"The European Parliament projecting cultural diversity across Europe": European Quality Films and the Lux Prize

Stefano Baschiera, Francesco Di Chiara

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The purpose of this article is to engage with the question of quality cinematic productions in European film industry by looking at the Lux Prize and its attempts to frame and promote a transnational cultural heritage and values. In fact, the Lux Prize, created in 2007 by the European Parliament, promotes the circulation of a selection of European quality films, which have distinguished themselves for their artistic merits and for addressing a series of European issues from the "diversity of European traditions" to the process of European integration.
As such, we argue that the prize reinforces the tension between the opposite goals of the promotion of European cultural diversity and the creation of a single market that has marked the European audiovisual policy since the early 1990s. On the one hand, the Lux Prize aims at shaping the audience perception of cultural/social themes through the use of a 'pedagogical kit' for the selected films, illustrating in 24 different EU languages the films' contents and the social issues represented. On the other hand, the Lux Prize aims at enhancing the transnational circulation of European films, as the selected products are subtitled in all of the 24 languages and are theatrically released all over the Union with the financial support of the European Parliament. With this paper we aim to look at the role of the Lux Prize as an intended tool for transnational audience building through a comparative analyses of the films awarded. Using data made available from the European Audiovisual Observatory and by the National Film Agencies, we will analyse its first decade of activity, underlying how the scope of the prize has evolved, and framing it within other supranational programmes supporting the circulation of European cinema, such as the MEDIA/Creative Europe or Eurimages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-254
Number of pages20
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Issue number2-3
Early online date04 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Cultural pluralism -- Europe
  • European Parliament
  • European audiovisual policies
  • European cinema
  • Film festival
  • Lux Price
  • Motion picture industry -- Awards
  • Motion pictures -- Europe
  • Transnational films
  • film distribution


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