From March 4 through 31, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 14th Annual European Union Film Festival, the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of European Union nations. This year’s festival, our largest yet, boasts 64 films representing 24 nations, highlighted by new films from major directors including Michael Winterbottom (THE TRIP), Catherine Breillat (THE SLEEPING BEAUTY), Tony Gatlif (KORKORO), Álex de la Iglesia (THE LAST CIRCUS), Nicholas Philibert (NÉNETTE), Manoel de Oliveira (THE STRANGE CASE OF ANGELICA), Christi Puiu (AURORA), Pedro Costa (CHANGE NOTHING), Pantelis Voulgaris (WITH HEART AND SOUL), and Jan Hrebejk (KAWASAKI’S ROSE).
According to the tradition of our festival, the opening night is presided over by the nation currently holding the presidency of the European Union. On Friday, March 4, our hosts are the Honorable Karoly Dan, Consul General of Hungary in New York, and Kaarina Koskenalusta, Honorary Consul of Hungary, Chicago, who will introduce the opening night film BIBLIOTHÈQUE PASCAL, Hungary’s dark and fanciful designated Academy Award contender. Director Szabolcs Hajdu and star Orsolya Török-Illyés will be present for audience discussion.
Also scheduled to appear are director Cary Fukunaga and star Mia Wasikowska of the United Kingdom’s JANE EYRE (March 6), director Tomas Donela of Lithuania’s FAREWELL (March 12 and 17), and actress/supermodel Liya Kebede of the United Kingdom's DESERT FLOWER (March 13). Other possible guest appearances were unconfirmed at press time; please check back for updates on guest appearances and added special events in association with screenings.
In all, the festival includes nine films that were selected to represent their nations in this year’s competition for Best Foreign Language Film. In addition to BIBLIOTHÈQUE PASCAL, we screen the official Academy Award contenders from Austria (LA PIVELLINA), Belgium (ILLEGAL), the Czech Republic (KAWASAKI’S ROSE), Estonia (THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY), Italy (THE FIRST BEAUTIFUL THING), Portugal (TO DIE LIKE A MAN), Slovakia (THE BORDER), and Slovenia (9:06).
We close the festival on Thursday, March 31, with Michael Winterbottom’s hilarious road comedy THE TRIP, followed by a closing night reception hosted by Whole Foods Market.
The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the consulates, the consuls general, and the cultural institutes of the European Union in Chicago, and their embassies in Washington, D.C., for their enthusiastic participation. We especially salute the efforts of all those who served on the festival planning committee.
—Barbara Scharres and Martin Rubin
Vote for the Audience Award! Win a Free Membership!
Vote for the European Union Film Festival's Audience Award, and your ballot may be selected for the grand prize of a year's membership to the Film Center! Ballots are available in the lobby. Past winners of the award include I'M NOT SCARED (2004), COLOSSAL SENSATION! (2005), CLEAN (2006), AFTER THE WEDDING (2007), THE UNKNOWN WOMAN (2008), THE BEACHES OF AGNES (2009), and THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (2010).
Purchase a European Union festival pass for $50!
6 movies for the price of 5, plus a free small popcorn with each film. Turn your pass in at the end of the festival for a $5 discount on a Gene Siskel Film Center membership. An $83 value for $50!
For their generous assistance in obtaining films for the European Union Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks:
Austria: Dr. Thomas Schnoell, Joanne McAllister, Consulate General of Austria
Belgium: Martine Leclerq, Wallonia (Belgium) Trade & Investment, Chicago; Claude Stomp, Flanders Investment and Trade, Chicago; Frank Verpoorten, Flanders House, New York; Madeline Shapiro, Caviar Films
Bulgaria: Valentin Donchev, Lila Georgieva, Bulgarian Consulate General, Chicago; Mila Petkova, Bulgarian National Film Center; Christian Nochev, Andy Film; Anri Koulev, Svetlana Ganeva, Koulev Film Production
Czech Republic: Dana Hunatova, Consulate General of the Czech Republic, Chicago; Denmark: Lizette Gram Mygind, The Danish Film Institute
Estonia: Tristan Priimagi, Estonian Film Foundation
Finland: Jenni Domingo, The Finnish Film Foundation
France: Institut Français; Laurence Geannopulos, Jean-François Rochard, Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in Chicago
Germany: Werner Ott, Eugene Sampson, Goethe-Institut, Chicago
Greece: Liza Linardou, Greek Film Center
Hungary: Bela Bunyik, Bunyik Entertainment; Katalin Vajda, Magyar Filmunio; Karoly Dan, Consulate General of Hungary, NY; Kaarina Koskenalusta, Honorary Consulate of Hungary, Chicago; Miklos Martin Kovacs, Hungarian Investment & Trade Commission; Bonnie Miller
Ireland: Tim Reilly, Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago; Claire McCaughley, Treasure, Entertainment, Ltd.
Italy: Silvio Marchetti, Mary Anne Melchior, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Chicago; Barbara Klein, Italian Film Festival of St. Louis; Catia Rossi, RAI Trade S.p.A.
Lithuania: Skaiste Aniuliene, Agnė Vertelkaitė, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania, Chicago; Tomas Donela
Luxembourg: Joy Hoffmann, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel; Valeska Neu, Films Boutique
Netherlands: Carla Bourgonje, Consulate General of the Netherlands, Chicago; Madeline Shapiro, Caviar Films
Portugal: Anne-Mathilde Roudaut, Insomnia World Sales
Romania: Oana Radu, Romanian Cultural Institute; Anne Wiedlack, M-appeal
Slovakia: Alexandra Strelková, Slovak Film Institute; David Corba, Leon Productions; Silvia Pinterova, Film Europe
Slovenia: Estelle Gadaud, Insomnia World Sales
Spain: Javier Ruperez, Consulate General of Spain; Ignacio Olmos, Teresa Hernando, Instituto Cervantes de Chicago
Sweden: Gunnar Almér, Swedish Film Institute; Kerstin Lane, Consulate of Sweden
and also: Jed Rapfogel, Anthology Film Archives; Ryan Krivoshey, The Cinema Guild; John Poole, Jr., Corinth Films; Rebeca Conget, Film Movement; Paul Marchant, First Run Features; Sonia Pachmayer, Focus Features; Livia Bloom, Icarus Films; Ryan Werner, Jonathan Hertzberg, Elizabeth Brambilla, Cary Jones, Kim Kalyka, IFC Films; Gary Palmucci, Jason Leaf, Kino International; Neal Block, Magnolia Pictures; Neil Friedman, Menemsha Films, Inc.; Ed Arentz, Brian Andreotti, Suzanne Fedak, Music Box Films; Laura Kim, James Lewis, National Geographic Entertainment; Adam Sekuler, Northwest Film Forum; John Tilley, Olive Films; Debbi Berlin, Palisades Tartan; Brandon Peters, Strand Releasing; Lara Bogenrief, Terry Hines & Associates; Kelli Larson, Lindsay Wiser, World Wide Motion Picture Corporation; Carl Youngdahl; Clemence Taillandier, Zeitgeist Films.