Out and About
European Union Film Festival of Toronto – November 9 to 23, 2017
The Annual European Union Festival of Toronto (EUFF) once again presents a powerful lineup of unique and multicultural films from all 28 EU member countries, November 9 – 23, 2017 at the Royal Cinema. These award-winning and critically acclaimed selections will address some of the most pressing topics affecting European and Canadian society today.
The Festival opens with the emotionally gripping feature film, Gozo, directed by Miranda Bowen (Malta). Gozo is the tragic tale of a young British couple who move to Gozo, a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Malta, where cracks begin to destroy their homespun paradise.
Ten feature films will also be making their Canadian premieres at EUFF, notably the 2016 Sundance Award-winning Belgica by Felix van Groeningen (Belgium), the story of two brothers, who learn that running a business is more complicated than they realized and their personal lives begin to suffer; Les Ogres, the critically acclaimed debut film by Léa Fehner (France), based on the director’s own childhood and starring her father, mother, and sister, along with movie greats Marc Barbé and Adèle Haenel; Night of a 1000 Hours by Virgil Widrich (Austria), winner of the Busan 2016 Flash Forward Audience Award, about a murder, an illicit love affair and a game of false identities; Boy on the Bridge directed by Petros Charalambous (Cyprus), the Hellenic Film Academy 2017 Best Newcomer and Los Angeles Greek Film Festival 2017 Best Performance winner, about a murder investigation in a small Cypriot village that exposes a dark family secret; Germany’s critically acclaimed Goodbye Berlin by Fatih Akin, the story of an unlikely friendship between two young boys dealing with the current realities of poverty and immigration; and The Citizen by Roland Vranik (Hungary), which follows Wilson Ugabe, who, after losing his entire family in Guinea-Bissau to the horrors of war and making the perilous journey to Europe as a political refugee, settles for a sedate life as a security guard in a shopping centre.
Eight films will be premiering in Toronto for the very first time, including the Award-winning Adult Life Skills by Rachel Tunnard (UK), winner of the Nora Ephron prize at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and winner of the 2016 London Critics Circle best debut film Award; Emilia directed by Donatas Ulvydas (Lithuania), about the fight for freedom in Soviet-repressed Lithuania in the spring of 1972; and Holy Mess by Helena Bergström (Sweden), about an unusual three-way couple expecting a child.
Other highlights include the North American premiere of the Polish romantic comedy Volta, by iconic Polish director Juliusz Machulski and starring Robert Wieckiewicz; Slovakia’s The Teacher, which received 9 nominations and winner of Best Score at the Gijon International Film Festival 2016; Finland’s critically acclaimed Little Wing by female director Tyttö nimeltä Varpu, about the solo road trip of a 12-year-old girl.
Closing this year’s Festival is The Dissidents by Jaak Kilmi (Estonia), about three Estonian men who flee the Soviet Union in search of a better life, but quickly realize that reality is different from what they have seen on TV.
Rounding out the selection, and for the second year in a row, EUFF will feature six compelling student short films from the EU and screened in front of select features, including A Night in Tokoriki (Romania), My Friend the German (Germany), Suriyan (France), Schoolyard Blues (Sweden), About the Birds and the Bees (Finland), and A Long Shot (Ireland).
The critically acclaimed, Goodbye Berlin Faith Akin, UK: The unlikely friendship between two young boys who are dealing with the current realities of poverty and immigration (German Film Critics Association Awards 2017 nominee, Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente 2017, Dublin International Film Festival 2017)
Venice International Film Festival Award-winner St. George by São Jorge –Set in 2011 as Portugal begins economic restructuring and debt among the Portuguese people reaches staggering new heights. Jorge is an unemployed boxer, and as a means of paying off debt, Jorge accepts a job with a debt-collection agency, which drags him into a world of violence and crime.
Amerika Square by Yannis Sakaridis (Thessaloniki Film Festival 2016 – Special Youth Jury Award *Los Angeles Greek Film Festival 2017 – Orpheus Award) The story of best friends from Athens, one, who is racist, and completely frustrated with Greece’s increasing immigrant numbers, and the other is in favour of foreigners coming into the country.
The Sundance Award-winning film and World Cinema Dramatic Section, Belgica by Felix van Groeningen Belgium – Belgica is the story of two brothers: charismatic and temperamental Frank – a husband, father, and incurable womanizer – and his ambitious younger brother Jo, who owns a bar called Belgica. They become business partners until they learn that running a business is more complicated than they realised, and their relationships and personal lives suffer.
General Admission to EUFF events is FREE. Availability works on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance $10 reservations are available at euffto.com.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.