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Kathrin Kohlstedde • Head of Programme, Filmfest Hamburg

"Sebbene ci siano molte differenze tra loro, gli studenti scoprono di avere anche molto in comune, e i film li aiutano a capirlo e articolarlo"


- La direttrice del Filmfest Hamburg Kathrin Kohlstedde ci parla dell'European University Film Award, il cui vincitore del 2020 sarà annunciato il 10 dicembre

Kathrin Kohlstedde • Head of Programme, Filmfest Hamburg
(© Christoph Tappé)

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Cineuropa talked to Kathrin Kohlstedde about the European University Film Award, launched by Filmfest Hamburg and the European Film Academy in 2016, and which, every year, has European university students watch and discuss five European films before electing the winner themselves.

Cineuropa: What is the European University Film Award, and why did you create it?
Kathrin Kohlstedde:
In 2016, Filmfest Hamburg and the European Film Academy launched the European University Film Award (EUFA), which is presented and voted for by European university students. The aim of this initiative is to involve a younger audience, to spread the "European idea" and to transport the spirit of European cinema to an audience of university students. It shall also support film dissemination, film education and the culture of debating. The discussions within the local universities and during the debate in Hamburg are about fostering a common understanding, articulating values and ideas, searching for a way to understand this world and each other and overcoming national, social and stereotypes.

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What has been, in your opinion, the impact of the award? Do you have the impression that more young people are interested in European content?
The process to elect the award-winner is a multiplier for the love and appreciation of European cinema. During two months, the five nominated films are elaborately discussed in 25 universities in 25 countries in Europe. Let’s say one class has an average of 15 students; frankly, most of them are not watching European cinema in their daily lives, but now, thanks to the award, around 400 young people are deeply diving into European films and discovering their richness, their relation to their personal lives. In discussions with their fellow students, the films are processed in form and content. The final debate, usually taking place physically in Hamburg, puts this discussion on another level, the broader European level. The universities send one delegate student each, so here they are, 25 strangers who at first sight seem to have little in common, but their connection is very easy because they have all seen the same films and the exchange of perspectives is immediate. Though there are many differences between them, in the end, they find out that they also have a lot in common. And the films help them to discover and articulate that.

What are the initiatives you would encourage to foster knowledge of European cinema among young people and to bring young people to watch European films?
You can only fall in love with European cinema by actively experiencing it. The universities we are cooperating with play a big part in that: often, a cine-club develops from the EUFA Class. It’s very much grassroots work, but we believe that every little seed you foster and nourish makes a difference.  

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