From March 1 through 28, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to the 16th Annual European Union Film Festival, the largest showcase in North America for the cinema of the European Union nations. This year’s festival presents the Chicago premieres of 61 new feature films, providing a broad picture of the creativity of Europe’s most adventurous filmmakers.
The festival screens the latest films by a host of major directors including Alain Resnais (YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET), Margarethe von Trotta (HANNAH ARENDT), Marco Bellocchio (DORMANT BEAUTY), István Szabó (THE DOOR), Ken Loach (THE ANGELS’ SHARE), Sally Potter (GINGER & ROSA), Ulrich Seidl (PARADISE: FAITH and PARADISE: HOPE), Sergei Loznitsa (IN THE FOG), and Jan Hrebejk (4SOME).
This could well be called “the year of the woman” at the festival, as our selection features twelve films directed or co-directed by women, ranging from newcomers including Kristina Nikolova (FAITH, LOVE & WHISKEY/Bulgaria) and Alexa Karolinski (OMA & BELLA/Germany) to established world-class artists like von Trotta and Potter.
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 1, our host is the Honorable Aidan Cronin, Consul General of Ireland, Chicago. Our opening film, STELLA DAYS by Thaddeus O’Sullivan, stars Martin Sheen in a critically acclaimed performance as an embattled Catholic priest who tries to introduce the movies to his conservative rural flock.
We celebrate Spain in a special way this year, by incorporating the “Festival of New Spanish Cinema,” curated by Pragda, as a sidebar section of the EU festival. Enjoy this sparkling selection of the newest and brightest Spain has to offer, beginning with the premiere of the lively Andalusian comedy CARMINA OR BLOWUP on our Spanish opening night of Wednesday, March 6.
German actress Barbara Sukowa, renowned for her work with von Trotta, Fassbinder, and von Trier, appears in person on Friday, March 8, to discuss her tour-de-force starring role in HANNAH ARENDT. Chicago director, writer, and radio personality Mike Houlihan appears in person on Wednesday, March 13, with his personal documentary OUR IRISH COUSINS.
Director Robert Mullan appears at screenings of his Lithuanian historical drama LETTERS TO SOFIJA, and Romanian director Dan Chisu is tentatively scheduled to appear with a screening of CHASING RAINBOWS. Check back often for updates on appearances and added special events and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest information.
The festival closes on Thursday, March 28, with Ken Loach’s greatly anticipated THE ANGELS’ SHARE, the Scottish-themed whisky-loving comedy that brought down the house at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. A reception hosted by Whole Foods Market follows.
The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the consulates, the consuls general, and the cultural institutions 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 as festival advisors.
—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 2014 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 2014 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), and THE WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER (2012).
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: Nicolas Polet, Flanders House, New York; Valeska Neu, Loredana Cimino, Films Boutique
Bulgaria: Bouriana Zakharieva, Peripeteia Film Production; Kristina Nikolova; Mila Petkova, Bulgarian National Film Center
Denmark: Lizette Gram Mygind, Danish Film Institute; Jette Renneberg Elkjær, Embassy of Denmark
Estonia: Tristan Priimägi, Estonian Film Foundation; Piret Tibbo-Hudgins, Allfilm
Finland: Marjo Pipinen, Finnish Film Foundation
France: Institut Français; Fabrice Rozie, Jean-François Rochard, Laurence Geannopoulos, Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in Chicago
Germany: Werner Ott, Irmi Maunu-Kocian, Goethe-Institut, Chicago
Greece: Liza Linardou, Greek Film Center; Costas Kapakas
Hungary: Bela Bunyik, Bunyik Entertainment; Katalin Vajda, Magyar Filmunió, Hungarian National Film Fund; Alice Ramsey, Bankside Films
Ireland: Aidan Cronin, Katie Hamilton, Pat Neary, Consulate General of Ireland, Chicago; Jackie Larkin, Newgrange Films
Italy: Silvio Marchetti, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Chicago; Barbara Klein, Italian Film Festival of St. Louis; Pascale Ramonda; Celluloid Dreams
Latvia: Matthias Angoulvant, Wide
Lithuania: Marijus Gudynas, Agnė Vertelkaitė, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago
Luxembourg: Joy Hoffmann, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel (CAN); Lélia Di Luca, Samsa Film
Poland: Cosima Finkbeiner, Beta Cinema GmbH
Romania: Gheorghe Andrei, Alexandra Cojocaru, Da KINO Production
Slovakia: Alexandra Strelková, Slovak Film Institute; Clémence Perrier-Latour, MK2; Uta Gildhuis, Endorfilm
Slovenia: Nerina Kocjancic, Slovenian National Film Center; Danijel Hocevar, Emotion Film
Spain: Marta Sanchez, Pragda; Ignacio Olmos, Teresa Hernando, Instituto Cervantes de Chicago
Sweden: Gunnar Almér, Swedish Film Insititute
and also: Kathleen Sewall, Christina Dudash, Allied-THA; Lauren Elmer, A24 Films; Jeff Lipsky, Adopt Films; Ryan Krivoshey, The Cinema Guild; Rebeca Conget, Maxwell Wolkin, Mallory Jacobs, Film Movement; Jeremy Quist, Global Film Initiative; Mike Houlihan; Sean McDonnell, IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films/ATO Pictures; Ryan Werner, Elizabeth Brambilla, Cary Jones, Kim Kalyka, IFC Films; Gary Palmucci, Kino Lorber Films; Cindy Nelson, MonteCristo International; Michael Tuckman, MTuckman Media; Ed Arentz, Brian Andreotti, Rebecca Gordon, Music Box Films; Donald Crafton, Anthony Monta, Ted Barron, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame; Samantha Hubball, Oscilloscope Pictures; Paul Hudson; Outsider Pictures; LC Lim, 7th Art Releasing; Tom Davia, Shoreline Entertainment; Brandon Peters, Strand Releasing; Matthew Landers, Tribeca Film; Erin Lowery, The Weinstein Company; Clemence Taillandier, Ben Crossley-Marra, Zeitgeist Films.