24th Edition of European Film Festival Kicks Off at Metropolis Sofil
Ambassador of the European Union to Lebanon Christina Lassen on Wednesday opened the 24th edition of the European Film Festival 24 at Cinema Metropolis Empire Sofil, in the presence of Minister of Culture Ghattas Khoury and of political and diplomatic figures, as well as culture, media and social personalities.
“It is the 24th time we host this festival here in Lebanon which we – in all modesty – think has become an essential part of the cultural calendar here,” Lassen said in a speech.
“2018 is special for us because it is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. We celebrate this year under the headline 'Our heritage: Where the past meets the future'. Throughout the year, we will honor our diverse cultural heritage across Europe,” she added.
“We are proud this year to present 32 movies from 20 different European countries. Sad movies and happy movies, difficult and more light movies, scaring and touching movies, but all of them have in common that they illustrate aspects of Europe’s varied and diverse societies and the cultural heritage we bring with us,” Lassen pointed out.
According to the ambassador, many of the films shown during the festival earned prizes and praise in important festivals in Europe and internationally in the past year.
“I will not mention all of them, but just say that two of the films we are screening during the Festival – Sweden's 'The Square' and Hungary's 'On Body and Soul' - were yesterday nominated for an Oscar for best foreign movie,” Lassen noted.
She added: “As in Europe, Lebanon is a country with a rich and diverse cultural heritage. This is expressed in many ways every single day, but not least in this country’s creative and dynamic film industry. Take 2017 for example where many acclaimed movies were released, some films made it to international festivals and others were nominated for some of the most prestigious film awards. But the biggest news came yesterday, when the Lebanese film The Insult by Ziad Doueiri was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. And I don't think I need to remind anyone here that this is the first time a Lebanese film has been nominated for the Oscars.”
“We want to see the Lebanese film industry continue to flourish. We are, therefore, happy to continue the tradition of honoring two prizes to short films produced by talented students from Lebanese audio-visual schools and hopefully give them a gentle push into the limelight. We are also excited to close the festival with the Lebanese Film 'Heaven without People' by director Lucien Bourjeily, who was the winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival,” Lassen went on to say.