autori, kicks off for the eighth time. Thanks to the collaboration with Europa Cinemas and Cineuropa, 28 young cinephiles aged 18 to 26 will get the chance to act as the jury for the Giornate degli Autori Award. Additionally, the group will be totally immersed in the Lux Film Prize experience, discussing the 3 films of the Official Competition. This special event is ample preparation for their role as Lux Film Prize ambassadors - when presenting, the 6th edition of the Lux Film Days in their respective countries.


Today at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Helga Trüpel, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, Martina Dlabajova, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control, Bogdan Wenta, Member of the Committee on Culture and Education and and Doris Pack, Lux Film Prize Coordinator announced the ten (10) films that the selection panel chose to shine a spotlight on the diversity of European cinema and its importance in building social and cultural values.

After last year's successful edition, which market the 10th anniversary of the initiative, the prize continues embracing an unpredictable variety of genres and tones from all over Europe and among the films in the selection we fin three (3) thematic focuses which perfectly mirror what Europe and Europeans are going through at the moment.

First there is a batch of coming-of-age stories, about young characters opening their eyes to what surrounds them in order to understand reality and the societies and communities they belong to, stand out in the official selection.  Then there are those that talk about communities, global communities, by social engaged films that tackle timely topics in both heartfelt and intelligent ways, with touches of genre and even comedy.  Last, movies addresses the current post-truth era that we live in, partly defined by information overload and continuous communication, as well as social and political extremism's, bordering on the absurd. Two of the films are absolutely crucial in portraying this modern socio-political absurdity.

These are the films in the 2017 Selection.  Included -if applicable- festival where film was premiered and if won awards.

120 Battements par minute (BPM 120 Beats Per Minute), Robin Campillo, France (Cannes 2017 - Grand Prix, FIPRESCI, François Chalais, and Queer Palm winner)
A Ciambra, Jonas Carpignano, Italy, Brazil, USA, France, Germany and Sweden (Cannes 2017 - Label Europa Cinemas winner)
Estiu 1993 (Summer 1993), Carla Simón, Spain (Berlinale 2017 - Grand Prix Kplus winner and Best First Feature Award winner)
Hjartasteinn (Heartstone), Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Iceland and Denmark (Biennale 2016 - Queer Lion winner)
King of the Belgians, Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens, Belgium, Netherlands and Bulgaria (Biennale 2016)
Ostatnia rodzina (The Last Family), Jan P Matuszyński, Poland (Locarno 2016 - Best Actor winner)
Sameblod (Sami Blood), Amanda Kernell, Sweden, Denmark and Norway (Biennale 2016 - Label Europa Cinemas winner)
Slava (Glory) Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, Bulgaria and Greece (Locarno 2016)
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope), Aki Kaurismäki, Finland and Germany (Berlinale 2017 - Silver Bear Best Director winner)
Western, Valeska Grisebach, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria (Cannes 2017)

 As we can see above, all 10 films premiered at film festivals and out of the 10, eight (8) won awards.  There is no doubt about the quality of the films in the selection and obviously all films are already known to those that read the blog.  My crystal ball gives good chances to that film produced with French money only as believe is the film to beat in the many awards from the European -and perhaps also American- awards season. Alright, the name is BPM.

Worth mentioning is the fact that there are five (5) female directors out of the eleven (11) directors in the selection; also, four (4) films are a first feature.  Then, among the selection there is only one master filmmaker, Aki Kaurismäki which assume is great news to the young generation.

Also today at Karlovy Vary was announced that last year Lux Prize winner Toni Erdmann also won the Audience Mention award voted by audiences across Europe.

From the 10 films in the Official Selection, 3 entries will be selected and announced at the Venice Days press conference in Rome at the end of July 2017 as those taking part in the LUX Film Prize Competition. These films will compete to be the winner of the 2017 LUX Film Prize, and will become the core of the 2017 LUX Film Days.

In order to support the European film industry and help the most significant European productions and co-productions to circulate beyond their national market, the European Parliament LUX Film Prize subtitles the 3 competing films into the 24 official languages of the European Union and screens them in all 28 EU countries during the LUX Film Days. In doing so, the European Parliament supports cultural diversity, as it brings films to audiences across Europe and encourages debate on the issues they raise.

The 2017 LUX Film Prize winner will be awarded on 15 November in Strasbourg. The winning film will also be made available for the visually and hearing-impaired, and promoted by the European Parliament.

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