By Tabora Bojang
The second edition of the European Film Festival organised by the EU Delegation to The Gambia opened at the Alliance Française along the Kairaba Wednesday evening.
It is being organised in collaboration with Alliance Française de Banjul.
Films from five different European countries will be screened for free at the Alliance outdoor theatre every Wednesday and Thursday from 10 – 24 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.
Wednesday’s opening event was juxtaposed with the screening of a Croatian movie titled “Extra-Curricular” produced by Ivan-Goran Vitez.
The European Film Festival is forms part of activities marking the commemoration of Europe Day, held every May 9. The opening was attended by the EU Ambassador to The Gambia, Corrado Pampaloni who led activities with representatives of other member states.
Ambassador Pampaloni remarked, in an interview, that the festival is aimed at strengthening EU-Gambia cultural dialogue and exchange in a bid to help foster mutual understanding among citizens of the respective nations.
He said movies were selected with the rationale to not only represent the European culture but to also lay the platform to help address issues of common concerns as our lives are intertwined in a globalised world.
“We have built up from last year and this is something we intend to grow in the coming years. It is part of what we call soft diplomacy or cultural diplomacy, where diplomacy means creating bridges. The entire world is one country to signify that things happen in the same way all over the world from our family relations, social events, politics and criminality, and so the themes [in the films] that are common in every country,” Ambassador Pampaloni said.
He added that the movies will further provide Gambian audience with the opportunity see the incredible diversity of European culture and cinema as the EU membership covers 27 countries. “We have similar issues, similar situations. This helps to create bridges and empathy,” he stressed.
The Director of Alliance Française de Banjul, Justine Guschlbauer described arts and culture as universal languages that enhance cultural relations and shared values among people of the world.
Director Justine affirmed that the festival compliments and solidifies The Gambia’s reputation as one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse societies in the world.
She said: “Culture is about diversity and creating bridges between us for better understanding. Alliance Française is pleased to partner with the EU Delegation in providing some exciting movies that showcase the diversity of Europe to Gambians to help enrich our mutual relations. As a cultural and linguistic centre, Alliance remains committed and open to new ideas, new cultures and new mind-sets because we are all diverse and unity is diversity.”
She said the screenings are open to all Gambians and cultural enthusiasts who have a desire to visit the Alliance and enjoy creation and arts which are fundamental to its daily mandates, “culture is for everyone. And we want to share around culture.”
All five films are English subtitled and available at the Alliance Française website and social media handles. Other screenings will be organised at 8pm at the following dates: Wednesday May 17, Miss Viborg, by Marianne Blicher from Denmark; Thursday May 18, Sisters Apart, by Daphne Charizani from Germany and Wednesday May 24; Schoolgirls, by Pilar Palomero from Spain.