Euganea Film Festival 2015

Report by Amos Geva (THE TOUR GUIDE)

I visited the Euganea Film Festival 2015 with the Co-production German-Israeli film ‘The Tour Guide’ (DFFB & TAU). The festival is a very unique one, organized by the community of cinephiles in the Euganea region (30 min from Venice, near the city of Padova), Italy.

This is the 14th year according to the organizers, focusing on animation & documentary films, but also including fiction and shorts. The festival has grown much in the past 4 years, with a dedicated group of young film enthusiasts taking care of every detail to make it such a great experience for the filmmakers and audience alike. Unlike most film festivals that last about 1 week and in 1 location, the Euganea Film Festival takes place in a different venue each night, and over the span of 2 weeks. Every screening brings between 200-300 audience, from across the region, mostly Italian locals. All films are subtitled into Italian by the festival and the Q&A sessions are held in Italian with simultaneous translators. Compared to the ‘big name’ festivals, this is a very different experience. One may compare it to a smaller version of Palm Springs Shortfest, or even of the European film festival in Angers, France.

As an officially invited guest of the festival I was greeted and picked up at the Venice airport, then taken on a short tour in the car of the Padova old city. It is a magnificent place where great artists and scientist such as Galileo Galilei & Donatello spent time and were influenced. I was hosted in a remarkable thermal spa hotel, something the region is famous for. In the evening we were taken out for an official dinner with other guests of the festival, documentary and animation filmmakers, mostly Italian, but world-renowned. For example, the animators behind ‘Chicken Run’, and the creator of the films, Peter Lord, visited the festival just a few days earlier.

The screening was held at an old castle, outdoors, and was predicated by a regional wine tasting event. The audience was packed and engaged, leading to a 15-20 minute Q&A, followed even still by personal approaches after the ending. I would highly recommend sending young filmmakers there, it was a pleasant and enriching experience. However, it is not of high commercial or industrial importance such as the Venice film festival or other larger festival in the area. It is a ‘people’s festival’, comes from the heart and very personal.