Have you had enough superhero and comic book movies? Want something a little more meaty and thought-provoking in your film diet? This week the European Union Film Festival (EUFF) kicks off this weekend and runs from November 16th to December 2nd, 2018. This year there are 27 films on offer and every film is an Ottawa premiere. All are shown in their original language with English subtitles.
This is the festival’s 33rd year in Ottawa and, while a lot has changed over the years, perhaps this year’s biggest change will be in the venue. After a few years of bouncing around different venues the festival has settled into the Alma Duncan Salon at the new Ottawa Art Gallery and hopes to make it their long term home.
We talked on the phone to Tom McSorley, Executive Director of the Canadian Film Institute and curator of the festival.
Apt613: The scope of the festival seems to be the EU countries. You have 27 films and there are 28 countries. No UK entry.
Tom McSorley: Yes, just not that one that wants to leave. It’s not always that we have everyone participating. When the UK was participating we didn’t have Malta. So we’re thrilled to have Malta again, it’s only the second time in 33 years. The last one we had from Malta was three years ago on our 30th anniversary and it was very well received film. We’ve got everybody except the Brits.
We’ve got everybody except the Brits.
You’re in a new venue this year, the Alma Duncan Salon at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Are you excited about that?
Yes it’s perfect for our kind of programming. Its 245 seats and we’re able to bring in an extra 25 if we need to. And it’s got a significant size screen. So when you see a film in there in scope, for example, when it’s shot in scope format it’s immersive in a way that you wouldn’t expect. But it’s spectacular. Love that place. And in fact for the first time ever, the CFI program takes place in the same building as the festival and that’s a huge logistical advantage.
We’ve always had the screenings at Library and Archives continuing to Carleton or the ByTowne to one year. So you’re always looking at a satellite thing, but now it’s just down the hall and it’s pretty amazing. So yeah, it’s a beautiful venue.
I haven’t been in a few years. Do you still do the thing of having someone from the embassy come in and give a little short intro to film?
When an embassy wants to do that, we certainly encouraged them and they also do some cases host little receptions after the screening. So for wine and cheese and stuff, we’ve been kind of unable to do that in the last few years because of being at the ByTowne or at Carleton and it was just not a conducive to that kind of a post screening gathering. But now in the new Ottawa Art Gallery there is a lounge right outside the venue.
I believe we have at least five or six embassies that have already stated that they’re going to have a post-screening wine and cheese. And for me that’s part of the difference of a festival like this one from say going to a ByTowne screening. We have a space afterwards, to gather and talk about what you’ve seen and what you’ve missed out on.
The 33rd European Union Film Festival takes place at the Ottawa Art Gallery from November 16 to December 2, 2018. Visit the EUFF website for the complete program for all 27 films. General admission to any single film is $13. Certain groups including seniors, students and children are $9.