CLOSE Wins LUX European Audience Film Award 2023

    Close" director Lukas Dhont (right) together with his co-author Angelo Tijssens receive the LUX Audience Award. Photo: Philippe Buissin (c) European Union 2023

    The European public and the members of the European Parliament have voted “Close” by Belgian director Lukas Dhont the winner of the LUX European Audience Film Award in a ceremony in the European Parliament’s hemicycle in Brussels. The film, co-produced by Belgium, France and Netherlands, tells the story of an intense friendship between two thirteen-year-old boys Leo and Remi. When their friendship is suddenly disrupted, Leo approaches Sophie, Remi’s mother, struggling to understand what has happened. “Close” is a film about friendship and responsibility.

    Lukas Dhont, accepting the award together with his co-author Angelo Tijssens, stated: “We stand by you as you. Discover who you are as you are. We think of you, we are hopeful and proud of you.”

    The other four films shortlisted for the award were: “Alcarràs” by Spanish director Carla Simón, “Burning Days” by Turkish director Emin Alper, “Will-o’-the-Wisp” by Portuguese director João Pedro Rodrigues and “Triangle of Sadness” by Swedish director Ruben Östlund. The nominated films were presented in over 500 screenings in various European Union countries subtitled in the 24 official languages of the EU. Now the votes have been counted.

    In a ceremony in front of a fully occupied plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium), Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, presented the award in front of the MEPs, invited partners and, representing the nominated films, the directors Carla Simón (ALCARRÀS), Emin Alper (BURNING DAYS), João Pedro Rodrigues (WILL-O’-THE-WISP) and Sunnyi Melles (TRIANGLE OF SADNESS).

    The winning film was chosen by combining a public vote and a vote by MEPs, with each weighted at 50%. The awards platform received around 45,000 ratings (reviews on a scale going from one to five stars) from European viewers and 360 from MEPs.

    The LUX Audience Award uniquely unites the votes of the European public and those of the Members of the European Parliament. It is presented by the European Film Academy and the European Parliament, and in partnership with the European Commission and Europa Cinemas.

    Director João Pedro Rodrigues (WILL-O’-THE-WISP), Evelyn Regner (VP European Parliament), director Carla Simón (ALCARRÀS), director Emin Alper (BURNING DAYS), Roberta Metsola (President European Parliament), actress Sunnyi Melles (TRIANGLE OF SADNESS), director Lukas Dhont (CLOSE) and Sabine Verheyen (Committee on Culture and Education). Photo: Jan van de Vel, (c) European Union 2023