Cine Europa in Zamboanga
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Cine Europa 2013 already scheduled screenings in Zamboanga known as The City of Flowers or Asia’s Latin City. But were cancelled when the MNLF lay siege to the city and the resulting violence that erupted between them and the government forces. What happened next was a humanitarian disaster: a total of 100,000 people were displaced from barangays being set aflame. Although the violence has been quelled, a great number of people still live in camps. Of last count there have been 167 deaths, which include children who have succumbed to diseases acquired from the evacuation camps.
This year Cine Europa will finally be able to push through with the free screenings of Europe’s finest films in Zamboanga Cinematheque from November 4-9, 2014. While it may not rebuild the homes they badly need it may give them a much-needed breather from the day-to-day struggles they face.
EU Delegation Political Counselor Dr. Julian Vassallo said, “The Zamboanga Cinematheque screening is with the help of the FDCP (Film Development Council of the Phil). It was not possible last year. I will be there myself. We are happy that we are expanding it. This is one of the things that we are very proud in Cine Europa that we are expanding and growing to the four corners of the country. You don’t make it very easy for us with 7,100 islands.”
Now on its 17th year the Cine Europa film fest has screened the best films from Europe in its home at the Shang Cineplex in Shangri La Plaza Mall. It will run from September 11-21, 2014. The fest has always had long lines watching films from as far as Czechoslovakia to Bulgaria to the more familiar Italian and English cinema.
Cine Europa will then move to other cities: Baguio Cinematheque from September 23-28, Ilo-ilo Cinematheque from September 30 to October 5, Ayala Center Cinema in Cebu from October 10-12, Special screenings will also be held in Tacloban from October 21-26. Davao will host the screenings from October 28-November 2, Zamboanga Cinematheque from November 4-9 and concluding screenings in Liceo De Cagayan University in Cagayan De Oro from November 13-16.
Admission is free to all screenings at all locations for the two-month festival.
The line up this year has a total of 23 movies from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland.
Goethe Institut Philipinen, the cultural center of Germany here in our country is one of the more active participants in Cine Europa. Goethe Institut was also part of the recently concluded International Silent Film Festival also held at the Shang Cineplex.
Goethe Institut Director Dr. Petra Raymond explains, “This is the attraction of Cine Europa that is not only in Metro Manila. We are going out enlarging our screening venues. We are working closely with the FDCP, this is a strong point of Cine Europa. The Philippines has these 7,000 islands. We have the need to manage how to communicate bring people together. People are like I have to go to Manila. This is not good for Manila. If you are present in these other places then it makes them culturally attractive. People may say hey we can have a living there because things are coming to us. Of course its difficult to handle that specifically in Mindanao.”
The European Union has always been a model for countries coming together for economic and political reasons. The film fest is a product of this harmony. Raymond goes on, “Unity is only possible because we have respect for the differences. Otherwise its pressure and you don’t feel comfortable. When you look at all these films they all have a relation to the topic of family. Even these two German films are so different. Family has a big role to play in the Philippines. I can totally relate to this feeling. Or think this can never be possible in the Philippines. Or it is the same here. So there’s a big possibility of how you can relate and connect to the films. The structure of Europe is the freedom to be different and that is important.” Maybe the respect for differences can also be key to peace in Mindanao.
The 17th Cine Europa also has an emphasis on film forums and education. Urian award winning producer Alemberg Ang will have a talk about Film Appreciation September 12 Friday, 11am at the Shang Cineplex. The forum is followed by a screening of MAGNIFICO-2pm and ANG PAGDADALAGA NI MAXIMO OLIVEROS-4pm. On Saturday 1pm there will be a forum between Filipino Filmmakers with the EU Cultural officers from Spain, Italy, & France. And a screening of Lav Diaz’ NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN. All events will be at the Shang Cineplex, Shang rila Plaza Mall.