European Union Ambassador’s note

I am delighted to introduce to you the European Film Festival 2019, a highlight on South Africa’s cultural calendar and my first as the European Union’s new Ambassador to your country.

Again we have the opportunity to celebrate the best of European cinema in South Africa with films that entertain, inspire and move us.

The European Film Festival is not only an opportunity to showcase great European cinematography. It is also about providing a platform for learning about, and the sharing of, our diversity. It is about the shared human condition … about finding ways to understand each other better … about sharing joy as well as sadness …. about our common human challenges.

The European Union’s relationship with South Africa goes back to the 1980s when visionary leaders in the EU designed and implemented the Special Programme for the Victims of Apartheid. The EU was there in support of the transition to democracy in South Africa and our excellent relations were further cemented with the SA-EU Strategic Partnership in 2017 (the only one of its kind in the continent). Cultural cooperation also dates back to 1994 with the first film initiatives having already taken place in the late 1990s. Notably however, the European Film Festival and the various activities in the cultural and creative industries that will accompany it are only one element of the commitment of the EU and its Member States to elevate culture to an important component of EU relations with South Africa.

Riina KionkaOf course, this project would not have been possible without the collaboration and dedication of the participating European Union Member States and many of the European cultural institutes. Also, a special note of thanks goes to our producers as well as our long-term and reliable partner in this initiative, Ster-Kinekor.

I take this opportunity to commend to you this world class film festival and wish you engaging and interesting moments during the EU Film Festival 2019!

Ambassador Riina Kionka
European Union Delegation to the Republic of South Africa

Festival Director’s note

We celebrate the 6th edition of the European Film Festival with a line-up of award-winning films from 12 participating countries: Austria, Flanders Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The festival opens a window onto the filmmaking cultures of the respective countries in Europe. Europe is of course part of the interconnected wider world, and the films are not narrow portraits of the countries and their people, they deal with issues that are both local and global. The diversity of stories, styles and genres at this year’s festival cover a spectrum of human experience and emotion guaranteed to entertain, enlighten, and provoke our thinking.

Running as a central thread within all the films is the search for a sense of self and meaning in a world where things often fall apart around us, where systems break down, where that search becomes an imperative lifeline. And if you search this offering of high-quality films, made with extraordinary skill, creativity and focus, you will definitely find something that will engage you, the viewer.

Welcome and Enjoy!

Very special thanks to the EU Delegation, the participating embassies and cultural agencies, Cineuropa and Ster-Kinekor, for the core support and partnership which makes this festival possible!

Peter Rorvik
Festival Director, European Film Festival 2019

The European Film Festival 2019 is a partnership project of the European Union’s Delegation to South Africa and twelve European Member State cultural agencies or embassies based in the country. They are: the General Representation of the Government of Flanders, the French Institute in South Africa, the Goethe-Institut, the Italian Cultural Institute, the British Council, and the Embassies of Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The project is organised in cooperation with Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau and Cineuropa and is coordinated by Creative WorkZone.