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Lux Prize for film involving Slovenian co-producer

Strasbourg, 27 November - God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya, a film by Teona Strugar Mitevska that also involves a Slovenian co-producer, has won the 2019 LUX Film Prize, presented by the European Parliament.

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya wins LUX Prize.
Photo: producer Vertigo/Slovenian Film Centre

The winner, selected by MEPs from among three finalists, was declared during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday by European Parliament President David Sassoli.

Addressing a press conference in Strasbourg, Mitevska welcomed the award as an an exceptional and rare opportunity for a North Macedonian film to hit so many European cinema theatres.

Apart from the winner, a co-production of North Macedonia, Belgium, Slovenia, Croatia and France, the other two finalists were Cold Case Hammarskjöld by Mads Brügger and The Realm by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.

Danijel Hočevar, the Slovenian co-producer of the film, said that apart from the prestige it involved, the prize also meant that the European Parliament had paid for translating and making DSP copies of the film in all European languages.

This will make it easier to distribute the film within the EU, Hočevar, the head of the production firm Vertigo, commented for the STA.

He said that the prize process itself, involving selection, nomination and the announcement of the winner, did a lot for making the film known, while the prize also helped its promotion outside the EU.

The prize "definitely also augurs well for the film in Slovenian cinema theatres, where it's due for general release in March," added Hočevar.

Asked about Slovenia's role in the film, he said that among other things, the film involved a Slovenian team of technicians and creatives, including costume designer Monika Lorber, makeup designer Mojca Gorogranc Petrushevska and assistant director Petra Trampuž Bocevska, among many others.

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya tells the story of a young unemployed woman who wins the race for the holy cross during the Orthodox ceremony of Epiphany. She suddenly has access to a religious tradition usually only open to men. The film is seen as a significant contribution to the feminist struggle against conservative societies.

The film won the prizes of the Ecumenical Jury and the jury for the German Film Guild at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival, among others.

European parliament President Sassoli termed the LUX Prize the European Parliament's tool in its endeavour to be able to communicate emotions and use new languages.

"Tackling the climate emergency, our colonial past, or discussing our model of society through cinema is a stimulating challenge that must be encouraged," said Sassoli, adding that Europe's is the only parliament in the world that awards a film prize.

© STA, 2019