The LUX Prize goes to Sámi Blood

Actresses Mia Sparrok (left) and Lene Cecilia Sparrok, and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani during the presentation of the 2017 LUX Prize

Amanda Kernell’s coming-of-age tale has been voted the winner of the prize by the Members of the European Parliament

The European Parliament unveiled the winner of the 2017 LUX Prize at noon today in Strasbourg. Amanda Kernell’s Sámi Blood, a touching and delicate tale of a young Sámi girl who dreams of a different life, has triumphed over its competitors BPM (Beats Per Minute) by Robin Campillo and Western by Valeska Grisebach.

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, who presented the award, stated, “This year, the finalists were three films that tackle the themes that we face every day here at the Parliament. The LUX Prize aims to defend European cultural identity, as well as the European film industry, which represents a large sector of the European economy, and which involves a lot of professionals and companies. The prize deserves to be supported and fought for because we cannot accept a loss of competitiveness in this industry owing to its use of languages that are certainly not as well known as English, especially because of the high quality of the work that is being done nowadays. Beyond the political issues and ideologies, the European Parliament will always be there to support film professionals, because we believe in you and your work.”

Sámi actresses Lene Cecilia Sparrok and Mia Sparrok, who play the lead roles in Kernell’s film, collected the prize, after which they delivered a statement about their people. “We are still here; we still exist. Every day, our people see the effects of colonial and racist thinking, as well as climate change. A huge wind farm is going to be built in Norway, in the southern Sámi area, which is going to affect us profoundly. The UN claims our language is almost extinct. Receiving this award feels like retribution for the older generations of Sámi people who have been treated as lesser citizens – and we hope the European Union brings an end to this so that we can all stop thinking in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’,” said the former.

The film, a co-production between Sweden, Denmark and Norway, involving Nordisk Film Production Sverige, Bautafilm, Digipilot, Nordisk Film Production A/S and Sveriges Television, as well as LevelK as the international sales agent, was presented in last year’s Giornate degli Autori at the Venice Film Festival, where it took home the Europa Cinemas Label.

After the live-streamed ceremony, a press seminar will gather together film journalists, professionals and representatives of the European Parliament to discuss one of the main issues that the LUX Prize addresses: the current situation of the Continent’s audiovisual content and industry (read more).