European festival debuts in Estoril

Almodovar to deliver masterclass

The first European Film Festival will bow today with a program of gala events to be held in Europe’s largest casino, an Estoril, Portugal, gambling mecca that inspired Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.”

Pedro Almodovar’s 1984 feature “What Did I Do to Deserve This?” will unspool at the opening gala, and the Spanish helmer will be on hand to receive a lifetime achievement nod, watched by stars from his films including Marisa Paredes, Victoria Abril and Bibiana Fernandez.

On Friday, Almodovar will hold a master class, kicking off a series that features French fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro on Sunday, German director Werner Schroeter on Monday and Chilean director Raoul Ruiz on Nov 17. Almodovar will also be honored with a retrospective, as will helmer David Lynch. The closing award ceremony on Nov. 16 will be hosted by Chiara Mastroianni and includes a screening of Gus Van Sant’s “Paranoid Park.”

Festival will include a Nov. 9-11 gathering of 36 distributors from 16 countries, organized in collaboration with the Europa Distribution network.

Some 14 European features, including the world premiere of Cedric Anger’s “Le Tueur,” will compete for the Golden Nau, which comes with $42,500, and Silver Nau, whose winner receives $28,300.

“We want this to become a major international festival,” said Paulo Branco, fest topper and Portuguese film producer, “offering a reflection on European contemporary cinema.”

B>EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL — COMPETITION

  • “…A Bude Hur,” Petr Nikolaev (Czech Republic)
  • “Actrices,” Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (France)
  • “L’Ete Indien,” Alain Raoust (France)
  • “Garage,” Leonard Abrahamson (Ireland)
  • “Gegenuber,” Jan Bonny (Germany)
  • “Gruz 200,” Aleksei Balabanov (Russia)
  • “La Linea Recta,” Jose Maria de Orbe (Spain)
  • “Madonnen,” Maria Speth (Germany/Switzerland/Belgium)
  • “Nu Te Supara, Dar…,” Adina-Elena Pintilie (Romania)
  • “Miehen Tyo,” Aleksi Salmenpera (Finland)
  • “Yumurta,” Semih Kaplanolu (Turkey/Greece)
  • “Suegisball,” Veiko Ounpuu (Estonia)
  • “Le Tueur,” Cédric Anger (World Premiere) (France)
  • “Tussenstand,” Mijke de Jong (Holland)
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