Another Round, Collective and Corpus Christi to vie for the LUX Audience Award 2021

The three finalists were announced during the European Film Awards virtual ceremony on 12 December

The three films competing for the newly rebranded LUX Audience Award have been unveiled during the Grand Finale virtual ceremony of the 2020 European Films Awards, live-streamed from Berlin (see the news). The event was presented by German TV host Steven Gätjen, who revealed the three nominated titles. The wait is finally over: the movies are Another Round by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark/Sweden/Netherlands), Collective by Alexander Nanau (Romania/Luxembourg) and Corpus Christi by Jan Komasa (Poland/France). The ceremony was hosted by Marion Döring, director of the European Film Academy; Mike Downey, chairman of the EFA; and Agnieszka Holland and Wim Wenders, respectively the newly elected and former president of the Academy.

The three films competing for the pan-European audience award, presented jointly by the European Parliament (EP) and the European Film Academy, in partnership with the European Commission and the Europa Cinemas network, demonstrate a clear intention to reach a broader audience while remaining true to the original values and essence of the award: celebrating European cinema while shining a spotlight on films that reflect the reality and the different challenges faced today by citizens across the EU member states.

Another Round, a Danish-Swedish-Dutch co-production directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen, revolves around a group of high-school teachers trying to keep themselves constantly inebriated, inspired by the theory of Norwegian psychologist Finn Skårderud, who claimed that humans are born with a blood-alcohol- level shortfall. This playful concept hides a much more profound meaning about self-discovery and the celebration of life’s ups and downs. The film was awarded the Cannes 2020 Official Selection label and had its physical world premiere at the San Sebastián Film Festival earlier this year, before being selected as the Danish submission for the Oscars.

Alexander Nanau’s new documentary, Collective, explores corruption in the Romanian healthcare system following a dramatic event that took place at the Collective nightclub in Bucharest in 2015. The German-based, Romanian-born director, whose previous film Toto and His Sisters was part of the LUX Prize Official Selection in 2015, follows the investigation by a group of local journalists who expose a rotten system built upon fraud and nepotism, highlighting the efforts of mindful and determined citizens working for the common good. The film premiered Out of Competition at Venice last year, and it was submitted to represent Romania at the Academy Awards after a successful festival run.

Rounding off the shortlist, we find Corpus Christi by Polish filmmaker Jan Komasa. Presented in Venice’s Giornate degli Autori in 2019, the Polish-French co-production about a 20-year-old man who experiences a spiritual calling while living in a youth detention centre became one of the finalists for Best International Film at the Oscars this year. The story, based on real events, follows the main character as he starts posing as a priest in the Polish countryside. Komasa explores power dynamics, social clashes and the theme of forgiveness, all supported by the exceptional performance of Bartosz Bielenia in the lead role.

The three nominated films, selected by a panel of 20 professionals drawn from the European film industry (including filmmakers, critics, festival directors, distributors and exhibitors), with the EFA’s chairman Mike Downey as honorary president, showcase once again the variety and richness of European cinema, while questioning different social issues, human behaviours and political stances. In future editions, the number of finalists will go up to five, but owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film market, there will only be a total of three movies in the running for the award this year. As LUX finalists, they will all be subtitled into the 24 languages of the EU, in order to support their circulation and help them overcome language and distribution barriers.

After today’s announcement at the EFAs, the Watch & Vote period will officially kick off on 13 December, when audiences throughout Europe will be able to cast their votes by rating the nominated films (on a five- star scale) on the LUX Award website until 23 May 2021. During this time, an online search on will also be available, providing information on where to watch the finalists in the different member states (including cinemas, VoD platforms, commercial screenings or events organised by the EP and other partners). As of mid- February/March, the LUX Film Days and the internal voting of the European Parliament will also begin, allowing MEPs to vote for the nominated films through an internal platform. During the LUX Audience week in March, simultaneous screenings of the three titles will be held across Europe, boosting the visibility of the nominees.

The winner of the LUX Audience Award will be jointly selected based on the votes from the public and the MEPs (with each of them representing 50%). The award will eventually be given out at the European Parliament during the LUX Award Ceremony on 9 June 2021, although the format of the event is yet to be confirmed, subject to the global health situation. The winning title will be further adapted for those with visual and hearing impairments, and will also receive promotional support during its worldwide release.

Jesús Silva