This May, mark your calendars for the return of Singapore’s longest running foreign film festival with the 28th edition of the annual European Union Film Festival!
With all the screenings taking place at the iconic National Gallery for the second year in a row, visitors are set for a wild ride through all the beauty and culture the EU has to offer, with over 20 films submitted by various members of the union, many of which are receiving their Singapore premieres. A timely reminder of the continued bonds that the member countries share within the organisation, the press conference held on 9th April also saw delegates from each country showcasing their culture by bringing each nation’s unique products, ranging from French wines to Dutch stroopwaffels.
Dovetailing nicely with Austria’s takeover of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union this July, the opening film of the 2018 EUFF will be Austrian filmmaker Mirjam Unger’s Fly Away Home, telling a tale about surviving the Russian occupation of Vienna in 1945, as seen through the eyes of a nine year old child. The film was adapted from a novel by popular Austrian children’s author Christine Nöstlinger, and its original Austrian title Maikäfer flieg is taken from the title of a popular nursery rhyme subtly referencing the 30 Years War of the 1600s. Director Mirjam Unger herself will be in Singapore in May to promote the film, and attend the opening on 10th May.
Says Austrian ambassador Karin Fichtinger-Grohe, pulling out two big tomes documenting Austria’s film output of the last two years: “Austria’s film industry is very famous, and we have a long history of winning plenty of awards. We’re currently even have plans to start an Austrian film festival here in Singapore, and we’re looking to work more closely with schools, like title sponsor GESS (German European School Singapore), and beyond film, ultimately looking to become more involved with the Singapore arts scene.”
Besides the opening film, the 2018 EUFF offers up a veritable selection of films spanning all genres, from comedy all the way to documentary. Films that caught out eye included the Irish comedy-drama Sanctuary from first time director Lens Collins, about the burgeoning romance between an intellectually disabled couple, only to result in a comedy of errors when assisted by their care worker, as well as France’s Custody (Jusqu’à la garde), as a child is caught between a custody war between his two divorced parents.
In addition, this year’s EUFF will continue its tradition of working with a Singapore Film School as a platform for showcasing local talent, with a number of short films from students and alumni of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies shown before some feature films. EUFF will also act as a platform to showcase strong EU-ASEAN ties. collaborating for the first time with the Asian Film Archive to present the film Fragment, showcasing the diversity and strength of Southeast Asian independent cinema. Collecting ten short films, the directors featured in this omnibus film include local filmmakers Wesley Leon Aroozoo and Kan Lume. Says H.E. Barbara Plinkert, EU Ambassador to Singapore: “The EUFF is not just a commercial film festival, it is a festival that celebrates arts and the diversity of both Europe and filmmaking craft in the region.”
Even with the ever increasing number of film festivals in Singapore, the EUFF continues to stand out with its huge selection of well-curated offerings, its keen eye for quality, and its continued support for diversity in both Europe and Southeast Asia. Mark your calendars, find your favourite film, and head on down to the National Gallery this May to grab a seat in front of some quality European cinema with the 2018 EUFF.
The 28th European Union Film Festival takes place from 10th – 20th May at the National Gallery. Tickets available from SISTIC