Today, at the Venice Days press conference, the First Vice-President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the President of the Committee on Culture and Education, Silvia Costa, announced the three films selected to contend for the 2015 LUX Film Prize: "Mediterranea" by Jonas Carpignano, "Mustang" by Deniz Gamze, and "Urok" ("The Lesson") by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov.
The three competing films will tour from Venice to all 28 EU member states between October and December, and based on a vote by the Members of the European Parliament, one of these three finalists will, on November 25, be awarded with the ninth edition of the LUX Prize. The winning film will receive promotional support during its international release.
The LUX Prize was established in 2007 as a symbol of the European Parliament’s commitment to the European film industry and its endeavors, casting an annual spotlight on films that "explore and question European shared values… and address cross-border concerns such as immigration, justice, solidarity, public freedoms and fundamentals rights."
The Official Competition this year consists of three debut features by four directors who have addressed relevant topical issues in Europe while demonstrating exceptional cinematic skill. Of note to this blog is Jonas Carpignano’s much-anticipated feature film debut "Mediterranea," which made its world premiere at the La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week) – a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival that focuses on discovering new talents – earlier this year. The timely film follows a young Burkinabe man who leaves his native Burkina Faso in search of a better life, making the perilous journey to Italy, only to find he’s unprepared for the intolerance facing immigrants in that country.
Carpignano’s feature debut assesses the very fragile and topical issue of Mediterranean crossings by immigrants seeking freedom and safety.
The 30-year-old filmmaker, with a mother originally from Barbados and an Italian father, Carpignano has spent his life between New York and Italy. He broached familiar territory in his multiple award winning short film entitled "A Chjàna," 3 years ago. His latest short film, "A Ciambra," also won the Discovery Award at the 53rd Critics’ Week at Cannes. Carpignano also participated in the Sundance Writers & Directors Lab in 2012 and was awarded the Mahindra / Sundance GFA Award.
He’s definitely a filmmaker you should know.
As for the other 2 films shortlisted for the LUX Prize, "Mustang" is a story about the imprisonment of young girls by a society under the thumb of men still very much under the influence of local traditions; and "Urok focuses on how economic adversity can shatter a comfortable existence.
Viewers from all around Europe will have a chance to participate by voting for one of the three films in competition. The winner will receive the Audience Mention Award for the 2015 LUX Film Prize. Additionally, one of the voters will be chosen at random and rewarded with an invitation to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2016 to personally announce the Audience Mention winner.
Watch a clip from "Mediterranea" below: