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Gladys Lazareff • Directrice, Luxembourg City Film Festival

“Le Luxembourg veut conserver son attrait pour les talents du monde entier, et reconnaît qu’un festival de cinéma est un atout significatif à cet égard”


- La directrice de ce festival organisé dans le Grand-Duché nous donne un aperçu de sa prochaine édition, qui va commencer

Gladys Lazareff  • Directrice, Luxembourg City Film Festival
(© Olivier Vigerie)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

The 14th edition of the LuxFilmFest (Luxembourg City Film Festival), the city’s annual international film gathering, is just around the corner, running from 29 February-10 March (see the news). Cineuropa spoke to Gladys Lazareff, the managing director of the event, who talked about some of the highlights of this imminent edition as well as the importance of the festival for the local and international community. She also explained how the LuxFilmFest promotes inclusivity and diversity.

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Cineuropa: What inspired the selection of this year's line-up of films, and could you highlight any particular themes or trends present in the films being showcased?
Gladys Lazareff:
This edition is clearly situated within the post-COVID context, characterised by personal reflections, re-evaluations of the family unit and contemplation of the future. It’s not surprising, because cinema has always reflected the state of society. This will probably be our most introspective edition yet. It will also reflect the aspirations of Gen Z, known for questioning our lifestyles and consumption habits.

How do you envision the LuxFilmFest contributing to the cultural landscape of Luxembourg?
We are one of Luxembourg’s most highly publicised cultural events. We also serve as a showcase for national productions and talent, with Vicky Krieps as a prominent figure who is available to join our jury this year. Using the arguments specific to festivals, we strive to support a dynamic that ensures Luxembourg's presence at major events, particularly in terms of co-productions. However, our impact is not only measured in terms of image; it is also a tremendous boost for the local economy, including hospitality, catering and commerce. Luxembourg is keen on maintaining its attractiveness to international talents, and it recognises that a film festival is a significant asset in this regard.

Are there any notable guest speakers or special events planned for this year's festival?
Gaspar Noé
's master class is a major highlight, but it will by no means be the only event. We will also have a special programme dedicated to Chinese director Wang Bing, featuring an exhibition, a master class and a retrospective. That’s not to mention an exceptional jury presided over by Ira Sachs.

Could you discuss any initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusivity within the festival?
These themes are ingrained in our DNA. We will showcase a selection of LGBTQIA+ works, while Abderrahmane Sissako will present his latest film, Black Tea [+lire aussi :
fiche film
, following its world premiere in the Berlinale Competition. [We have also offered him] a carte blanche, [with which he has picked] young Cape Verdean director Carlos Yuri Ceuninck and his documentary The New Man. Sissako will then participate in a debate on the state of African cinema. Moreover, our fiction and documentary competitions predominantly feature female directors. We will also host a major professional workshop on cultural appropriation, with the participation of festival directors and international distributors. Similarly, there will be a public conference on the environmental impact of film, from its creation to its presentation, in collaboration with various experts including, among others, Luxembourg’s National Audiovisual Centre, Film Fund Luxembourg, the European Commission and various festival networks.

Could you talk about the role of technology in enhancing the festival experience?
In terms of technological innovation, my first thought is naturally the Virtual Reality Pavilion, which will offer a high-quality competition while also delving into gaming. We have also invested in the user experience by improving our website’s navigation. It is now possible to find your selection in just one click, whether you are specifically interested in films by female directors or those of a particular genre.

Considering global circumstances, what challenges did you face in organising the festival this year, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Like all festivals, we are feeling the full impact of inflation, especially when it comes to hosting guests. Thankfully, we have been fortunate to have supportive partners and, above all, the incredible enthusiasm of a team that’s more motivated than ever.

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