Philippe Lioret’s Welcome has won the 2009 European Parliament LUX Film Prize, receiving the majority of European Parliament members’ votes.
Worth around $131,000 (€87,000), the prize will finance the subtitling of the film in all 23 of the European Union’s official languages, including the adaptation of the original version for visually- or hearing-impaired people, and the production of a 35-mm print or a contribution to the DVD release for each EU member state.
Set in Calais, France, Welcome tells the story of a swimming instructor who chooses to help out a young Kurdish refugee who needs to swim across the English Channel to join his girlfriend. It is produced by Christophe Rossignon of France’s Nord-Ouest Productions.
“The LUX Prize is a young and forward-looking initiative, and one of which Parliament expects much,” said European president Jerzy Buzek. “We want the medium of film to spark debate on subjects that attract public attention in the EU Member States, and give rise to questions that can be of relevance to us all, questions that are also relevant to this Parliament.”
The LUX Prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament for fiction or animation films illustrating or questioning the founding values of European identity, revealing Europe’s cultural diversity or providing insights into the EU integration debate. This year’s finalists, along with Welcome, were Kamen Kalev’s Eastern Plays (Bulg-Swe) and Hans Christian-Schmid’s Sturm (Ger-Den-Neth).