European film festival opens on high note

By Jamila Achakzai
June 03, 2023

Islamabad: Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Riina Kionka on Friday opened the second edition of the European Film Festival in the country saying the June 2-24 nationwide event will provide Pakistanis with a good opportunity to experience a small sample of the rich European cinematic production in the form of short and feature-length films. She, however, said that was not all. "Aspiring film-makers and actors have the chance to learn directly from some of Pakistan’s most brilliant professionals during the master classes that are part of the festival," she told the inauguration ceremony at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts here. The EU ambassador said in the current times of streaming services, which provided an endless supply of entertainment right into people's homes, the concept of going to the movies might seem like a terribly old-fashioned way of watching a film but cinema made its impact when it was experienced on the big screen and collectively in a room together with friends and strangers. "Cinema has the power to trigger and enrich a debate," she said, adding that part of the fun of watching a film is discussing it afterwards. Ms Kionka said the EU supported film-making as an art form and a medium to address important topics that societies grappled with today. She said the films shown at the festival weren't just good movies - they also carried important social messages – the importance of diversity and gender equality, of nurturing relations between generations, of promoting human rights, of combating climate change, and more.


"Cinema provides an opportunity to dive into the worlds and, in fact, the minds of characters that live very different lives than ours. Cinema allows us to see the world through different eyes, to develop compassion and respect for others. Good cinema has an important social and political role – to contribute to a pluralistic society based on respect for others as well as on equality and democratic decision-making. That’s why exchange and discussion hold pride of place in the festival," she said.

The EU ambassador said after the films were screened, a panel of some of the finest film-makers and actors would share what they took away from the film and how it resonated with their experience in the Pakistan of today.

She said she hoped that the visitors would take those discussions to their families and friends as the films didn't provide the answer and rather, they posed questions, exposed the audience to ideas, and confronted people with possibilities.