PRAGUE — Panelists debated whether there was a European style of storytelling at the 9th Days of European Film held in Prague and Brno, which wraps on Tuesday (March 26).
Czech Velvet Generation filmmaker Alice Nellis summed up the difference saying, “In America, hero protaganists fight something outside. In Europe, heroes fight with themselves. They try not to define a simplistic vision of the world. In Europe, one finds danger within oneself.”
The panel discussions are a highlight of the 19-day fest, support by the European Union.
Participants included German writer/director Imogen Kimmel, Slovak arthouse filmmaker Juraj Jakubisko and former Barrandov film studio chief Vaclav Marhoul.
Guest helmer Stephen Frears held a separate meeting with students from Prague’s famed FAMU film school.
Kimmel explored the roots of the different styles. “Americans came to a wild country and tried to survive. American culture is defined by winning, and so are the films,” she said. “Europeans are born into an old bed and it comforts us. A European fights for his individual sovereignty.”
The topic evolved into a discussion on how to combat the American dominance of the market, with panelists agreeing that a pan-European distribution entity was essential.
The festival’s own individuality is defined by its focus on films from EU countries. Its success helped foster greater willingness among distributors to screen European films.
Ironically, the festival’s local position has decreased, with slightly fewer screenings and guests this year. Organizers said that the 10th anniversary festival next year will expand to include films from EU countries, while continuing a new section of children’s films begun this year.