The European Union Film Festival (EUFF), Singapore’s longestrunning foreign film festival, returns to screens at Golden Village Suntec City from 10 to 22 May 2016. Since its inception in 1990, the EUFF has been providing audiences in Singapore with a taste of Europe’s contemporary creativity through a plethora of films that are rarely screened outside of Europe. This year’s 26th edition puts the focus on the Netherlands as the feature country and showcases 30 films. This represents the largest number of films shown at the EUFF since it started, with Lithuania joining the festival for the first time. This year’s festival also continues its long tradition of collaborating with a local film school, presenting student films from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies (FMS) alongside the official film selection. The largest showcase yet, the 26th EUFF presents a cinematographic journey across Europe. Each year, the festival brings the Singaporean and European communities together for an opportunity to have an intercultural dialogue.
From big-budget productions to arthouse features, audiences in Singapore will have access to the rich tapestry of European cultures through the EUFF. The festival features some of the most enduring stories that explore the past, present, and future of Europe, from the characters who have helped shape European history to contemporary issues that are faced by European society today. Through the art of cinema, films have the power to bring diversity to the foreground, while underscoring shared values and human emotions, which are the core of Europe’s common cultural heritage. An Award-Winning Line-Up This year’s festival will open with the Dutch film Admiral (2015), in the presence of director Roel Reiné. This Dutch epic tale set in the 17th century tells the story of Dutch naval hero Michiel de Ruyter, who played a pivotal role in securing a future for the young republic of the Netherlands during a time of both international and internal turmoil. Starring award-winning actor Frank Lammers, the film received many nominations at the 2015 Netherlands Film Festival.
Another stunning film in the EUFF line-up is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Ukrainian film, The Tribe (2014), winner of the coveted Critics’ Week Grand Prix at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. This startling work of cinematic storytelling is director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s feature debut. Devoid of dialogue and subtitles, the story is told entirely through Ukrainian sign language.
The film unfolds at a specialised boarding school for the hearing impaired, focusing on a young man’s struggle to find his place among the school’s social hierarchy. Another notable and award-winning film in the 26th EUFF line-up is the French globetrotting documentary Tomorrow (2015), winner of Best Documentary in the 2016 César Award in France. Directed by internationally renowned actress-filmmaker Mélanie Laurent and director Cyril Dion, Tomorrow presents a fascinating investigation into ways in which activists are trying to provide solutions to help the environment.
Sweden presents the group-therapy drama Hotel (2013), starring Academy Award winning actress, Alicia Vikander. Directed by Lisa Langseth who has previously collaborated with Vikander, Hotel also received four nominations at the 2014 Guldbbage Awards, Sweden’s equivalent to the Academy Awards. Other stellar performances can also be found in the critically-acclaimed German drama Phoenix (2014), directed by Christian Petzold, which is set during post-war Berlin in the 1940s. Phoenix stars Nina Hoss, who was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in the 2015 German Film Awards.
Latvia presents their Latvian-Japanese documentary Ruch and Norie (2015). Winner of four categories in the 2015 Latvian National Film Awards including Best Documentary, this heartwarming film is about an extraordinary friendship against all odds. Two other extraordinary films based on true events which also feature stories about defying the odds are Poland’s gripping drama, Gods (2014), and Malta’s first international feature film, Simshar (2014). Gods is a fast-paced medical drama directed by Łukasz Palkowski, about Zbigniew Religa, the doctor who performed the first successful heart transplant in Poland. As for Simshar, the film tells of two parallel stories of survival at sea which unravel in Malta and its surrounding waters in 2008, where the lives of local fisherman intersect with asylum seekers travelling by boat. The film was Malta’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards.
As a nod to commemorate William Shakespeare’s death 400 years ago, the United Kingdom presents BAFTA nominated Prospero’s Book (1991). Written and directed by notable filmmaker Peter Greenway, the film is a cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This is witnessed through the eyes of the lead character Prospero, played by John Gielgud in his last film appearance in a leading role.
Families can also look forward to a selection of films during the weekend, that is fit for all ages. Italy presents The Invisible Boy (2014), a fantasy film about a teenage boy with a mysterious super power. Switzerland’s adventure film Little Mountain Boy (2015), winner of Best Cinematography at the 2016 Swiss Film Prize, will delight audiences with its visually stunning film adaptation of the famous Swiss children’s book, Schellen Ursli (A Bell for Ursli).
For fans of animated films, Ireland presents their Oscar nominated Best Animated Feature Film Song of the Sea (2015). Directed by Tomm Moore and Paul Young, this is a visually stunning animated production about a tale of friendship and adventure. The EUFF also offers audiences the opportunity to discover the work of local aspiring young filmmakers that embody the creative spirit of storytelling told from the Singapore perspective. Ten of the best short films by students from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies (FMS) will precede the European films. This is the second time since 2010 in which FMS is partnering with the EUFF to present its students’ works. This is a collaboration that establishes a cultural bridge between Europe and Asia.
“The European Union Film Festival has been the EU’s flagship event in Singapore’s ever vibrant cultural calendar for more than 25 years, bringing the arts and culture of Europe to a Singaporean audience. The EUFF allows movie lovers to immerse themselves in the cultural diversity of Europe, taking audiences on a cinematic journey to discover the people, landscapes and traditions of Europe.
We are looking forward to this 26th edition of our film festival in Singapore which we hope will bring further intercultural exchange and contribute to Singapore’s cosmopolitan landscape,” says H.E. Dr Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Singapore.
The 26th European Union Film Festival runs from 10 to 22 May 2016.
Tickets are priced at $12.
Singapore Film Society members, Golden Village Movie Club members and Ngee Ann Polytechnic Students enjoy $1 off the Festival tickets.
It will be available online on the Golden Village website at www.gv.com.sg and through walk-in at Golden Village box offices island wide.
More ticketing and film programme details can be found at http://euff.sg/. Follow the EUFF on Twitter, @euffsg and Facebook, fb.com/euffsg.