17th European film fest focuses on ‘family’

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IN keeping the long-standing tradition alive, the European Union (EU) Delegation and its member-states is once again hosting its much-awaited, annual film festival, Cine Europa.

Now on its 17th year, the event will bring 23 films from different countries in Europe to the Philippine theaters nationwide, all with a common theme that centers on the “family.”

“Realizing that there are 17 countries [coincidentally in celebration of 17 years]joining this year, we decided on a universal theme that can be accommodated by the European films,” EU’s political counselor Julian Vassallo told The Manila Times. “For this year, we decided on the theme of ‘family’ because similar to the Philippines, family in the European society remains an issue that makes for interesting discussions.”

He added, “The films to be screened in the festival will show viewers that although the concept of ‘family ties’ is ever changing, the fact that strength and loyalty within the family is still the same, both in the Philippines and in Europe.”


Reaching out
Aptly titled “Cine Europa 17,” the festival will make headway in Manila from September 11 to 21 at the Shang Cineplex, Edsa Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong City, bringing moviegoers together once again for another film festival. The recently concluded Silent Film Festival was previously staged at the same theater.

Reaching out to other cities, Cine Europa films will be brought to local cinematheques in Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro in the succeeding months. Moreover, the festival will make its presence felt in calamity-hit communities like Leyte, Tacloban and Zamboanga.

“We want to bring Cine Europa to other places besides Manila to reach out to a wider audience. We see a lot of similarities between our nations, and we want more Filipinos to become aware of our shared cultures,” Vassallo shared.

Bridging cultures
To further impart the importance of various film festivals happening in the country, particularly that of Cine Europa, EU tapped young writer and director Ida del Mundo to deliver her expert views on film and family culture.

As the daughter of acclaimed screenwriter and author Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., the youngest del Mundo shared how film has affected her own family. She recalled, “There’s only three of us in the family—my mom, dad, and I. And we all go to the movies together at least once a week as our ‘bonding time,’ which I think is the same with many Filipino families.”

Del Mundo then discussed parallelisms between the European and Filipino cultures. For example, Slovakian film, Love, as an example, shows how two different cultures from two separate countries can be similar through film.

“In the Slovakian language, love simply means ‘love’ in the romantic sense but it is also used as slang for money. In the Philippines, the word mahal also means love in the same sense, but could also mean ‘expensive’ when used in a different context,” she explained.

With this, Ida encouraged Filipino families to watch Cine Europa films to experience different cultures and gain better understanding of people all over the world.

Outside Hollywood
As blockbuster Hollywood movies continue to dominate local theaters, EU through Cine Europa is proud to offer an alternative.

“I think what Cine Europa tries to do is to let people know that there is something else besides mainstream movies. If you notice, most European films are more pensive, as it does not give one final answer in the ending—most films leave you thinking,” Vassallo prided.

For her part, del Mundo cited early exposure to non-Hollywood films as key to the success of K’na the Dreamweaver, the film she wrote and directed for the recently concluded Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.

“We made it a point to watch films that are outside of Hollywood. I can say that part of what I know in films [also]come from [foreign]film festivals like Cine Europa,” del Mundo noted.

“I have many fun memories of the Cine Europa film festival, and an equally not-so-fun experience lining up in the long queues. But this just shows how Filipinos are fond of watching films and experiencing different cultures,” she further stressed.

Describing independent European films, Vassallo said that they are less glamorized and more realistic. Still, he is proud that in Europe, there are venues to cater to this demand.

And in hosting Cine Europa in the Philippines for almost two decades, EU is hoping to create a similar effect. “Although circumstances have made it hard for independent films to sell to a wider audience, we want to create a demand for Filipinos so they can enjoy a different cinematic experience,” the counsellor concluded.

This year’s Cine Europa also provides an avenue for educational discussions with a forum on Film Appreciation with producer and educator Alemberg Ang on September 12, as well as a forum for Filipino filmmakers with the EU’s cultural officers from Spain, Italy, and France on September 20.

There will also be screenings of distinguished Filipino films during the festival with Magnifico and Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros on September 12 and Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan on September 20.

For film schedules or inquiries, visit EU Delegation website www.eeas.europa/delegations/philippines.

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