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Eu, Alliance Française Film Festival to prime 2 Gambian films

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The third edition of the European Film Festival, organised by the European Union in The Gambia, opened at the Alliance Française on Wednesday and will feature two Gambian films. It is the first time the festival, organised in collaboration with the Alliance Française de Banjul, will feature Gambian films.

Films from Spain, France, Italy, and Germany will also be screened for free at the Alliance outdoor theatre every Wednesday and Thursday from 14–23 May as part of events marking this year’s celebrations. The festival provides an opportunity for Gambian audiences to explore and discover Europe’s rich cultural heritage. The festival forms part of activities marking the commemoration of Europe Day, held every May 9.

The EU delegation political officer, Raphael Brigandi, who is behind the organisation of the initiative, which started as a public diplomacy, said the event is organised in partnership with the EU Member States’ representatives in The Gambia, including France, Germany, and Spain, who are invited to propose a movie from their countries. He said the Alliance Française is the EU’s implementing partner.

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“We organised the film festival in the framework of Europe Day, which is commemorated on May 9 every year. It is meant for Europeans to celebrate the building of the European Union,” he said.

Raphael added that it was 1950 when the Foreign Minister of France at the time, Rubben Suman, delivered a speech that set the vision of building peace and cooperation amongst European countries.

“It was decided at the time to pull together the coal and steel production in order to make it impossible for France and Germany to go into war because these were elements that were needed to build weapons, so pulling them together means production will be done together, and by force, they will need to cooperate,” he said.

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“We take advantage of the day to celebrate and showcase different aspects of Europe, but also to celebrate the longstanding partnership between the EU and The Gambia. All together, we are proposing seven movies featuring two short Gambian films, Gifts from Babylon and Mebet,” he stated.

He said the selected movies will focus on societal issues such as migration, child marriage, and the death penalty.

He said the Gambian movies were selected to honour and encourage the country’s young movie industry.

The Director of the Alliance Française de Banjul, Justine Guschlbauer, said her office is pleased and honoured to partner with the European Union in hosting its annual film festival.

“For us, it is important as a European country to collaborate with other European countries to host this event. On our side, we run the festival based on the terms they choose for the programming of the movies, so we operate them and welcome people during the four evenings,” she said.

Madam Justine added that there are plans for them to collaborate more with the Gambian movie industry in the future.

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