BULAWAYO – The European Union Film Festival returns to Bulawayo from October 9-13 for its second edition.

Thanks to a new Film Festival partner, the City of Bulawayo, the acclaimed selection of movies from eleven EU Member States will be screened at the City Hall. Everybody is on the guest list: admission is entirely free.

This year’s EU Film Festival offers a fresh cinematic experience: the programme presents art on a big screen canvas. Whilst all movies are internationally acclaimed and awarded, the focus moves away from mainstream narratives to arthouse movies and a more diverse and unique visual storytelling approach, which includes two documentaries and a feature film.

Our  journey through Europe is characterised by the diverse cultures and facets of the continent, a wide scope of stories that  engage and pay tribute to the common traits of human nature – we touch on friendship, love, hopes, dreams, anger, regrets, misunderstandings and fears that are not only European, but universal. Eleven screenings, spread out across five days,  provide more than 1000 minutes of entertainment and food for thought.

The diversity in narrative will take you from a secret luxury hideout on the Canary Islands to a mental health institution in Italy, from a messy, supernatural family get-together in Portugal into a car with warring politicians in Northern  Ireland in the 1980s. You will meet illustrious and loveable (or less loveable) characters, such as superficial Sebastian in  Sweden, Tom in Germany, who floats randomly through the streets of Berlin, or American novelist and social critic James Baldwin, who documented the assassinations of three Afro-American activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.

New this year is a distinctly African connotation of the Festival: “I am not a Witch”, the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Festival and indeed the opening movie of this year’s line-up (9 October, 5.30pm) , is an award-winning feature drama by Zambian-born Rungano Nyoni.

“Leaving Africa” from Finland documents friendship and determination for an unlikely pair of development aid workers providing sexual health and equality education in a rural Uganda.

Thomas von Handel, Chargé d’ Affairs of the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, said: “We are thrilled to bring this Festival back to Bulawayo, and to have the City of Bulawayo on board as our new partner, which will help grow the event. The selection of movies this year is an even more befitting illustration of European cinema and its artistic variety. And this comes at the right time: in 2018, we celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage, of which cinema forms an integral part as a channel to share our memories, our myths and our narratives.

“Cultural heritage binds us together in all our diversity through our common history and values, as well as the richness and variety of our cultural traditions – and it helps us to design our future.”

During the Film festival week, two films will be screened every evening, before the Festival comes to an end with a binge of four movies on Saturday.

(Check the dedicated Facebook page EUFilmFestivalZim for details on the festival).