Die Fremde (When We Leave) declared winner of the 2010 LUX Prize
The 2010 LUX Prize went to the film Die Fremde (When we leave) depicting the struggle of a young Turkish woman living in Germany and her attempt to build a life outside the cultural norms of her community. The film partly deals with honour killings. The winning director, Feo Aladag, who wrote, directed and produced the film, was the first woman to compete for the prize.
The EP President Jerzy Buzek announced the winner in a special ceremony on Wednesday 24 November. Before opening the envelope with the winning name, he thanked the directors of the three competing films for dealing “in a very sensitive way” with the issue of individual and group identity. He said this question is crucial to Europe. “If we want to create a true European demos, we have to be able to truly understand each other. What better way than through culture, art, music and, of course, films?” He said films mirror society and, as such, can bring a deeper understanding of what it means to be a European in a united continent which embraces “our many identities –local, regional, national and European”.
Receiving the prize, Mrs Aladag thanked the Parliament for the great honour and said the LUX Prize “is an essential bridge between national identities”.
She said her principal interest is to make films about human relationships. With her stories, she wants to highlight the importance “of grasping every opportunity to reach out to each other”.Europe is a multicultural society that “can no longer rest on promoting consensus but must rather find new ways of dealing with arising divergence”. Die Fremde is about “overcoming intolerance”. The story condemns nobody. The audience feels empathy for all the characters trapped in this conflict.
Doris Pack, the head of the Parliament’s culture and education committee, said at the press conference after the award ceremony that the film Die Fremde had affected her. She said many of her colleagues had told her that it had “opened their eyes” about the problem of honour killings.
Die Fremde’s lead actress Sibel Kekilli was at the ceremony, as were the directors of the two other films shortlisted for this year's prize: Filippos Tsitos who directed Akadimia Platonos and Olivier Masset-Depasse who directed Illégal.
The LUX Prize is worth some €90,000. The money goes to subtitle the winning film in all official EU languages, adapt the original version for visually- or hearing-impaired people and produce a 35 mm print for each EU Member State for the DVD release. Mrs Aladag said the prize would now ensure that her film can cross Europe’s language borders.
Feo Aladag began her career as an actress appearing in numerous acclaimed film and television productions. She is also a successful scriptwriter. She decided to make her debut film, Die Fremde, after doing some film work on violence against women for Amnesty International. She said through the film she tries to show that society needs to have an open dialogue with its minorities and reach out without condemning or stereotyping them.
Die Fremde is also running for the 2011 Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film.
The European Parliament started the LUX Prize in 2007 showing its commitment to the European film industry. Since then, it casts an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of the European public debate. Today it is a quality label backing European film productions. Past winning films have become hits within the EU and beyond.