Written by Conall Devaney
The LUX Prize 2014 was today awarded to ‘Ida’ directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, succeeding last year’s winner, ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ by Felix van Groeningen. The vote among MEPs between the three shortlisted films concluded yesterday, with the prize awarded during the European Parliament’s monthly plenary session in Strasbourg.
The LUX Prize was established by the European Parliament in 2007 with the aim of promoting the European film industry. To this end, it is not just the winning film that benefits, but all three of the productions shortlisted. The Parliament provides the three films with subtitles in all 24 official languages of the EU thus enabling them to reach a much wider audience than would otherwise be possible. The screenings take place during the so called LUX Film Days.
The idea behind the initiative is to spotlight film productions that tackle some of the key political and social issues in Europe today. The Parliament views cinema as an ideal medium for reaching a wider European audience and thereby stimulating EU-wide debate on important issues.
The publicity gained through the award process alone helps the films enormously, opening them up to a pan-European audience which would have been unattainable had they remained within the country of production.
The LUX Prize also sheds light on many of the problems facing the European film industry – read the briefing from EPRS to learn more on these. Besides the obvious language barrier (which the LUX Prize initiative seeks to overcome) the European film industry faces many challenges, particularly when faced with competition from Hollywood. In its 2014 Communication on the European film in the digital era Bridging cultural diversity and competitiveness, the European Commission highlighted a lack of financing, a limited attention to distribution and promotion, and the lack of cross-border cooperation and international projects as contributing to the European film industry’s difficulties.
While the LUX Prize in itself does not answer these problems it goes some way to providing much needed publicity to the European industry.