The European Film Festival

The European Film Festival, Free Movies for 2 Weeks

The European Film Festival just might be Toronto's most accessible. Starting today with a 4pm screening of The Class at the Isabel Bader Theatre, the 4th edition of the European Film Festival brings with it more than 30 films from across the Atlantic for a two week run where every film has an admission price of zero dollars.

It's a deal almost too good to be true. Almost everyday of the festival there are screenings at 6 and 8:30pm with the majority playing at Innis Town Hall but a number of the more buzz-worthy films scheduled for the Royal. Earlier this weekend I emailed with Elena Rosauro, intern at the Spanish Consulate, who helped fill me in on some of the festival's finer details.

First off, this is the only film festival I can think of where all screenings are free of charge. Why do you think festival organizers decided not to charge to see the films? What sort of impact do you think this has on attendance?

All films are free of charge because we want Canadians to come and watch our movies, to share and enjoy our culture. Each film is sponsored by its Consulate and thus, by its country, so that's why we can actually afford it.

For instance, the Spanish film by Bigas Luna, Yo soy la Juani (My name is Juani), can only be shown at a non-profit festival since it is sponsored by our Government.

Culture should be free and for everyone. It is a right, not a luxury. We hope that all this will have a deep impact on attendance, as it happened in last year's festival (about 4,000 people came to watch the movies).

Aside from the films all being European in origin, are there any themes that you'd use to describe the sort of films that are screening at this year's festival?

Actually, there are no common themes. Each Consulate chooses the one they think would be interesting and that's all. As this year's motto reads, the EUFF wants to convey "the rich and diverse culture of Europe through a selection of its finest and most recent films". And I think we have reached this aim pretty good this year.

What are 2-3 films that you'd most recommend for me to see this year?

Well, I haven't seen any of the movies yet except the Spanish one, but I'm really looking forward to watching the German film, Am Ende kommen Touristen ("And Along Come Tourists"), and the Irish one, Hunger (our TIFF review here and trailer above). Needless to say, I highly recommend our film, Yo soy la Juani by Bigas Luna, which will be screened twice (on Nov. 24th and Nov. 26th). It's a pretty fresh and down to earth film, and it's different from all the others, for sure!

Are there any parties, panel discussions or other sort of events happening this year beyond the screenings?

There will be a panel discussion on Sunday 23rd, 2 pm, at Innis Town Hall, on "What is so European about European cinema?". It sounds quite interesting, and it will be led by James Skidmore from Waterloo University. There won't be public parties or other events apart from that. Culture must be free but alcohol is expensive (just joking).

Lead photo of Hunger


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