19th European Film Festival (29 November – 9 December 2012) (26/11/2012)

Cinema Metropolis Empire Sofil (Ashrafieh)

During a press conference on 26November,the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, presented the 19th European Film Festival, which will be held from 29 November to 9 December in the two theaters of Cinema Metropolis Empire Sofil (Ashrafieh).

The European Film Festival will open on Thursday 29November with the Cypriot film Small Crime by Christos Georgiou (on invitation).

The Festival's programme includes:

  • 36 recent feature films from the European Union, allowing the audience to view prize-winning films screened at major international festivals as well as the first or second production of promising directors. 
  • 1 feature film from Switzerland and from Serbia respectively, the Festival's guest countries this year.
  • 1 recent Lebanese short film from the Lebanese director Odette Makhlouf.
  • 19 short films produced by students of ten Lebanese audiovisual schools.

Among the long feature films, the European Film Festival proposes three films for children. The European Film Festival also invites children from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to the screenings.

In order to encourage young talents, the Festival will, for the twelfth consecutive year, award two prizes for the Lebanese short films. The Festival will offer each of the winners the opportunity to attend one of two leading international short film festivals in Europe: the “Premiers plans” Angers Festival (France) and the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (Germany). The jury includes cultural attachés of EU Member States' Embassies and cultural centres in Lebanon as well as Lebanese cinema critics. On Sunday 9 December, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, will award the prizes.

In a continuous effort to promote and showcase European culture to the widest possible audience throughout the country, the European Film Festival will also take place in Jounieh (6-13 December), Zahle (6-11 December) and Tripoli (7-9 December), with a number of films being screened in the three cities, in collaboration with the local French cultural institutes.

Guests will introduce and discuss their films in the cinema: Christos Georgiou, director of the opening Cypriot film Small Crime, Vladislav Karamfilov, main actor of the Bulgarian film Operation Shmenti Kapeli, and Olivier Gorce, scriptwriter of the French film Omar m'a tuer. The guests will meet with Lebanese audiovisual schools' students.

As a special event, the Festival will be screening the French film La chute de la maison Usher byJean Epsteinreleased in 1928. The screening of the film, which is inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe novel, will be accompanied with live music performed by the group Scrambled Eggs and Cynthia Zaven, in partnership with The Dream Machine Festival.

In the framework of the Festival, Metropolis Association and l'Institut français du Liban are organising on 7 December a round table for producers, distributors, exhibitors and other film professionals on the distribution and release of Lebanese and Arab films in Lebanon and the Arab World. The round table will take place in the presence of Claude-Eric Poiroux, General Director of Europa Cinemas (International Network of Cinemas for the Circulation of European Films), and Menem Richa, Coordinator for the Mediterranean region; Rima Mismar, Film Programmes Manager at the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC); and Jean-Christophe Baubiat, Head of Research and Distribution of Unifrance.

Also in the framework of the Festival, Fondation Liban Cinéma is organising a workshop for script rewriting for fiction feature films, in collaboration with the Delegation of the European Union, l'Institut français du Liban and Beirut Creative Cluster from 3to 7December. The workshop will be directed by the European scriptwriter Olivier Gorce, and the Lebanese scriptwriter and director George Hachem, who will carry out individual sessions with five Lebanese directors and/or scriptwriters whose scripts were selected following a call for proposals. The workshop will be followed on 8December by a debate with the two scriptwriters, which will be open to professionals and students, on the theme: "The secrets of a good script". 

The European Film Festival is organised by the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon in collaboration with the Embassies and Cultural Institutes of the European Union Member States, under the patronage of H.E. the Minister of Culture and with the contribution of LBCI TV.

Tickets will be on sale for 4 000 LL (2 000 for students’ short films) from Monday 26November 2012 at Cinema Metropolis Empire Sofil (Ashrafieh).

The full programme is available on the website and the Facebook page of the Delegation of the European Union: