The Chicago European Union Film Festival

Stephan Komandarev's "Directions"

Stephan Komandarev’s “Directions”

The 21st annual Chicago European Union Film Festival (CEUFF) at the Gene Siskel Film Center raises the curtain for 61 Chicago premieres in its newly renovated theaters, March 9 through April 5.

Films represented by all 28 EU nations will give audiences thought-provoking, topical, poignant and hilarious stories, reminding us that while we may live across the world from one another, films and our stories conquer that divide.

Each year, the opening night film comes from the nation who currently presides over the EU. This year, Dr. Ivan Anchev, Consul General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Chicago will present the “zesty drama” Directions by director Stephan Komandarev on Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m.



Directions paves the road for the remaining films from gay and feminist films to comedies, thrillers, and “ …a horror-tinged film or two…” that will “entertain, challenge, and delight” audiences while you tour through Europe. Programming Director Barbara Scharres said, “You name it, we’ve got it.”

Many guest filmmakers and directors will be on hand to introduce their films and answer questions following their films’ screenings — a true delight and insight into filmmaking at its finest.

Italy’s Fabio Mollo will present his touching film There is a Light, capturing an unusual relationship looking for a grounded future. Peter Lataster will also be here to introduce Miss Kiet’s Children (March 16,18), a documentary depicting a Dutch elementary classroom which finds a way to create a better world.

Other recognizable names will have their films screened as a part of the CEUFF including Wim Wenders’ Submergence, Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx, Armondo Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin and Bohdan Slama’s Ice Mother.

You can even take a rode trip along the breathtaking roads of Chile to solve a murder with Dutch director Marleen Jonkman’s Messi and Maud. And the daring and provocative Isabelle Huppert continues to push the envelope in her roles with the Belgium gem, Souvenir, reminding us that dreams are never truly lost.

Scharres said that her favorite theme of this festival is “…wonderful surprises, but sub-themes come and go.” She continued, “…films that examine the past, especially the WWII and Holocaust era remains prominent…Questions and issues around immigration, nativism, and refugees show up, again, in radically differing treatments, from serious drama to policier/action film comedy/drama/hybrid.”

The diversity of the films seems unending as is the fun at this festival as well. Special events are also programmed so don’t miss out on the Prosecco wine tasting and lecture following Antonio Padovan’s film The Last Prosecco with both Padovan and associate producer Alessia Gatti presenting.

Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx will close the festival on April 5th with a reception following, hosted by the Eurpoean Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) on April 5th.

For more information about tickets and all 61 films, click here.


Pamela Powell
Pamela Powell

Pamela Powell, member of the Chicago Film Critics Association, writes for numerous publications across the country including FF2 Media, Fete Lifestyle Magazine, Q Voice, and The Daily Journal. She focuses on independent film and women filmmakers, giving these groups a louder voice in the film industry.

Contact pamela at pampowell5@att.

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