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EURO FILM FEST

Giorgio Ficcarelli • Head of the Culture section at the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

"The initiative aims to open a window of mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue"

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- Giorgio Ficcarelli, head of Culture at EC's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, discusses the "Meet the Neighbours of the Neighbours During COVID-19 Time" initiative

Giorgio Ficcarelli • Head of the Culture section at the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

The European Commission has launched the "Meet the Neighbours of the Neighbours During COVID-19 Time" initiative, a free online festival including 50 feature films: 25 European features accessible in Africa and the Mediterranean, and 25 African ones accessible in Europe and the Balkans, specifically targeting students and youngsters. Giorgio Ficcarelli, head of the Culture section at the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, talks to us about it. The festival is accessible on the web, via Festival Scope (click here).

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Cineuropa: The European Commission recently launched the "Meet the Neighbours of the Neighbours During COVID-19 Time" initiative. Can you tell us more about it?
Giorgio Ficcarelli: The initiative aims to open a window of mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue between the youth of Europe and the youth of Africa and the Mediterranean. The agreement reached with Festival Scope enables students and youngsters from Africa and the Mediterranean to have free access, through the Festival Scope platform, to a selected range of high-quality films from the European Union and the Balkans. At the same time, students and young people from the EU and the Balkans will have a chance to access films by auteurs from Africa and the Mediterranean on the same platform. The digital window has been specifically conceived for young people and students, currently confined to their homes and without any direct physical contact with the “outside” world. Our idea is to favour knowledge about different countries through high-quality content. We hope this initiative will also contribute to enhancing mutual understanding of each other's cultures and building a solid basis to strengthen fertile intercultural dialogues.

How is the initiative linked to the present COVID-19 crisis?
The COVID-19 crisis is keeping the majority of the world’s student population out of school and universities and confined to their homes - often without any alternatives other than most of the time just looking at screens without a precise "menu". The European Union wants to encourage youngsters from both member states and partner countries to find creative ways to keep cultivating their inner self.

How long will European and African people be able to watch the movies for?
The virtual film festival was launched on 9 May, "Europe Day", and will be ongoing until 12 June. Each week, we propose a selection of new films, specifically selected according to their quality and their themes of mutual interest for the youngsters we are addressing.

From Friday 5 June, we are proposing a selection of the best films presented during the previous weeks, plus a new final film, according to the following programme:

The Best of Meet the Neighbours of the Neighbours during COVID-19 time”

For African students:

For European students:

The initiative is jointly implemented by the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, the European External Action Service and the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, in collaboration with the Euro Film Fest project - implemented by Cineuropa, the Goethe-Institut and the Institut français - the Cineteca di Bologna and the European Parliament's LUX Prize.

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