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Lux Prize 2017 winner “Sámi Blood”

Sami Blood has won this year’s Lux Film Prize. Read our interview with the actress playing a determined Sami girl fighting prejudice in order to become a teacher.

Sami Blood is the story of Elle Marja, a Sami girl living in the north of Sweden in the 1930s, who decides to break away from her family and study to become a teacher instead of herding reindeer. At the time Sami were expected to go to special schools reserved for them and not get the same education as the rest of the Swedish population.

The story of the courageous girl’s fight to overcome prejudice and institutionalised discrimination against the indigenous Sami people has been awarded Parliament’s 2017 Lux Film Prize. The winner was announced during a ceremony in the plenary chamber in Strasbourg on 14 November.

Lene Cecilia Sparrok, who played Elle Marja in Sami Blood attended the ceremony together with her sister Mia Erika Sparrok, who played Njenna in the film. Commenting on the difficult choices facing her character in the film, Lene Cecilia Sparrok said: “Just the idea of leaving the Sami society behind, leaving my little sister behind, personally I would have never done this. To leave the Sami traditions behind I would never be able to do it.”

Receiving the Lux Prize in plenary she also highlighted the importance of the film for the Sami cause “Receiving this award is like a reparation and retribution of the older generation of Sami that have been treated like lesser, less valuable and less intelligent.”

Afterwards Sparrok said: “The world must know how they treated us, the Sami people. What hurts a lot is that it really took place. The film was actually rather mild. The reality was more extreme.” Watch the rest of the interview in our video above.

Your own Lux Prize

MEPs may have picked their winner, but the story is far from over. Sami Blood and the other two finalists that were competing for the prize – BPM (Beats per minute)  and Western – are still being screened in cinemas across Europe thanks to the Lux Film Days.

You also enjoy the opportunity to choose your favourite, which could lead to you being selected to announce the winner of the Public Mention Prize at the international film festival in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic next year.

Supporting European cinema

Over the last eleven years the Lux Prize has contributed to the promotion of dozens of European films. It does so among others by paying the costs of subtitling in the EU’s 24 languages for each of the three films on the final shortlist. In addition the winning film is adapted for the visually and hearing impaired and receives support for international promotion.

During the award ceremony on 14 November, Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “The Lux Prize is at the forefront of promoting our fundamental values such as tolerance, solidarity and protection of diversity, while at the same time promoting European citizenship and the right of freedom of expression.”

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