From March 2 through 29, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 15th Annual European Union Film Festival, the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of the European Union nations. This year’s festival encompasses all 27 EU countries, presenting the Chicago premieres of 65 films. As always, our festival presents a wide range of recent production, from first features by the cream of Europe’s new talents to the latest films by established masters.
Major directors include Andrea Arnold (WUTHERING HEIGHTS), Terence Davies (THE DEEP BLUE SEA), Bruno Dumont (HORS SATAN), Michael Glawogger (WHORE’S GLORY), Lasse Hallström (SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN), Jan Hrebejk (INNOCENCE), Mathieu Kassovitz (REBELLION), John Landis (BURKE AND HARE), Yorgos Lanthimos (ALPS), Christian Petzold (BEATS BEING DEAD), and André Techiné (UNFORGIVABLE). The three short films making up the Jeonju Digital Project 2011 are by the stellar trio of Jean-Marie Straub, Claire Denis, and José Luis Guerín.
The festival includes seven films that were selected to represent their nations in this year’s Academy Awards competition for Best Foreign-language film: BREATHING (Austria), LETTERS TO ANGEL (Estonia), BACK IN YOUR ARMS (Lithuania), SONNY BOY (Netherlands), JOSÉ & PILAR (Portugal), MORGEN (Romania), and BEYOND (Sweden).
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 2, our hosts are the Honorable Anne Mette Vestergaard, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Denmark, Washington, and the Honorable Jacob Anderson, Consul General of Denmark, Chicago. Our opening night film is A FUNNY MAN, the bittersweet story of how fame proves to be the undoing of a pair of scrappy standup comics.
Scheduled personal appearances include acclaimed British director Terence Davies with THE DEEP BLUE SEA on March 13, and Chicago-based film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum hosting a screening of AITA (Spain) by José María de Orbe on March 19. On March 23 and 24, Romanian director Lucian Georgescu appears with his film THE PHANTOM FATHER in tandem with American author (and former Chicagoan) Barry Gifford, on whose story the film is based. Other possible guest appearances were unconfirmed at press time; please check back for updates on appearances and added special events in association with screenings.
We close the festival on Thursday, March 29, with THE SALT OF LIFE, an affecting Italian comedy by Gianni Di Gregorio, director of the 2010 hit MID-AUGUST LUNCH. A reception by Whole Foods Market follows.
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
Purchase a European Union festival pass for $50!
6 movies at a reduced price, 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 $87 value for $50!
Vote for the Audience Award! Win an Annual Membership and a 2013 EU Festival Pass!
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 plus an EU Festival Pass (6 films + popcorn) for the 2013 festival! 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), THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (2010), and DESERT FLOWER (2011).
For their generous assistance in obtaining films for the European Union Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks:
Austria: Dr. Thomas Schnoell, Joanne Ryan, 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; Arnaud Aubelle, Le Pacte; Miramar Film; Mila Petkova, Bulgarian National Film Center; Christian Nochev, Andy Film
Cyprus: Marinos Kartikkis
Czech Republic: Sylvia Pinterova, NiteFLIX; Dana Huntova, Consulate General of the Czech Republic
Denmark: Lizette Gram Mygind, Signe Egemose Agger, Danish Film Institute; Jacob Anderson, Lisbeth Christensen, Consulate General of Denmark
Estonia: Mati Sepping, Estinfilm; Tristan Priimägi, Estonian Film Foundation; Kaie-Ene Rääk, F-Seitse
Finland: Jenni Domingo, Finnish Film Foundation; Laura Salonen, Snapper Films
France: nstitut Français; Jean François Rochard, Laurence Geannopoulos, Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in Chicago; Grégoire Graesslin, Kinology
Germany: Werner Ott, Irmi Maunu-Kocian, Goethe-Institut, Chicago
Greece: Liza Linardou, Greek Film Center
Hungary: Bela Bunyik, Bunyik Entertainment; Katalin Vajda, Magyar Filmunió, Hungarian National Film Fund; Michael A. Dobbin, Quiet Revolution Pictures
Ireland: Tim Reilly, Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago
Italy: Silvio Marchetti, Mary Anne Melchior, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Chicago; Barbara Klein, Italian Film Festival of St. Louis; Gianluca Bertogna; Latvia: Janis Vingris
Lithuania: Skaiste Aniuliene, Agné Vertelkaitè, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago; Studio Uljana Kim
Luxembourg: Joy Hoffmann, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel (CAN)
Malta: Kenneth Scicluna, Lighthouse & Ashley
Netherlands: Peter Verheyen, Consulate General of the Netherlands, Chicago
Romania: Thomas Petit, Les Films du Losange; Lucian Georgescu, GAV
Slovakia: Alexandra Strelková, Slovak Film Institute; John Riley, Fog ‘n’ Desire Films; Ondrej Starinska, JMB Film and TV Production
Slovenia: Nerina Kocjancic, Slovenian Film Center
Spain: Ignacio Olmos, Teresa Hernando, Instituto Cervantes de Chicago; Montse Pedros, Eddie Saeta SA; Carlota Caso, Film Factory Entertainment
Sweden: Gunnar Almér, Swedish Film Insititute; Ulf G. Anvin, Consulate General of Sweden
and also: Lara Bogenrief, Allied-THA; Ryan Krivoshey, The Cinema Guild; Alex Garcia, FiGa Films; Rebeca Conget, Film Movement; Ryan Werner, Jonathan Hertzberg, Elizabeth Brambilla, Cary Jones, Kim Kalyka, IFC Films; Kyoung Min Yang, Un-Seong Yoo, Jeonju International Film Festival; Gary Palmucci, Jason Leaf, Kate Brokaw, Kino International; Ed Arentz, Brian Andreotti, Suzanne Fedak, Music Box Films; Jonathan Howell, Jose Lopez, New Yorker Films; Farhad Arshad, Jennifer Bonino, Olive Films; Jacob Wolter, Oscilloscope Laboratories; Paul Hudson; Outsider Films; Jessica Rosner, Palisades Tartan; Brandon Peters, Strand Releasing; Matthew Landers, Tribeca Film; Clemence Taillandier, Zeitgeist Films.