A Cinematic Journey Across Europe: European Film Festival Returns To Four Cities Across Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Film enthusiasts in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi had the chance to experience European cinema once again at the Third European Film Festival (EUFF) 2024, which commenced on 15 May 2024 at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad. The festival will now travel to three more cities across Pakistan: Peshawar, Quetta, and Gujrat, between 16 and 29 May 2024.

The 2024 edition of the EUFF in Pakistan features over 20 films from European Union member states, spanning diverse genres such as comedy, thrillers, documentaries, and fiction. These films explore a wide range of themes, including family, childhood, romance, friendship, climate change, history, war, economic hardship, human rights, and disability. Additionally, the festival showcases several exciting Pakistani short films by emerging filmmakers and studios.

Each film selected for the festival was carefully chosen to cater to audiences with a taste for stories with global appeal. The festival provides a unique opportunity for Pakistani viewers to rediscover Europe, its diverse cultures, and its modern and adaptive societies.

In Islamabad, the festival screened three feature-length films and five short films from Europe, two Pakistani short films, and some experimental European works as installations.

Keynote speech

Speaking to the media at the event, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, Her Excellency Dr. Riina Kionka, stated, “In the EU, we actively support filmmaking not only as an art form but also as a means to bring people together to address important social topics. We believe that good cinema plays an important social and political role – contributing to a pluralistic society based on respect for others, equality, and democratic decision-making. That’s why exchanges and discussions occupy a prominent place in the festival.”

The film screenings in Islamabad were followed by a dynamic panel discussion titled “Viewing the World Through Films: The Importance of Gaining a Global Perspective.” Moderated by Omar Khalid Butt, the panel included renowned playwright Bee Gul, actor Sarwat Gilani, and rising star Ali Junejo.

Sarwat Gillani interacting different people

Sharing her sentiments about the event, Sarwat Gilani said, “I believe film festivals such as the EUFF are very important for any country, especially its youth, to put their culture and traditions into a visual narrative and tell that country’s story to the rest of the world.

What I particularly love about European cinema is that it shows you the stark reality of the world as it is, unlike Hollywood which is shiny and squeaky. My two most favorite European films are ‘The Prophet’ and ‘Irreversible.’ If I had to cast a Pakistani actor in a European film, it would be Sarmad Khoosat in ‘The Prophet,’ and conversely, I would love to see Monica Bellucci in ‘Maula Jutt’ as Daro, originally played by Humaima Malik.”

Panel discussions in each city will bring audiences face to face with prominent figures in the Pakistani film and television industry, including filmmakers, writers, and actors. Tazeen Hussain, Saim Sadiq, Tazeen Bari, and Kanwal Khoosat will join the festival in Peshawar. Zafar Mairaj, Haya Fatima Iqbal, and Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari will participate in Quetta, and Irfan Khoosat, Tamkenat Mansoor, and Faseeh Bari Khan in Gujrat.

The festival also features a masterclass titled “Decoding European Cinema” by filmmaker, writer, and actor Ali Junejo in each city. The masterclass aims to enhance participants’ understanding of world cinema and build professional capacity.

In Islamabad, 60 people attended the masterclass, expressing gratitude for this unique learning opportunity presented to them free of cost.

Other highlights of the EUFF 2024 in all four cities include interactive audiovisual installations and a variety of food stalls.

The EUFF 2024 is open and free to the public and will be held at the following venues on the specified dates after the launch event in Islamabad:

– 17 May, Iqra National University, Peshawar

– 23 May, Noori Naseer Khan Cultural Complex, Quetta

– 29 May, University of Gujrat, Gujrat

The Third European Film Festival (EUFF) 2024 is curated and organized by Olomopolo Media, a leading platform for cultural and creative expression through performing arts and visual media, aiming to foster social awareness, sensitization, advocacy, and collective ethical development.

 

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