Venice kicks things off for Early Winter… and the LUX FILM DAYS

Venice kicks things off for Early Winter… and the LUX FILM DAYS

The European winter is now synonymous with the celebration of cinema: as usual, the LUX FILM DAYS will take the three LUX Prize finalist films all around the continent by screening them at festivals, special events and in movie theatres. And the Venice Film Festival has expressed a wish for that winter to come a little earlier this year… kind of.


Indeed, the Venice Days Award has gone to the Australian-Canadian co-production Early Winter. The official jury, comprising those taking part in the European Parliament’s 28 Times Cinema programme and chaired by director Laurent Cantet (who won the award last year with Return to Ithaca), awarded the Venice Days Award, within the official selection, to the film by Australian-born Mexican-based Michael Rowe, admiring its “accomplished execution, the originality of the depiction of the ordinary life and a very confident mise-en-scène”, in addition to the “strong performance of the actors”. The prize consists of a financial contribution of €20,000, split equally between the director and the film’s international sales agent (Pyramide International).


In addition to their role of Jurors, the 28 Times Cinema members were discussing the films in competition for the European Parliament LUX FILM PRIZE, to get ready to act as “Ambassadors’” for the upcoming  LUX FILM DAYS. Before travelling to the 28 European Union countries, Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang and Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s The Lesson were shown to the 28 on the Lido. The screenings were followed by a meeting with Mediterranea director Carpignano and actors Koudos Seihon and Alassane Sy, Mustang actress Elit Işcan, and The Lesson actress Margita Gosheva, so that they could share their views on what it means to them to be part of the LUX Prize. The Trieste Film Festival’s Nicoletta Romeo moderated the panel (check out the picture gallery here).


The Villa degli Autori also held a conference with chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education Silvia Costa, LUX Prize coordinator Doris Pack, Cult MEP Petra Kammerevert, and vice-chair of the delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Cécile Kyenge. The young 28 Times Cinema jurors had the opportunity to talk to the MEPs about cinema and its capacity to engage people in a meaningful dialogue, and even be used as a tool for cultural diplomacy. This dialogue was as profound as those initiated by these three LUX Prize finalists, as they explore moral issues that question our beliefs, violence and religious fundamentalism (often used against women), and different perspectives on immigration.


And immigration has been one of the topical subject in every meeting and in particular in a panel on  cinema and migration, which saw the participation of Carpignano, Italian filmmaker and 2011 LUX Prize winner Andrea Segre – who presented his new documentary, Dreams of the Salt Lake, in the Venice Days – and Algerian filmmaker Merzak Allouache.


All in all, it was a very socially engaged edition of the Venice Days, fuelled by the LUX Prize, which showed how much cinema can improve our understanding of what surrounds us.