The third edition of the EU Film Festival in Zimbabwe roared to life in October 2019 in the capital Harare and the second largest city, Bulawayo – and it was bigger and better than ever before.
12 movies, carefully selected by the EU Member States, featured during the two five-day events that were also packed with live entertainment by local artists, input sessions by and for local film makers, a masterclass in both cities hosted by internationally acclaimed Propsmaster Isaac Simba, post-movie Q&A sessions to foster dialogue and an African short film programme curated by Kenyan film producer Fibby Kioria. The EU’s collaboration with Cineuropa added to the quality of the movies of different genres, screened in a professional cinema in Bulawayo and under the African skies and stars in the old established Gallery Delta in Harare.
Ambassador Timo Olkkonen, Head of the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe, was happy with the success of the Film Festival: “We were excited about the many new features of this year’s festival, and we are glad to see that they were so well received – full house in the master classes, great turn out at the movies and input sessions, a diverse audience. European films are a fantastic way to showcase our culture, and a tangible proof of the motto “unity in diversity” – and they were great to bring people of all walks of life together and stimulate conversation.”
The Festival - during which all screenings and interactive sessions were for free - also received enthusiastic feedback from the audience in a country where, due to the deteriorating socio-economic situation, social life, entertainment and cultural offerings have diminished drastically in recent months. “The films, the lights, the atmosphere, the chance to meet people – and all of this for free – is just beautiful”, said one regular Festival goer in Harare, whilst a young lady in Bulawayo told the Delegation that she hadn’t been able to watch any movies in a cinema for years as it is generally too expensive.
The EU Film Festival in Zimbabwe has grown since its inception in 2017, with this year’s edition being the first to actively engage the local film scene. In the run-up to the 2020 festival, the EU will strengthen these relationships through regular exchanges with local film makers and interest groups, as well as through closer collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Film.