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From March 9 through April 5, the Gene Siskel Film Center welcomes you to our 21st Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival. This largest festival in North America exclusively showcasing films originating in the European Union brings the vibrant cultures of Europe to the comfort of your theater seat, with 61 Chicago premieres representing all 28 EU nations.

According to the tradition of our festival, the opening night is presided over by the nation in the presidency of the European Union, and this year Bulgaria has the honor. On Friday, March 9, the evening is hosted by Dr. Ivan Anchev, Consul General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Chicago. Our opening night presentation is the zesty drama DIRECTIONS by critically acclaimed director Stephan Komandarev.

Films that entertain, challenge, and delight are all here, including new work by some of Europe's best-known names, including: Paolo Taviani (RAINBOW: A PRIVATE AFFAIR); Raoul Peck (THE YOUNG KARL MARX); Wim Wenders (SUBMERGENCE); Kornél Mundruczó (JUPITER'S MOON); Arnaud Desplechin (ISMAEL'S GHOST); Barbara Albert (MADEMOISELLE PARADIS); Bruno Dumont (JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC); Tonie Marshall (NUMBER ONE); Radu Jude (THE DEAD NATION and SCARRED HEARTS); Bohdan Sláma (ICE MOTHER); Armando Iannucci (THE DEATH OF STALIN); and a special advance screening of GODARD MON AMOUR by Michel Hazanavicius.

This year's festival will be enhanced by an exciting and provocative array of guest filmmakers. Italian director Fabio Mollo will be present on March 10, with his touching THERE IS A LIGHT, in which a pregnant woman and a gay man form an odd couple in search of a future. A Dutch elementary school classroom becomes a microcosm of a better world in the remarkable documentary MISS KIET'S CHILDREN, for which co-director Peter Lataster will be present on March 16 and 18. Dutch director Marleen Jonkman and casting director Rodrigo del Castillo will be present on March 23 and 24 for MESSI AND MAUD, a road movie saga set in Chile. Sparkling Italian wines figure prominently in murder mystery THE LAST PROSECCO, and director Antonio Padovan and associate producer Alessia Gatti will be present on March 24. A Prosecco tasting and short wine lecture will follow the second screening on March 27. Irish actor Barry Ward is tentatively scheduled to appear with March 30 and April 1 screenings of MAZE, a tense drama based on Ireland's biggest jailbreak, involving the escape of 38 IRA prisoners.

The festival closes on Thursday, April 5, with THE YOUNG KARL MARX by Raoul Peck (Oscar-nominated for I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO), followed by a reception hosted by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).

— Barbara Scharres (Director of Programming) and Martin Rubin (Associate Director of Programming)


Vote for the Audience Award! Enter to Win Free Membership!

Vote for the Chicago European Union Film Festival's Audience Award, and your ballot may be selected for the grand prize of a year's membership to the Gene Siskel 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 AGNÈS (2009), THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (2010), DESERT FLOWER (2011), THE WELL-DIGGER'S DAUGHTER (2012), BROKEN (2013), BICYCLING WITH MOLIÈRE (2014), THE DARK VALLEY (2015), LAND OF SONGS (2016), and TRUMAN (2017).

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 as festival advisors.


For their generous assistance in obtaining films for the Chicago European Union Film Festival, the Gene Siskel Film Center thanks:
Austria: Nadja Weidmann, Austrian Cultural Forum New York; Anne Laurent-Delage, Austrian Films; Sergi Steemann, Roxana Richter, The Match Factory; Belgium: Martin Gondre, Indie Sales; Bulgaria: Ramona Sehr, Arri Releasing; Stephan Komandarev; Mila Voinikova, Miramar Film; Cyprus: Marios Piperides, AMP Filmworks; Martin Hampel, Tewnty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion; Czech Republic: Martina Moudrá, Biograf Jan Sverák; Denmark: Adeline Monzier, UniFrance; Estonia: Katerina Monastyrskaaya, Leo Production; France: Adeline Monzier, UniFrance; Ilaria Gomarasca, Pyramide International; Germany: Irmi Maunu-Kocian, Goethe-Institut Chicago; Greece: Liza Linardou, Greek Film Center; Chistina Liapos, Heretic Outreach; Clio Fanouraki; Hungary: Krisztina Orr, Magyar Filmunió; Zita Bencsik, General Consulate of Hungary; Roxana Richter, The Match Factory; Ireland: Stephen Burke, Mammoth Films; Barry Ward; Italy: Alberta Lai, Italian Cultural Institute, Chicago; Barbara Klein, Italian Film Festival of St. Louis; Alessia Gatti, Valentina Zanella, KPlusFilm; Ilaria Gomarasca, Pyramide International; Lucetta Lanfranchi, Rai Com; Latvia: Alberto Alvarez Aguilera, Reel Suspects; Lithuania: Eglė Lauzonyte, Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania, Chicago; Matthias Angoulvant, Wide Management; Luxembourg: Paul Thiltges Distribution; Malta: Susan Ronald, Malta Film Commission; Julian Galea, Galea Pictures; Netherlands: Vera Kuipers, Consulate General of the Kingdom of Netherlands, New York; André Naus, Eye International; Paul Thiltges Distribution; Portugal: Irène Cadavid, Memento Films International; Romania: Bojana Maric, Taskovski Films; Slovakia: Sebastien Chesneau, Cercamon; Slovenia: Nerina Kocjancic, Slovenian National Film Center; Siniša Juričić, Nukleus Film; Spain: Luke Brawley, Dogwoof Ltd.; Teresa Hernando Rojo, Instituto Cervantes de Chicago; Sweden: Theo Tsappos, Swedish Film Institute; China Åhlander; UK: Paul Anton Smith; and also: ArtMattan Productions; Jonathan Howell, Big World Pictures; Bill Thompson, Cohen Media Group; Mike Repsch, Dark Star Pictures; Gary Palmucci and Ira Deutchman, Deutchman Company, Inc.; Clemence Taillandier, Distrib Films US; Jeffrey Winter, The Film Collaborative; Maxwell Wolkin, Film Movement; Meredith Finch, FilmRise; Marc Mauceri, First Run Features; Taylor Devorsky, Samuel Goldwyn Films; Bob Hunter, Icarus Films; Elizabeth Brambilla, Justin DiPietro, IFC Films; Mika Kimoto, KimStim; Jonathan Hertzberg and Graham Swindoll, Kino Lorber Films; Danielle McCarthy-Boles, Magnolia Pictures; Neil Friedman, Menemsha Films; Kyle Westphal, Music Box Films; Richard Matson, The Orchard; Cameron Swanagon, Oscilloscope Pictures; Mike Williams, Strand Releasing; Joe Yanick, Visit Films.