The Teachers’ Lounge wins LUX Audience Award 2024

Image from The Teachers' Lounge showing the main character Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch) shouting in a classroom.

The German drama will soon be available across the access>CINEMA network

Acclaimed German drama The Teachers’ Lounge, directed by İlker Çatak, has won this year’s prestigious LUX European Audience Film Award.

The film follows Carla Nowak (Leonie Benesch) – a newly appointed, very dedicated high school teacher. When one of her students is accused of theft, Carla decides to take the matter into her own hands, setting a trap for the ‘real’ thief. But her actions backfire and things begin to spiral out of control. Soon, Carla is pushed to her limits.

For access>CINEMA programmers, The Teachers’ Lounge – which was also Oscar-nominated for the Best International Feature – will be available for screenings at DCP sites from May and at non-theatrical sites later this year.

Four other films were shortlisted for this year’s LUX Audience Award: 20,000 Species of Bees (dir. Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren), Fallen Leaves (dir. Aki Kaurismäki), On the Adamant (dir. Nicolas Philibert) and Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (dir. Anna Hints). All four films are currently available for screenings across the access>CINEMA network.

Co-writer and director of The Teachers’ Lounge İlker Çatak, writer Johannes Duncker and producer Ingo Fliess said in a joint statement they were “deeply honoured” by the reception their film has received in Europe and beyond.

They said: “Our heartfelt gratitude to our audience and the esteemed members of the European Parliament.

“This recognition underscores the vital role of teachers as the unsung heroes of our society. With utmost respect, we dedicate this award to them.”

Mike Downey, Honorary president of the LUX Selection Committee and Chair of the European Film Academy, said: “All of the nominees were winners in our view, and all of the films draw attention to the fact that cinema not only enhances the imagination but also shows our entire world in multiple perspectives, and has the power to broaden our vision and thinking.

“We just have to look at the five candidates for this year’s award – great works of art which are diverse, entertaining, and socially engaged in the world in which we live.”

The LUX Audience Award is the successor to the previous LUX Prize, which the European Parliament established in 2007. The annual prize is awarded to films that “raise awareness about current social and political issues, engage audiences in debates about Europe in a way that really speaks to them and reflect the beauty and diversity of European cinema”.

The winning film is chosen by combining a public vote and a vote by MEPs, with each weighted at 50%.

Past winners of the LUX Audience Award include Lukas Dhont’s Close and Jasmila žbanić’s Quo Vadis, Aida?.