Three shortlisted films for the European Parliament prize have been on seven week Europe-wide tour.

Felix Van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown has won the 2013 edition of the Lux Prize, established by the European Parliament in 2007 to spotlight films that deal with Europe-wide issues and support their distribution across the 28 EU member states. MEPs were asked to cast their vote among three films, whittled down by a panel of 16 European cinema professionals from a longlist of ten films. The runners-up were UK director Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, and Miele by Italian actress turned director Valeria Golino.

Around a third of MEPs actually vote, revealed Doris Pack, chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education and one of the original promoters of the award. “That’s not bad considering their busy schedules,” she added “and the fact that the rest of year they don’t generally see three films back to back with such heavy subjects”.

For one of the prize selectors, German critic and broadcaster Peter Paul Huth, “the value of our selection has been vindicated by the films’ reception since they were chosen  – Veerle Baetens’ Best Actress award at the EFAs for The Broken Circle Breakdown is just one example”.

Subtitled into 24 languages, the three shortlisted films have recently finished a seven-week Europe-wide distribution tour supported by the Lux Film Days initiative, now in its second year. Audiences were asked to vote a Public Mention for one of the three films, which will be announced when all ten longlisted films are screened at the Karlovy Vary festival in June 2014.

The prizegiving ceremony in Strasbourg was preceded by a panel on aspects of EU cinema policy which saw the three directors, MEPs and European cultural policy makers exchange views on the state of European arthouse film themes, distribution and audiences.

Oldrich Vlasak, vice-president of European parliament, observed that “we’re here to solve problems, and film is a way of conveying to a wider public some of the problems we deal with on a day to day basis”. For Xavier Troussard, head of the Unit for Creative Europe, “it’s important avoid a situation where European audiences learn only about the US judicial system and the social reality of American urban ghettoes”.