With a short formal inaugural statement by the ambassador of the European Union to Nepal Nona Deprez, the Eleventh edition of the Nepal European Union Film Festival (NEUFF) began in Kathmandu at the theater of the Nepal Film Development Board.
This is for the first time the festival is taking the culture of Europe to Kathmandu and Karnali Province.
Establishing itself as a festival to share civilization, society, cultures and technology from various member countries of the European Union, NEUFF is a kind of program that brings Nepal and the European Union much closer.
With the effort of the Embassy of the European Union in Nepal, the film festival is going to screen a few films in Surkhet, the capital of Karnali Province. This will be a great time for film lovers and common folks in Surkhet to watch top-class European films at their doorstep.
Unlike Pokhara, Biratnagar, Lumbini, or any other popular destinations, Sukhet has rarely been chosen for this kind of festival. The decision of the Embassy of the European Union to Nepal will greatly contribute to linking Surkhet with Europe.
In presence of large numbers of audiences including Nepal’s prominent diplomats, the deputy mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Sunita Dangol, film producers, actors, directors and young film lovers, ambassador Deprez said that the film festivals promote the exchange of culture of the countries and promote culture is one of the important parts of European Union’s international relations.
She said that films remain at the forefront of cultural and intellectual life adding that they are an effective means of promoting cultural exchanges and enhancing the level of understanding of how people perceive issues affecting their lives.
Ambassador Deprez said that the culture helps to demonstrate the diversity and human rights, thus a factor of peace. She said that the EU has been supporting to protect the religious monuments and shrines around the world by providing training, skill development and others.
Brand ambassador of NEUFF Nepalese actress Keki Adhikari said that the films contribute to bringing societies together sharing their culture and other social issues. Adhikari said that the films screened in Kathmandu and Surkhet will help to increase the diversity of culture of nations within the European Union.
With this short formal program, the EU Delegation in Nepal started to screen to the Nepali audience 13 European films and three Nepali films for its 11th edition of the Nepal European Union (NEUFF) film festival. Based on the religious Gods of Molenbeek on October 28, the NEUFF will run at the Nepal Film Development Board until 1st November, before traveling to Surkhet where six European and two Nepali films will be screened at the Mid-West University in Surkhet from 5th to 8th November.
The opening film ‘Gods of Molenbeek’ is a documentary directed by Reeta Huhtanen, which revolves around the interaction and imagination of two six-year-old boys in the Molenbeek district of Brussels. This is where they listen to spiders, discover black holes and quarrel over who gets to command the flying carpet that is to take them to the lands of their ancestors. They live in the same building, yet come from different worlds.
Together they search for answers to the big questions. Aatos wants a god of his own, as Amine already has Allah but the question is complicated by his friend Flo’s belief that people who believe in God have gone crazy.
The threat of the adult world suddenly interrupts the children’s play as terrorist bombs explode in a metro station nearby. The streets are filled with tanks, armed soldiers and policemen. Bedtime stories now evoke images of violence and even friendship is put on trial until an expected twist reshapes their lives for good.
The NEUFF will run at the Nepal Film Development Board till 1st November, before traveling to Surkhet where six European and two Nepali films will be screened at the Mid-West University in Surkhet from 5th to 8th November.
“The good news for our new and old audience is that this time the festival will be hybrid --- both physical and online. The online festival will start with the physical festival on the 28th of October and remain open for our viewers until the 28th of November. The online festival will have eight films along with the Nepali film – Gurkha Girl,” said a press release issued by European Union.
Obstructed by the outbreak of Covid-19, the festival came back after a gap of two years with 13 top films from Europe along with three from Nepal.
One of the festival highlights is the film "Butterfly on Window Pane" (Aaina Jhyalko Putali), a Nepali feature film that has won accolades in the Nepali film theatres recently.
Two short films: ‘Yet Another Winter’ directed by Kiran Shrestha and ‘Gurkha Girls’ directed by Bishal Rokka Magar have enriched the Nepali list of films.
Besides the main festival, three online side events on different aspects of film-making are being organized. The first side event to be organized on 29 October at 2:00 pm local time is a discussion on how to archive materials can be used while making a film. Guy Borlee, a European expert and Ulasha Gurung, an expert from Nepal on the subject will be conducting the side event.
The second side event is an interaction on the topic ‘’How films can contribute to protecting the environment to be conducted by Hugo Metz and Roshani Adhikari on 30 Oct at 2:00 pm local time.
Likewise, the third side event is a discussion on Production conditions in Europe and the possibility of cooperation between European and Nepalese film professionals facilitated by Theresa Hoefert de Turegano and Anil Paudel on 1st Nov at 2:00 pm.
In Surkhet a masterclass will be conducted by filmmaker Sujit Bidari for filmmakers and film students from Karnali Province. This will be organized on 8th November.