'When We Leave' wins Euro Cinema prize

Named best European film in Berlinale Panorama section

BERLIN -- Feo Aladag's "When We Leave," a social drama starring Sibel Kekilli ("Head-on") as a young mother in Germany struggling against the strict confines of her conservative Turkish family, has won the Europa Cinemas Label as best European film in the Berlinale's Panorama section.

"When We Leave" is Aladag's feature film debut. The Austrian filmmaker is well known for her television documentaries, many of which focus on issues such as violence against women.

"This is an emotionally powerful and profoundly human film about the struggle of a woman fighting for her family, confronted by the strict cultural rules of her upbringing," the Europa Cinemas jury said, explaining its decision. "Feo Aladag directs with great assurance and cinematic flair, while the remarkable performance by leading actress Sibel Kekilli really brings the film to life."

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"When We Leave" will now receive distribution support from Europa Cinemas' network of 816 cinemas in 42 European countries. Previous Europa Cinema winners include such cross-border successes as Philippe Lioret's "Welcome" (2009), Anton Corbijn's "Control" and Bent Hamer's "Kitchen Stories." Telepool is handling world sales on "When We Leave" and has closed deals in Berlin for five European territories.