By Patricia Simone Dauz

Shangrila Plaza's East Atrium was the venue for the opening reception
Shangrila Plaza’s East Atrium was the venue for the opening reception

If Cine Europa was a girl, then it is now a lady.  Before the short introductory program starts, red roses were handed out to attendees of the film festival’s opening reception. One can’t help but feel the positive and energetic vibe emanating all around, a sure sign of success for this year, and more years to come. This year’s theme, “Coming of Age”, is very apt.

As the delicious piles of canapés and strong wines were being consumed, FDCP Executive Director, Teddy Granados, Shangri La Plaza GM and EVP, Lala Fojas, and EU Delegation First Secretary, Jérôme Rivière, cheerfully raised their toasts after they have given their speeches.

Also spotted among the guests were young Filipino filmmakers Jorel Lising and Martika Escobar, who will have their short films showcased in a special program on Sept. 12 and 19. Four other Filipino short films which will be showcased are  by Pamela Reyes, Baby Ruth Villarama-Gutierrez, Pepe Diokno, and Ida del Mundo.

Puppy Love, a film about an adolescent girl’s exploration of her budding sexuality, was this year’s opening film. It was directed by Delphine Lehericey and starred Solene Rigot, Audrey Bastien, and Vincent Perez. The screening was held at the Cinema 1 of Shang Cineplex.

It is the Embassy of Poland’s first time to participate in the festival with Miasto 44 and Ida. This is a treat for film buffs since Polish films’ commercial releases tend to happen sporadically, and most of their films tend to deal with moral, socioeconomic, or political issues.   This year’s festival also marks the visit of the Czech director of Christmas Miracles in Prague to the Philippines. Her name is Lenka Kny and she will give a series of lectures both inside and outside Manila. EU Public Affairs officer Thelma Gecolea made sure people remember this by handing out additional print materials to the press people and other guests in the event.

 Art critic Ren Aguila with other supporters of Cine Europa
Art critic Ren Aguila with other supporters of Cine Europa
Other invited guests posed for a pic
Other invited guests posed for a pic
Jorel Lising and Martika Escobar with their friend at Cine Europa's private function.
Jorel Lising and Martika Escobar with their friend at Cine Europa’s private function.

A total of 23 movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland will be screened across nine venues all over the country. The festival will run from the 10th until the 20th of this month (September), but it will also have its presence in the following venues in key cities: FDCP Baguio City Cinematheque (Sept. 22-27), Iloilo City Cinematheque (Sept. 29-Oct. 4), Ayala Center Cebu (Oct. 9-11). Zamboanga Cinematheque (Oct. 13-18), UP Tacloban (Oct. 21-25), FDCP Davao (Nov. 3-8), Visayas State University in Leyte (Nov. 10-15), and Liceo De Cagayan University in CDO (Nov. 18-22).

FDCP Executive Director Teddy Granados, Shangri La Plaza GM and EVP Lala Fojas, and EU Delegation First Secretary Jérôme Rivière toast for success
FDCP Executive Director Teddy Granados, Shangri La Plaza GM and EVP Lala Fojas, and EU Delegation First Secretary Jérôme Rivière toast for success

Cine Europa 18’s main organizers are the European Union Cultural Group in Manila and accredited EU Cultural Institutes which are embassies of the participating countries. For the complete screening schedule, you may visit pinoyscreenandstage.blogspot.com. Admission is free on a first come, first serve basis. (Photos by Trixie Dauz)

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