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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Europe / Latin America

İlker Çatak’s The Teachersʼ Lounge wins the Latin American Critics’ Award for European Films


- The first edition of the prize, presented by European Film Promotion in collaboration with the Guadalajara International Film Festival, aims to highlight European cinema in Latin America

İlker Çatak’s The Teachersʼ Lounge wins the Latin American Critics’ Award for European Films
The Teachersʼ Lounge by İlker Çatak

After the European Parliament's LUX Audience Award (see the news), İlker Çatak’s The Teachersʼ Lounge [+see also:
film review
interview: İlker Çatak
interview: Leonie Benesch
film profile
has won the first Latin American Critics’ Award for European Films, organised by European Film Promotion (EFP).

The announcement was made on the evening of 9 June during the Guadalajara International Film Festival, which runs until 15 June. Although director İlker Çatak was unable to attend, owing to commitments on his current film project, he expressed his gratitude in a heartfelt message: “It’s a great honour and a great pleasure to have received this award. I am very happy that the film is screening in Guadalajara, and I hope that it will hit theatres very soon in Latin America.”

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The Teachers’ Lounge tells the story of Carla Nowack, portrayed by Leonie Benesch (a European Shooting Star in 2023), a young and idealistic teacher navigating the challenges of her first job. The film delves into societal and behavioural issues outside the classroom, addressing themes such as prejudice, racism, disinformation, and surveillance. Co-written by Çatak and Johannes Duncker, the drama premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section and has since garnered multiple accolades, including five German Film Awards and the Europa Cinemas Label for Best European Film at the Berlinale. Produced by if… productions and sold internationally by Be For Films, the film was also Germany's entry and one of the five nominees for the Academy Awards in the Best International Feature Film category.

EFP managing director Sonja Heinen congratulated Çatak on the win, attributing the film's success to its universal themes, outstanding direction, and Leonie Benesch’s remarkable performance. She also extended gratitude to the 33 film critics from 13 Latin American countries who formed the jury, as well as the Guadalajara Film Festival for hosting the award.

Estrella Araiza, managing director of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, expressed enthusiasm for the new award, highlighting its role in fostering a dialogue between Latin American and European cinema. “This synergy connects the Latin American perspective with European stories and modes of filmmaking, which represents a magnificent opportunity for establishing an enriching dialogue between two regions,” Araiza stated.

The Latin American Critics’ Award aims to enhance the visibility and circulation of European films in Latin America, thanks to the support of national film promotion institutes. Media partners for the award include LatAm cinema and Cineuropa.

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