The European Film Festival is an institution in itself, Liliana Turoiu, chair of the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR), told the opening of the 23rd edition of the event, which took place at the Great Hall of the I.L. Caragiale National Theatre House in Bucharest on Tuesday.
"The European Film Festival is an extraordinary project of the Romanian Cultural Institute, as well as a platform for dialogue and a way of confirming Romania belongs in Europe," said Turoiu, adding that this year's edition will feature 55 films from 23 countries.
The festival takes place between June 11 and June 30 in Bucharest, Ramnicu Valcea, Targu-Mures, Sibiu, and, for the first time, in Chisinau, Moldova.
The event opened with the presentation of two excellence awards by the ICR chair to actors Dorina Lazar and Horatiu Malaele.
"They say that what remains after a man when he is shaken is love, what remains after a country is culture. Thank you from my heart," said Malaele.
Actress Dorina Lazar, who could attend the awards ceremony because she was performing at the Odeon Theatre House, will have her award sent to her home, organisers said.
The evening continued with the screening of the Italian film "Happy as Lazarus" / "Lazzaro Felice," directed by Alice Rohrwacher, the winner of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival's best screenplay award.
The film will be screened again in Bucharest at the Museum Cinema Hall on June 22.
The European Film Festival's projections in Bucharest will take place at Cinema Pro, the Eforie Film Library, the Peasant Museum Cinema, the Elvire Popesco Cinema Hall, the National Museum of Romanian Literature, as well as in alternative spaces, some offered by EUNIC Romania and the European Commission Representation in Romania: the Czech Center, the Cervantes Institute, the Balassi Institute, the European Public Space, 32nd Pavilion / Goethe-Institute Library. Some of the screenings will be accompanied by meetings with filmmakers and actors, as well as concerts, debates, book launches and other special events.
The screenings around the country will take place at the ARTA Cinema Hall (Targu Mures), Geo Saizescu Cinema Hall (Ramnicu Valcea), the Ion Besoiu Cultural Centre (Sibiu) and at the Odeon Cultural Centre in Chisinau.
The European Film Festival is organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute, with support from the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament Information Office, under the aegis of EUNIC Romania, including support from embassies and cultural centres of the other European countries.
The festival is a project launched in 1996 at the initiative of the European Commission Delegation in Romania. After 2007, the year of Romania's accession to the European Union, the festival was taken over by the Romanian Cultural Institute, which continues to organize it every year.