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    A Sunday in the Country

    The Idea

    Ten young filmmakers from all parts of Europe meet with several prolific members of the European Film Academy over a weekend. The private atmosphere guarantees a platform for inspiration and for an open-minded encounter. It is an exchange between different generations of filmmakers from various cultural backgrounds – most important for the future of rising talents and the future of European film.

    A Sunday in the Country was initiated in 1995 and is organised in co-operation with different local partners.

    In 2012, an edition with young film journalists and critics was initiated and has successfully been running every year since then with our partners at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw/Poland and supported by various cultural institutions.

    The Aim

    The idea is to learn from each other through the exchange of experience and to build border-crossing personal networks.
    The subjects that are intensively discussed vary from financing and production conditions in the home countries of the young filmmakers who are curious to learn about their colleagues’ personal conditions, their cultural backgrounds, their different ways of storytelling (local heroes – European audiences) and technical questions. The programme includes screenings of films of the participants and the attending EFA members.

    During Coronacrisis, Online Reunion Gathers Former Participants from Across Europe

    For many years, the New Horizons International Film Festival and the European Film Academy have been co-operating in the framework of a special edition of the EFA’s A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY: Instead of filmmakers, this version brings together a group of young film journalists and critics from across Europe – to learn from each other through the exchange of experience and to build border-crossing personal networks. They cook together, watch films and discuss with the directors.
    Such a personal get-together was unfortunately not possible in these times. Instead, there was an online reunion bringing together participants from the past eight editions!

    Sunday 2020 Participants in Zoom Conference

    In these extraordinary times, when film premieres and festivals are cancelled or postponed, the reality of those who write about film has changed dramatically. While restrictions in many countries are slowly and partially lifted, this is not the case everywhere and most of us remain somewhat locked at home. How are people coping? What are they doing? Is there a support scheme that helps journalists through these times? These are some of the issues discussed during the meeting.
    After a round of introductions, we were joined by Polish director Jan Komasa, who has won several Polish Film Awards with his film CORPUS CHRISTI and was eager to talk to us about film criticism and the current situation. We then addressed the current situation across Europe, how people can or cannot work, what associations and governments have done to help. What will change, for the better or worse.

    This edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY took ten participants from eight different countries to the Casa Rossa, a former farm house turned into holiday home in the Italian countryside.

    Participants of the 2019 Sunday in Tuscany

    Here, they were welcomed by host Manfredi Lucibello (director, Italy), two dogs and EFA Members Jukka-Pekka Laakso (managing director, Tampere Film Festival, Finland) and Rebecca O’Brien (Producer, UK) to screen and discuss their films in informal surroundings.
    Situated close to Pisa in Tuscany, the encounter kicked off with a walk to the neighbouring bird sanctuary, and included a cooking class to learn how to make your own pasta and an excursion to the city of Pisa and the Manifatture Digitale Cinema. As always, however, the main focus was on watching each other’s films, talking about them, and on building up an international network.

    The participants were:
    Ana-Maria Comanescu
    Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir
    Elettra Fiumi
    Emanuela Mascherini
    Hristo Simeonov
    Karoline Lyngbye
    Marko Djordjevic
    Sarah Hirtt
    Tommaso Landucci
    Udita Bhargava

    In its eighth edition, A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY for young film critics & journalists moved to a new location – Sowia Dolina in Pieszyce. The idea remained the same: to learn from each other through the exchange of experience and to build border-crossing personal networks. Organised in co-operation with the New Horizons International Film Festival Wroclaw, the meeting brought eight participants together to spend the days watching films and discussing them, cinema and cinephilia in general, and life as a film journalist. In between there was cooking and eating together, and networking in a charming old villa in the Owl Mountains. Expert for this edition was the Italian critic Tommaso Tocci.

    Participants of the 2018 Sunday in Poland

    After an introduction circle on Sunday night, the screening programme kicked off on Monday with DIRTY GOD. The Dutch director Sacha Polak joined the group together with her Greek colleague Syllas Tzoumerkas. The latter made THE MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA which was next on the screening schedule and together they joined the group for an intense and passionate debate before, during and after lunch until it was time to sing happy birthday for our Italian expert.

    After breakfast on Tuesday, the group watched FUGUE by Agnieszka Smoczynska. After a great discussion with the director about the relationship between filmmakers and critics and a lovely pasta lunch prepared by our Italian expert, the final film was the DIVINE LOVE by Gabriel Mascaro, followed by a lively conversation about sex and politics.
    The group was composed of eight people from seven different countries: Alejandro Avila from Spain, Georgiana Mușat from Romania, Klaudia Rachubińska and Maciej Kryński from Poland, Marian Wilhelm from Austria, Márton Mészáros from Hungary, Sergio Sozzo from Italy and Stanislas Ide from Belgium.
    The project was organised by the European Film Academy and New Horizons Association with the support of the Polish Film Institute, the local cultural institutes and the Krzysztof Mętrak competition for young film critics.

    A Movie Bubble of Pleasure in Poland by Stanislas Ide

    A Dreamlike (and Film-Like) Summer With the European Film Academy by Alejandro Ávila

    At the end of June 2018, this edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY kicked off with a get-together and brunch at the Austrian Film Academy.

    Participants of the Sunday in Yspertal

    The actual meeting took place at a farm in Yspertal in Lower Austria where ten young filmmakers met the established Austrian EFA Members Josef Aichholzer (producer) and Florian Pochlatko (director), Florian Weghorn (program manager at Berlinale Talents, Germany) and Jessica Woodworth (director, Belgium / USA) to screen, discuss and exchange their films in informal surroundings.

    The participants were:
    Amanda Kernell (Sweden)
    Clara Stern (Austria)
    David Pinheiro Vicente (Portugal)
    Jakob Brossmann (Austria)
    Jonas Rothlaender (Germany) watch interview
    Luis López Carrasco (Spain)
    Luz Olivares Capelle (Austria) watch interview
    Nora El Hourch (France) watch interview
    Raitis Abele (Latvia)
    Ulla Heikkilä (Finland)

    Impressions of the Sunday in Yspertal

    The encounter included a hike through the magical Yspertal, reflections on European cinema and communal cooking experiences and the actual screenings took place either in the local Stadelcinema or inside the barn, always followed by animated discussions.

    Back in Vienna, the participants were welcomed at a relaxed get-together with members of the Austrian Film Academy, followed by dinner at a typical Viennese Heurigen (wine tavern).

    This edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY was held in co-operation with the Academy of Austrian Film and with the support of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH.

    Sunday Yspertal Sponsors

    It was by now the seventh edition of the EFA’s networking activity A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY for young film critics & journalists: The idea, as always, was to learn from each other through the exchange of experience and to build border-crossing personal networks. Organised in co-operation  with the New Horizons International Film Festival Wroclaw, the meeting again took place at Fregata in Zagórze Śląskie, Lower Silesia.

    A group of nine participants spent the days watching films and discussing them, cinema and cinephilia in general, and life as a film journalist. In between there was cooking and eating together, and networking in a charming old guest house by the Bystrzyckie lake. Expert for this edition was the Swedish critic Hynek Pallas.

    After an introduction circle on Sunday  night, the screening programme kicked off on Monday with HOLIDAY. The Swedish director Isabella Eklöf had already joined the group the day before and now engaged in an intense and passionate debate before lunch. Next was former SUNDAY participant Kuba Mikurda who made LOVE EXPRESS, about Polish director Walerian Borowczyk, and a discussion about film critics turning into filmmakers. After lunch the programme led to ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE, the animated documentary about legendary Polish (war) reporter Ryszard Kapuściński. Guests to discuss with the group were director/animator Damian Nenow and producer Jaroslaw Sawko.

    After breakfast on Tuesday, the group watched MILLA by Valérie Massadian. After a great discussion with the director, the final film was the v-log like essay MY FRIEND THE POLISH GIRL by Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek, followed by a lively conversation about responsibility, in politics and in art.

    The group was composed of nine people from eight different countries: Alexander Zwart (Netherlands), András Huszár (Hungary), Diana Dąbrowska (Poland), Irina Trocan (Romania), Kornelia Sobczak (Poland),
    Maria Bjerregaard
    (Denmark), Matteo Berardini (Italy), Stefanie Borowsky (Germany) and Yael Hirsch (France).

    The project was organized by the European Film Academy and New Horizons Association with the support of the Polish Film Institute, the local cultural institutes and the Krzysztof Mętrak competition for young film critics.

    The latest edition of the EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY brought 15 young filmmakers to the Spanish island of Mallorca.

    Here, they spent a weekend with EFA Board Member Àngela Bosch Ruis, who is the Manager of the Illes Balears Film Commission and of International Promotion, screenwriter Jorge Guerricaechevarría from Spain, Christophe Leparc, Managing Director of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes, and Jani Thiltges from Luxembourg, Head of Studies of EAVE.

    Aimed at bringing together a group of young filmmakers with established EFA Members and experts for a relaxed weekend of screenings, networking and exchange, the project brought the participants to the beautiful Finca Can Corem (“house with heart”). A former dog shelter, the charming finca is now filled with the free spirit of its landlady, a flamenco singer and part-time journalist who even interviewed some of the group.

    These weekends always also include the group preparing and enjoying the meals together and both the “eternal pizza” and Toni’s spectacular seafood paella were beautiful experiences.

    EFA Member Jaume Ripoll, director of the Atlantida Film Festival, came for breakfast and thanks to him the group was invited to the festivals’s closing celebration and witnessed a great discussion with Vanessa Redgrave and her fantastic interpreter.

    This edition was organised in co-operation with the Illes Balears Film Commission and the government of the Balearic Islands and was supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

    This year saw the sixth edition of the EFA’s networking activity A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY for young film critics & journalists. The idea, as always, was to learn from each other through the exchange of experience and to build border-crossing personal networks. Organised in co-operation  with the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival Wroclaw, the meeting again took place at Fregata in Zagórze Śląskie, Lower Silesia.

    A group of ten participants spent the days watching films and discussing them, cinema and cinephilia in general, and life as a film journalist. In between there was cooking and eating together, and networking in a charming old guest house by the Bystrzyckie lake. Expert for this edition was the Austrian critic Magdalena Miedl, free-lancer for SKIP, Wienerin, Red Bulletin, Salzburger Nachrichten et al. 

    After an introduction circle on Saturday night, the screening programme kicked off on Sunday with 78/52, an analysis of the shower scene in Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. The Swiss director Alexandre O. Philippe joined the group for an intense and passionate debate before lunch. Next was opera-inspired KÉKSZAKÁLLÚ by Gastón Solnicki from Argentina, followed by a discussion about film criticism as such and what it means to filmmakers. This included not only the film’s director but also his colleagues Hadas Ben Aroya from Israel and João Pedro Rodrigues from Portugal. Hadas’s debut film PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT ME closed the screening schedule for the day and was followed by a group picture and a big BBQ dinner.

    After breakfast on Monday, the group watched João’s THE ORNITHOLOGIST while the director went on a bird-watching walk around the lake before joining for another discussion circle about nature, inspiration and criticism. The final film was Michel Lipkes’s sinister black&white drama STRANGE BUT TRUE from Mexico, followed by a lively conversation about political and social reality and the role art can play.  

    The group was composed of ten people from eight different countries: Andra Petrescu (Romania), Edoardo Becattini (Italy), Franziska Bechtold (Austria), Hugo Emmerzael (the Netherlands), Karl Leontin Beger (Germany), Patrycja Mucha (Poland), Piotr Czerkawski (Poland), Samina Jakobsen (Denmark), Sebastian Smolinski (Poland) and Tiago J. Silva (Portugal).

    As a former participant said: “It is not only a weekend of thought provoking discussion of the past, present, and future of film criticism. First and foremost, it provides a unique encounter of like-minded and future friends from all over Europe.”

    The project was organized by the European Film Academy and New Horizons Association with the support of the Polish Film Institute, the local cultural institutes and the Krzysztof Mętrak competition for young film critics.

    A new edition of the EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY, supported by Kosovo Cinematography Center and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, took place at the end of April in Kosovo. Aimed at bringing together a group of young filmmakers with established EFA Members and experts for a relaxed weekend of screenings, networking and exchange, the project brought the participants to the mountainous Rugova region north-west of the city of Peć.
    Staying in wooden huts and guarded by cats, participants watched and discussed films, cooked their meals on a grill, explored the mountains, and danced – til the wee morning hours.

    PARTICIPANTS: 
    Aline Schmid, Switzerland
    Dritëro Mehmetaj, Kosovo
    Eva Sigurdardóttir, Iceland
    Hanna Doose, Germany
    Irene Dionisio, Italy
    Lukas Dhont, Belgium
    Marleen Jonkman, Netherlands
    Mikael Bundsen, Sweden
    More Raca, Kosovo
    Noar Sahiti, Kosovo
    Puk Grasten, Denmark
    Soteris Christou, Cyprus
    Triin Ruumet, Estonia

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – MEMBERS & EXPERTS

    Jukka-Pekka Laakso – Managing Director Tampere Film Festival, Finland
    Lluís Miñarro – director and producer, Spain
    Veton Nurkollari – photographer and producer, Kosovo

    For the fifth time, a special edition of the EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY gathered a group of young film critics and journalists. Organised in co-operation  with the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival Wroclaw, and while the festival kicked off, the meeting took place at Fregata in Zagórze Śląskie, Lower Silesia.
    The group spent the days watching movies and talking about them, and about cinema and cinephilia in general, cooking and eating together, and networking in a charming old guest house by the Bystrzyckie lake. Expert for this edition was the Dutch critic Dana Linssen from NRC Handelsblad and de Filmkrant.

    On Friday the participants watched the Polish-British co-production ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS and discussed with the director Michal Marczak who stayed for the whole weekend. They were joined by two more directors: Mike Ott, whose film ACTOR MARTINEZ (co-directed with Nathan Silver, USA) they screened next, and jury member Gust Van den Berghe from Belgium whose 2010 Cannes debut LITTLE BABY JESUS OF FLANDR the group screened on Saturday morning. After a lively discussion about art and inspiration, they watched INERTIA and then welcomed Israeli director Idan Haguel for dinner and inspiring talks about the role of the critic in a filmmaker’s career and the expectations or demands the professions have towards each other. The conversations continued long into the night.
    The group was composed of twelve people from ten different countries: Ádám Csiger (Hungary), Klara Cykorz (Poland), Freja Dam (Denmark), Yael M. Danon (Israel), Mirela Delic (Germany), Grzegorz Fortuna (Poland), Iratxe Fresneda (Spain), Anja Krämer (Austria), Andreea Mihalcea (Romania), Rudolf Schimera (Czech Republic), Jelle Schot (the Netherlands) and Hannes Wesselkämper (Germany).

    As a former participant said: “It is not only a weekend of thought provoking discussion of the past, present, and future of film criticism. First and foremost, it provides a unique encounter of like-minded and future friends from all over Europe.”

    Other guests included Jakub Duszyński, director at Gutek Film distribution company, Monika Richter from filmPOLSKA’s critics programme “Über Filme schreiben …” (Writing About Films) and Robert Dwernicki of b88 Seed and Venture Capital.

    The project was organized by the European Film Academy and New Horizons Association with the support of the Polish Film Institute, the local cultural institutes and the Krzysztof Mętrak competition for young film critics.

    On the 7th day the goddess of film looked back on what she created over the last days. She saw some wonderful people, she heard from them ideas and plans for something called “Future”, and she saw exciting things they created for a room they called “cinema”. So, she was satisfied and thought she should do something great. She created food, invented the schnaps and added some cute animals (a cat) to cuddle. Last but not least, she called this part of the world “Liepe” and this very special day “SUNDAY”.

    Florian Weghorn

    The third edition of the Sunday in the Country in 2016, supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, took place in a picturesque village called Liepe in the Havelland region. Known to as one of the darkest areas in Germany, rather than being grim, it’s actually floodlit by the starry sky’s luminescence. A curious soul trying to look for it on Google maps would be doomed to failure and inevitably sent to its bigger namesake on the other side of Berlin. EFA’s annual meetings of young European filmmakers earned their name by making countrysides and secluded locations their essential ingredients. Lack of cell phone reception, limited access to technology, shared common spaces and openness to collective experience are the necessary elements of every Sunday in the Country with EFA. As Nikola Joetze – the event’s co-ordinator since 2003 – explains:

    Such conditions are necessary to facilitate the exchange of energy, creativity, experience. They also help participants to recharge the batteries. Every time we are about to begin I’m worried: Is it going to work out this time? This crazy gathering of different people? If you organise a regular party – a DJ, some food and alcohol already constitute half of what you need. There are buttons that you can push. You can’t design such conditions to facilitate friendship or create a family-like atmosphere. But it works over and over again, since our participants share space, time and knowledge with people who have been through similar things. There’s a language that they share.

    The schedule for the weekend is kept loose but within particular constraints. Some groups like to sleep longer, tell stories and dance by the bonfire till the early morning, others tend to dissolve into group screenings, analyzing each other’s work. Every Sunday in the Country has its unique rhythm, although it follows a few principles that are mostly kept secret, so they can surprise the participants and shape initial interactions. Nikola lets us have a sneak-peak into one of those:

    It starts with a toast. We try to distract them and take it as far as possible from the self-presentation. Everyone brings alcohol from their own country or the one that somehow connects with their lives. So, they have drinks, make toasts and tell stories of these particular alcohols. There’s one toast a person. First those alcohols are introduced and then we put them in the bar for everyone to use.

    Life is like a box of chocolates and you all were a very tasty selection! Thank you for a wonderful time with so many touching and memorable toasts! Thank you for connecting unique and exciting people, creating the perfect setting for deep conversations and funny moments that led to new friendships! (or a new family). EFA, you are awesome! Keep rolling!

    Love, Steffi / The Trouble Notes

    Another organising factor, and one that is not being kept as a secret, is the presence of the mentors. In spite of the authority invested in the idea of the mentoring itself, our respected guests come to the country as more experienced colleagues who join the participants during their daily activities, talks and festivities. It’s all about finding encouragement, opening yourself up for other points of view, sharing your work with someone you respect. In Liepe, there was EFA director Marion Döring offering insights into the industry and festival circuit, Berlinale Talents’ manager Florian Weghorn and director Volker Schlöndorff leading the line-up:

    Nikola Joetze: Volker Schlöndorff came on Saturday and we went for a walk together, because we wanted to avoid a noble table discussion. We had a toast with him and he told us about actors. Speaking with his whole body, he gave a speech of appreciation for the actor – a difficult and unvalued role. I filled the glass with mineral water at some point and you could hear its echo. Everyone was silent, as if a guru was speaking. There was nothing you could add. It was a “Dead Poets Society” moment.

    Dear people, dear friends,

    As a French girl, coming from the East Side of the country – Alsace – I discovered Volker Schlöndorff in the early years of high school. It was so huge to watch THE TIN DRUM – the first “monument” that gave me the feeling of the “History” and “Destiny”, something bigger than me. So, I moved to Germany (Berlin) to become a student in political science exactly one day after the events of 11 September 2001.

    Finally, after covering a long way, I became a filmmaker because of my relation to Germany. It was just a great conversation to have during this weekend in the country in Brandenburg with Volker Schlöndorff and other guys that were invited. I just want to say thank you. I’m honoured and feel strong emotions.

    Aline Fischer

    The participants are chosen in a twofold manner. Some are proposed by the national film institutes and partners with whom our excursions are being organized, some the EFA team just bumps into on the way, feeling that they would add something unique to the group. There’s always an inspiring diversity among participants coming from all corners of Europe – youngest were in their early twenties, oldest in mid-forties, they’re often directors, but also actors, producers or cinematographers, dealing both with documentary and fiction, making shorts and full-features.

    This year the group consisted of 12 participants:

    • Aline Fischer, France
    • Bernadette Knoller, Germany
    • Conor Barry, Ireland
    • Hamy Ramezan, Finland
    • Joanna Szymańska, Poland
    • Leonie Krippendorff, Germany
    • Margarita Melià Rigo, Spain
    • Nerma Mehadzic, Croatia
    • Ondrej Hudecek, Czech Republic
    • Patrick Vollrath, Austria
    • Rudolph Herzog, Germany
    • Vytautas Puidokas, Lithuania

    They all had an opportunity to share their work with each other, discuss it, analyse and exchange impressions. However, the environment that the Sunday in the Country provides is not school-like, the purpose of that exchange is not evaluation but mutual help. For Nikola, this is one of the weekend’s highlights and as loose as the program itself often becomes, it always finds its way in:

    I always make people show their work even if they don’t want to. This is the way of introducing themselves, coping with the group that is open and willing to listen. It’s usually good for them. There’s a different level of connection and speaking to each other after seeing those films. On the first night, people who seem more alike stick together, on the second, they usually hang out more with people that they connected with through their works. They have a very special connection, a type of intimacy that is developed through similar experiences. Something that we, as organisers, will never have with them.

    Having so much talent in one room, good and enjoyable people, Volker Schlöndorff crying and some awesome alcohol included, what could possibly go wrong? Thank you for making this happen! Always in my heart!

    Nerma

     

    And if anyone wondered, on the actual Sunday, concluding this edition of the Sunday in the Country, participants hit the waterfront and took a boat trip with live-music, delivered by the invited band – The Trouble Notes. On the boat meant for approx. 120 passengers, our 12 participants, mentors and the band drifted into the sunset, with people on the river banks snapping photos and dancing to the music. Therefore, our filmmakers became subjects for other people’s lenses, actors of sorts, in an embodied punchline to Volker’s story.

    Somewhere here [Sunday in the Country memory book] I read about “humiliation” followed by the enigmatic list of wonderful films… I don’t know what they meant by this during the Polish summer of 2014… but I felt totally humiliated myself last night by not being able to pass on some of my own experiences to this group of avidly listening youngsters.

    How to find words to speak about working with actors!?! The intimate, heartbreaking and fate breeding experience … 55 years of making and dreaming and hustling and “orgasming” while waiting, processing, shooting, editing, spotting music. What a unique trade and craft is ours, all the wonderful people and how we meet each other. A line in my new film RETURN TO MONTAUK says: “You don’t only dream in your books / aka films / you dream in your life!”. Well yes, I do, and I did during this weekend. Thank you all. Thanks EFA, thanks Marion for dragging me here – and away from here.

    Volker Schlöndorff

    Life should consist mostly of weekends like this. Thank you people. And animals.

    Bernie

    Early in June, the Croatian island of Ugljan in the Zadar archipelago became the place to take in a group of filmmakers escaping everyday life, curiously waiting to meet with their new (film) family members. Under the first beams of a hot summer sun, surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, it was easy to leave everything behind on the mainland and get new inspiration from each other’s company.

    photo of people standing outside
    Zadar 2015

    Housed in Stocco Castle with meals served outside under a vine-covered pergola, the participants, among them former and current nominees, had the chance to watch each other’s films, discuss, cook and eat together. The highlights included a fresh seafood dinner on the berth as the sun set, a swim in the Mediterranean, a boat tour on an old fishing boat and a visit of a monastery.

    PARTICIPANTS: Alexander Nanau (Germany / Romania), Anita Andreis (Croatia), Carlos Marqués-Marcet (Spain), Ester Amrami (Israel / Germany), Germinal Roaux (Switzerland), Guy Lichtenstein (Israel / Austria), Ivan Kelava (Croatia), Mark Noonan (Ireland), Marta Lewandowska (Poland), Sonja Prosenc (Slovenia), Vanya Rainova (Bulgaria), Victor Lindgren (Sweden)

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – MEMBERS & EXPERTS: Christophe Leparc (Managing Director, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, France), Helena Danielsson (producer, Sweden), Ognjen Sviličić (director, Croatia)

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – SECRETARIAT:
    Nikola Joetze (Event Management & TV Sales European Film Awards)

    AVVANTURA – CREATIVE PRODUCTION COMPANY: Sergej Stanojkovski (director / festival director)

    What a wonderful mish mash of beautiful people. A time and people never to forget! Thank you EFA for this new family!
    – Alexander Nanau –

    To talk about cinema with such an amazing group of diverse and beautiful people from all over Europe and beyond has been a life-changing experience. The swimming, the talking, the drinking, the eating, the viewing of everyone’s films – I will never forget. 
    – Mark Noonan –

    Here’s what I want from life: Conversations that neither tire nor bore me; delicious food (thank you, Ester and Carlos); good wine; and films that move me. So, ask, and you shall be granted.
    – Vanya Rainova –

    I wish life was always this pleasant as this weekend has been. I guess we would miss suffering in real life a bit more, but for a weekend it really made me appreciate the time being.
    – Carlos Marqués-Marcet –

    This edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY was organised in co-operation with Avvantura Creative Production Company and with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH.

    Another edition of the EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY in Byków, near Wrocław, this version for young film critics and journalists, was organized as a part of the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival for the 4th time on the last days of July 2015 (30 July – 2 August).

    The group spent the days cooking together, networking, watching movies and talking about them and cinema and cinephilia in general in a charming house by the woods.

    photo of people around paddling pool
    Wroclaw 2015

    On Friday the participants watched the Polish-Swedish co-production THE HERE AFTER and the film H. (Argentina, USA). The director-producer duos of both films, Magnus von Horn and Mariusz Włodarski and subsequently Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, were present for lunch and dinner and engaged in a discussion about the role of the critic in a filmmaker’s career and the expectations or demands the professions have towards each other. On Saturday the participants watched RUINED HEART by Khavn de la Cruz, a juror of this year’s New Horizons competition, who joined for lunch and discussion.

    On Saturday evening Kaleem Aftab, this SUNDAY’s expert and established British critic and author introduced THE INSIDE MAN by Spike Lee. The conversations continued long into the night.

    The group was composed of eight people from eight different European countries:

    Anka Herbut (Poland)
    Andrey Arnold (Austria)
    Astrid Jansen (Belgium)
    Katerina Lambrinova (Bulgaria)
    Pete Wu (the Netherlands)
    Tara Karajica (Serbia)
    Thomas Sejersen (Denmark)

    As one of them commented: “It is not only a weekend of thought provoking discussion of the past, present, and future of film criticism. First and foremost, it provides a unique encounter of like-minded and future friends from all over Europe.”

    The project was organized by the European Film Academy and New Horizons Association with the support of the local cultural institutes and Krzysztof Mętrak Award.

    As the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw was coming to an end, a small group of cinephiles gathered in an experimental-looking house outside the city next to the forest: six young film critics and journalists from Belgium, Hungary, Latvia and Poland who met for three days to watch films, discuss and exchange ideas and experiences. They met with EFA Member Chusa Lopéz Monjas, veteran Spanish film critic who now co-ordinates the department of communications of the Spanish Academy of Cinematograhic Arts and Sciences.

    photo of group of people at night
    Wroclaw 2014

    Throughout the weekend, they watched the Greek films HOMELAND by Syllas Tzoumerkas and LUTON by Michalis Konstantatos, and the French films THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ by Guillaume Nicloux and QUAI D’ORSAY by Bertrand Tavernier. Most of all, they got to know each other and discussed, sometimes passionately, their views, over breakfast, after screenings, while preparing meals, around the dinner table, and well into the night: What’s the responsibility, if there is one, of a critic towards (national) film productions? And towards the reader? What is the reality for film critics in different countries?

    This was the third edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY for film critics and journalists to discuss outside of the restraints and busy schedules of festivals and offices, to share their different experiences and, possibly above all, their passion for film. Presented together with the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival it was again possible to bring in a filmmaker, Greek director Michalis Konstantatos, not to do a round-table interview or press conference, but to join this funny little family that had just cooked him dinner.

    PARTICIPANTS:
    Dorota Chrobak, Poland
    Adam Kruk, Poland
    Elli Mastorou, Belgium
    Aıstė Račaıtytė, Lithuania
    Judit Vajda, Hungary
    Artur Zaborski, Poland

    EXPERT:
    Chusa Lopéz Monjas, Spain

    GUEST:
    Michalis Konstantatos, Greece

    In the second smallest sovereign nation in Europe, big things were happening when 14 young and aspiring filmmakers from 11 countries (Azerbaijan, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Slovenia, Spain and Ukraine) came together for A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY at a special retreat in the beautiful countryside of Luxembourg. Sharing their knowledge and experience with the group were the three EFA Members Jani Thiltges (producer, Luxembourg), who was this year’s host, George Ovashvili (director, Georgia) and Christophe Leparc (Managing Director of the “Quinzaine des Réalisateurs” at the Cannes Film Festival, France).

    Surrounded by an impressive kitchen garden with not only a pond nearby, but a trampoline and some animals as well, and united by their passion for film, intense conversations and discussions evolved. Once again it was great to see how such a diverse group of people starts merging after only a short time, how complete strangers get themselves into the adventure of the unknown and emerge as friends who seem to have known each other for very long. Besides enjoying specialties like Lebanese catering, self-made gnocchi or a huge portion of fish and chips, the participants became a real film family while watching each other’s work in a private cinema. In addition to these daily screenings, some of them at midnight, the group also explored the city of Luxembourg and visited the oldest city fair of Europe, the “Schueberfouer”.

    PARTICIPANTS
    Neus Ballús (Spain), Rebecca Cremona (Malta), Ujkan Hysaj (Kosovo), Elmar Imanov (Azerbaijan), Max Jacoby (Luxembourg), Rahela Jagric (Slovenia), Félix Koch (Luxembourg), Jakob Lass (Germany), Jacques Molitor (Luxembourg), Cristina Picchi (Italy), Yael Reuveny (Israel), Natalia Saufert (Moldova), Julie Schroell (Luxembourg), Maryna Vroda (Ukraine)

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – MEMBERS & EXPERTS
    Christophe Leparc (France) – Managing Director Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
    George Ovashvili (Georgia) – director
    Jani Thiltges (Luxembourg) – producer

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – SECRETARIAT
    Nikola Joetze – Event Management & TV Sales European Film Awards
    Elena Schulze – Intern

    IN CORPORATION WITH FILM FUND LUXEMBOURG
    Françoise Lentz – Promotion / PR / General Affairs
    Sébastien Tasch – Project Manager

    SUPPORTED BY
    Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH

    “I think, if any movie lover would ask the question what a perfect weekend would be like, it would probably be the 14 young filmmakers who spent A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY in Luxembourg to give the best answers. Watching the other directors’ movies together, discussing their works, eating, drinking, taking little walks before returning to the screening room with the great projector – all this may seem unpretentious, but in fact it turns out to be a wonderful way to generate a network without any national borders. The get-togethers with deep discussions took place in a warm atmosphere of mutual learning, and a strong team spirit immediately developed. Thanks to our three experts, who equally participated in the debates and contributed their knowledge, a real exchange between the generations of filmmakers, that in my opinion is so valuable for newcomers, was possible!”
    – Neus Ballús –

    “I frankly can claim that during these days on A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY, we became a film family! In some way it felt like we were kids doing stuff while their parents are absent. But instead of only playing, fighting and breaking things like their mother’s vases, we watched films and shared our cinematic experiences! It was a pleasure getting to know everyone on a professional basis by sharing our work. I hope we will repeat this great experience in Kosovo in the near future.
    – Ujkan Hysaj –

    “I would like to thank every single one for an extraordinary time! I’ll always remember how we cooked pasta and baked apple pie, and I won’t forget the impressions from everyone’s films. I really enjoyed all the warm discussions and having dinner together! Let’s hope we’ll all meet again!”
    – Maryna Vroda –

    “I’m super glad I had the chance to be a part of this – I learned so much and still feel like being in a film-exhilaration!”
    – Julie Schroell –

    “It was a real pleasure to spend this weekend with so many talented young filmmakers and I would be very interested in following everyone’s future works!”
    – Christophe Leparc –

    “In my opinion, A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY is a very interesting and important project. I guess it really helps the young filmmakers, but it was a unique experience for me as well. This project gives the possibilities to make our community of filmmakers stronger, and it makes a significant contribution to developing the film industry. I really enjoyed staying on this beautiful farm. I am sure that those amazing memories will stay with me for a long time!”
    – George Ovashvili –

    Close to the Serbian-Hungarian border and home of the European Film Festival Palić, the resort town of Palić was the venue of the EFA Initiative A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY. Before the backdrop of a beautiful landscape and in an atmosphere of passion for European cinema, thirteen directors from Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg,The Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland and UK gathered for a weekend of encounters and exchange. They met with EFA Members Jim Sheridan (director, Ireland), Nikolaj Nikitin (director of SOFA – School of Film Agents, Germany) and Miroslav Mogorovic (producer, Serbia). Joining the group was expert Christophe Leparc, managing director of the “Quinzaine des Réalisateurs” at the Cannes Film Festival. The troop was hosted by EFA Member and director Stefan Arsenijević at the “Majkin Salas” (Majkin Farm), a peaceful oasis surrounded by acres of land with luxuriant vegetation, a pond and a horse breeding house.

    Throughout the weekend, they attended the European Film Festival Palić closing ceremony and watched Jim Sheridan’s film MY LEFT FOOT, they explored the city of Subotica with its magnificent architecture and sailed on the beautiful Palić Lake. Under the passionate supervision of “chef” Igor Skala, they also had the chance to prepare and taste delicious local food directly on the lakeshore. The screenings of each other’s films led to very intense discussions, to the point that other activities were called off… After a last dinner, accompanied by the Tamburica Orchestra, the night developed in a late and “ad hoc” karaoke session.

    Once the encounter was over, the very same week, a bunch of enthusiastic participants who hadn’t left Serbia met again in Belgrade for a first reunion, and later on in Berlin – which shows a lot about the strength of the connections this EFA Initiative is able to create…

    photo of group in nature
    Palic 2013

    Both extremely intense and absolutely relaxed, “A Sunday in the Country” manages the hardest thing: to put in one house 12 complete strangers, all of them film directors, who, three days later, become close friends. One of the best, craziest and most inspiring projects I’ve ever participated.
    – Stefan Arsenijević –

    Great place, great food, great people and great films. But the best was the feeling to become part of a bigger (film) family. What a beautiful way to spend the weekend. Thank you EFA!
     – Gabriel Gauchet –

    This short trip to Palić has been much more than a simple “Sunday in the Country”! I leave this wonderful resort with a suitcase filled with the landscape and the architecture of Serbia … the incredible taste of food…hours and hours of films … emotions… engaged discussions… poetry. I bring back with me the great affection of Marion and Nikola, who have brought all of us in this crazy adventure, the vivacity and the sharp gaze of Jim, who has been for us an attentive guide… and what is more important, the creativity, the dreams and the result of extremely hard work by Jenneke, Cathy, Senka, Gabriel, Jan, Oggj, Valerie, Felix, Dane, Goran, Florian and Astra… My only concern is that with so many things in my suitcase, I don’t know how much extra-charge I will have to pay at the check-in! Arrivederci Palić!
    – Andrea Iannetta –

    “A Sunday in the Country”: all the advantages of a family meeting without the disadvantages! The “A Sunday in the Country” is an incredible experience you let me live. It was like a new family meeting but without all the problems of a family. As a kind of “uncle” and “Peeping Tom” (I assume I could be uncle Tom now…), I feel a lot of gratitude to you: first, I want to congratulate you for the choice of Jim Sheridan as the godfather, he’s so generous, it was so easy to talk about cinema and anything else with him that I think he brought a lot to all the directors for their future. Thanks to have given me the opportunity to be on his side. Second, congratulations for the choice of the panel of the young directors: so much talent in such a little square! For me it is an incredible opportunity to follow them in their future works, and, as far as I can read in all the correspondences between all of them, you, the team of EFA, can be proud of having succeeded in creating such a family!
    – Christophe Leparc –

    The weekend in Palić is one to remember for a long time. Firstly, I was astonished by the beautiful countryside surrounding: nature, horses, specific architecture and warmth. The place was filled with great people who welcomed us with their special kind of Serbian hospitality, their great food and drinks, their songs and dances. I shared long discussions about the films with the participants and the experts. It was great to see so many films and to share our love for cinema. I hope I will stay in touch with everybody!
    – Astra Zoldnere –

    PARTICIPANTS:
    Jenneke Boeijink, The Netherlands
    Cathy Brady, Ireland
    Senka Domanović, Serbia
    Gabriel Gauchet, UK
    Jan-Ole Gerster, Germany
    Ognjen Glavonić, Serbia
    Valerie Gudenus, Switzerland
    Andrea Iannetta, Italy
    Félix Koch, Luxembourg
    Dane Komljen, Serbia
    Goran Mihailov, Romania
    Florian Pochlatko, Austria
    Astra Zoldnere, Latvia

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY- MEMBERS & EXPERTS:
    Stefan Arsenijević, director, Serbia
    Christophe Leparc, managing director Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, France
    Nikolaj Nikitin, founder & director SOFA – School of Film Agents, Germany
    Miroslav Mogorovic, producer, Art & Popcorn, Serbia
    Jim Sheridan, director, Ireland & Fran Sheridan

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – SECRETARIAT:
    Marion Döring, Director
    Nikola Joetze, Event Management & TV Sales

    IN CO-OPERATION WITH:
    Art & Popcorn
    European Film Festival Palić

    SUPPORTED BY:
    Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
    Ministry of Culture and Information of Serbia

    photo of small stream in countryside

    25 – 28 July 2013 in Wroclaw, Poland

    As the New Horizons film festival in Wroclaw was coming to an end, a small group of cinephiles gathered in an experimental-looking house outside the city next to the forest: eight young film critics and journalists from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland who met for three days to watch films, discuss and exchange ideas and experiences. They met with EFA Members Jakub Duszynski, distributor from Poland, and Peter Paul Huth, veteran film critic for German broadcaster ZDF. 

    photo of group in forest
    Wroclaw 2013

    Throughout the weekend, they watched WHAT’S THIS FILM CALLED LOVE? by Mark Cousins (UK), NOCHE by Leonardo Brzezicki (Argentina), FLOATING SKYSCRAPERS by Tomasz Wasilewski (Poland) and L’INCONNU DU LAC by Alain Guiraudie (France). They cooked for and ate with Polish critic & jury member Błażej Hrapkowicz and with the directors Mark Cousins, Leonardo Brzezicki and Tomasz Wasilewski. Most of all, they got to know each other and discussed, sometimes passionately, their views, over breakfast, after screenings, while preparing dinner, around a bonfire and pool, and well into the night: What’s the responsibility, if there is one, of a critic towards (national) film productions? And towards the reader? What is the reality for film critics in different countries? Who are idols in film journalism? How realistically should sex be portrayed in film? 

    This was the second edition of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY bringing together film critics and journalists to discuss outside of the restraints and busy schedules of festivals and offices, to share their different experiences and, possibly above all, their passion for film. Presented together with the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival it was again possible to bring in some filmmakers, not to do a round-table interview or press conference, but to join this funny little family that had just cooked them dinner. 

    PARTICIPANTS:
    Bartosz Czartoryski, Poland
    Nicolas Gilson, Belgium
    Bálint Kovács, Hungary
    Luís Mendonça, Portugal
    Adriana Prodeus, Poland
    Ola Salwa, Poland
    Tomas Stejskal, Czech Republic
    Muriele Weber, Switzerland

    EXPERT:
    Peter Paul Huth, Germany

    GUESTS:
    Leonardo Brzezicki, director, Argentina
    Mark Cousins, director, UK
    Błażej Hrapkowicz, film critic, Poland
    Tomasz Wasilewski, director, Poland

    photo of group of people in single file through a field

    For the first time, the EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY travelled outside of Europe bringing seven young filmmakers from Europe – Julie Bille (Denmark), Richard Böhringer (Germany), Carolina Hellgård (Sweden), Ray Marhuenda Pic (Spain), Kordian Piwowarski (Poland), Alice Rohrwacher (Italy), and Gust Van den Berghe (Belgium) – all the way to India. Here they met with seven young filmmakers from India: Amit Abhyankar, Kanchan Ghosh, Tushar Prakesh, Tathagata Singha, Siddharth Sinha, Shalini Usha Nair and Ujjwal Utkarsh. Realised in co-operation with the Goethe Institute (which in India is the Max Mueller Bhavan), the project brought the group to Morna, an idyllic place out in the countryside of Uttar Pradesh, where they watched and discussed each other’s films, cooked and ate Indian, European, and increasingly Indo-European food together, and explored the environment.

    photo of people carrying huge packages on their heads

    Joining the group were EFA Member Jakub Duszyński (distributor, Poland), Indian director / environmentalist Pradip Krishen who brought along his 1989 film IN WHICH ANNIE GIVES IT THOSE ONES, and Czech film critic Dominika Prejdová, creating an atmosphere of exchange between different generations of filmmakers from various cultural backgrounds.

    photo of Indian god Hanuman behind scaffolding
    statue of Hanuman

    In addition to the daily screenings, the programme included a safari of the wildlife sanctuary, a trip to the Ganga river, and a visit to Shukratal (with a visit to the Hanuman temple).

    photo of a crowded road in New Delhi
    New Delhi

    A final two days in Delhi gave the participants enough time to discover the Indian capital and included screenings at the Max Mueller Bhavan of the 2009 Discovery winner KATALIN VARGA and a selection of short films nominated for the European Film Awards 2011.

    group of people on lawn
    India 2012

    A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY EXTENDED was realised in the framework of the celebratory year “India + Germany 2011 – 2012: Infinite Opportunities” and supported by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the German Federal Foreign Office, the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the label “Germany – Land of Ideas”.

    group of people standing around dwarf statue

    The EFA project A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY is always an adventure: we bring together a group of individuals, most of whom don’t know each other, to spend a couple of days together as a family watching films, discussing, cooking and eating together. For the first time we did this with a group of young film critics and journalists – from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Portugal.
    They met with EFA Members Jakub Duszynski, distributor from Poland, and Jean Roy from France, veteran film critic for L’Humanité.

    Throughout the weekend, they watched POST TENEBRAS LUX, DE JUEVES A DOMINGO and 33 SCENES FROM LIFE, they took a tour of Wroclaw, and they cooked for and had dinner with Carlos Reygadas, Dominga Sotomayor and Bela Tarr. Most of all, they discussed, talked and exchanged views. What is the reality for film critics in different countries? Is it possible to make a living by writing about film?

    It appears an important and gratifying task to bring together film critics and journalists to discuss outside of the restraints and busy schedules of festivals and offices, to exchange their different experiences and, possibly above all, to share their passion for film. Even more so, if it is possible to bring in some filmmakers, not to do a round-table interview or press conference, but to join this special little family that has just cooked them dinner.

    A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY in Wroclaw was realised in co-operation with the t-mobile new horizons international film festival.

    A Sunday in the Country in Rozbitek (Poland), 23 – 26 September 2011

    On what must have been one of the last warm weekends of the year, a group of young members of the European film community – filmmakers and composers – headed east towards the venue of this year’s SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY: The nineteenth-century castle of Rozbitek, located deep in the Polish woods, close to Poznań. They were the first guests at the Instytut Rozbitek, a new retreat serving as a platform for artistic exchange and creative work, founded and directed by Academy Award winner, composer and EFA Member Jan A.P. Kaczmarek. The EFA initiative brought together EFA Members Jakub Duszyński (distributor, Poland), Max Richter (composer, UK) Monika Willi (editor, Austria), and Jan A.P. Kaczmarek himself with composers and filmmakers from Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

    A special focus on sound and music not only accompanied the screenings and discussions, but also the late night talks, often developing into jam-sessions. On long strolls through the grounds and an excursion to a WWII bunker system, during self-prepared meals in the ballroom or a barbecue at the shores of the castle’s own lake, the participants drew upon the exchange of ideas between filmmakers from different professional backgrounds. The castle’s old attic with its wooden beams became a creative space for the screenings: A comfortable atmosphere developed in which projects, drafted or finished, were presented and discussed, followed by an exchange of thoughts and giving inspiring feedback to one another, commenting, advising, encouraging with high involvement. When the group left the country retreat, it truly felt like a little film family at the end of a beautiful weekend encounter with colleagues and newly found friends.

    group of people sitting on steps in front of brickstone building
    Rozbitek 2011

    “A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY? It is the best kept secret of European film industry. It is not a virtual, but real connection with wonderful people who love films. During SUNDAY you make new friends, you talk films, and you get profoundly inspired in a very relaxed atmosphere. Unforgettable experience” – Jakub Duszyński

    “It is absolutely miraculous that the orbits of so many individuals have crossed for a weekend in the same spot of universe … A spot quite unusual and very special – The Rozbitek Institute … I am still amazed by the atmosphere, the spirit of sharing and the openness of everybody. I am sure that we will stay in touch for a long time and that this SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY was just a prelude to many friendships, bonds and future collaborations … Thank you Rozbitek … Thank you EFA …”
    – Krzysztof A. Janczak

    “It was one of the best weekends of my life. The chance of being amongst bright and gifted people and having the opportunity of showing my work in a safe environment was a really great experience. Everybody was so kind and it was great learning from their professional experiences, which were so different from my own. I would repeat it in the future for sure.” – Patrick Mendes

    “Life is surprising. You feel it especially when you wake up in a beautiful castle surrounded by old trees and filled with extremely creative and friendly people. You party, you talk art and you eat most delicious things. That’s what I call pure bliss!”
    – Jan Duszyński

    Participants:
    Panu Aaltio – composer, Finland
    Natali Drosou – composer, Poland
    Jan Duszyński – composer, Poland
    Marinus Groothof – writer / director, the Netherlands
    Hildur Guðnadóttir – composer, Iceland
    François Hien – directore, France
    Krzysztof Janczak – composer / sound designer, Poland
    Patrick Mendes – director / producer, France / Portugal
    Łukasz Pieprzyk – composer, Poland
    An Pierlé – singer-songwriter, Belgium
    Christopher Slaski – composer, UK
    Fernando Velásquez – composer, Spain
    David Wnendt – director / screenwriter, Germany

    EFA Members & experts:
    Jakub Duszyński – distributor, Poland
    Jan A.P. Kaczmarek – composer, Poland
    Max Richter – composer, UK/Germany
    Monika Willi – editor, Austria

    This SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY has been supported by:
    Instytut Rozbitek
    Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
    Polish Film Institute

    A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY in Girona, 24 – 27 September 2010

    Can Piferrer, a small 18th-century farmhouse somewhere in the green hills not far from the picturesque town of Girona was the venue for this year’s SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY. The annual encounter brings together young and up-coming European filmmakers with EFA members & experts, this time distributor Jakub Duszyński from Poland, German director/screenwriter Dani Levy and Spanish producer Antonio Saura.
    An inspirational atmosphere surrounded the place from the moment of the group’s first encounter: Whether it was preparing dinner together, watching each other’s films, or discussing present and future projects while wandering the streets of the old town of Girona or inspecting ancient filmmaking equipment at the Museu del Cinema – The surrounding mountains, quiet and deserted, were inspiration for a lot of creative output: a communal idea, an eerie picture, a magic little story…
    The experts’ feedback, representing the different perspectives within the industry, was as valuable and productive as talking about the participants’ own films. A special surprise came when Hungarian director Bálint Szimler received the message that his short film HERE I AM was nominated at the Drama International Short Film Festival for this year’s European Film Awards. What an encouraging perspective at the end of A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY in Catalonia!

    group of people jumping outside
    Girona 2010

    “I felt very grateful to be invited to A Sunday in the Country. It was a really lovely weekend amongst strangers that immediately became friends and loving and supportive colleagues. The three days with laughter, inspiration from watching each other’s films and intense conversation spoken in languages from all over the European map, completely summed up what cinema is: human relationships and unique experiences told in a universal language. It was a great joy and privilege to be a part of.”

    – Frederikke Aspöck –

    “I loved everything about this trip, most of all the simplicity. It’s very rare that for once, an event simply focuses around the very people it brings together. It refilled my mental batteries for long while and really gave me the kick I needed to get seriously back to the real work. It was such a genuine pleasure to discover the broad variety of films and stories in this perfect context. Somehow made me wonder why it doesn’t happen more often, might it be at festivals or anywhere else. I might get too emotional but still, it felt great to discover that many many beautiful things are happening now in Europe and that truly all is there for people to move and collaborate together.”

    – Olivier Boonjing –

    “I came back home with a fresh breath of inspiration and motivation, which is the most important thing. I have a lot of friends that are actors and they always have the chance to stimulate each other in their workshops and on the set. But directors are quite lonely, its always you by yourself and with a lot of pressure. So I found it very nurturing to share work, comradely, support, experience, knowledge, respectful and valuable critique, and feelings with other directors, it’s so very enriching. I wish I could count with this space more often.”

    – Eduardo Chapero-Jackson –

    “Just to let you know how happy and grateful I am for your Sunday in the Country initiative! It was a real treat and my pleasure to be part of it. It was a fabulous time, lots of inspirations and discoveries… and I was overwhelmed by these young filmmakers and their works.

    It was a perfect balance between relaxed atmosphere yet at the same time good working environment, where people can share ideas.”

    – Jakub Duszynski –

    “It’s like traveling to a different zone. To arrive Friday night at a desolated Spanish farm, during a huge cloudburst. And then to meet about 20 new people, and start drinking a brutal mix of European spirits. If this is a metaphor of the Europan Film Academy, it certainly isn’t a dull community. And after two days I’m gone, Monday morning 3 a.m. Back to daily life, with a lot of memories in my mind, images of films I saw, snatches of the inspiring conversations we had. What counts and what made the weekend valuable is the intensity of it all, however brief the encounter was. And when we meet again, we will have a shared history, that’s something to cherish dearly.”

    – David Lammers –

    “I was very delighted, when I received the invitation to be part of A Sunday in the Country. I had a great weekend and enjoyed very much to meet all the talented filmmakers from all over Europe. It was great to watch all the movies, to discuss them in a relaxed, confidential and even funny atmosphere. To meet Dani, Jakub and Antonio, watch and discuss movies, and even prepare lunch with them was a once in a lifetime-experience!”

    – Daniel Texter –

    PARTICIPANTS
    Gabriel Abrantes – director, Portugal
    Elisa Amoruso – director, Italy
    Frederikke Aspöck – director, Denmark
    Olivier Boonjing – director/cinematographer, Belgium
    Eduardo Chapero-Jackson – director, Spain
    Alexandra Dahlström – director/actress, Sweden
    Maximilian Erlenwein – director/screenwriter, Germany
    Kim Gázquez – director, Spain
    Belén Gómez – director, Spain
    Anna Kazejak – director, Poland
    David Lammers – director, the Netherlands
    Bálint Szimler – director, Hungary
    Daniel Texter – director/screenwriter, Luxembourg

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – MEMBERS & EXPERTS
    Jakub Duszyński – distributor, Poland
    Dani Levy – director/screenwriter, Germany
    Antonio Saura – producer, Spain

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – SECRETARIAT
    Nikola Joetze – event management & TV sales
    Klaudia Matschoß – accounting & membership administration

    ACADEMIA DE LAS ARTES Y LAS CIENCIAS CINEMATOGRAFICAS
    Carlos Cuadros – director
    Enrique Bocanegra – co-ordinator of cultural activities
    Clara Agusti – Liaison Cultural Activities Barcelona

    SUPPORTED BY
    :
    Academía de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematograficas de España
    Ajuntamento de Girona
    egeda
    Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
    Museu del Cinema

    Cyprus, 18 – 21 September 2009

    This year’s SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY took 10 young European filmmakers and EFA members László Kántor (Hungary), Andreas Pantzis (Cyprus) and Hervé Schneid (France) as well as project and script consultant Gabriele Brunnenmeyer (Germany) to the island of Cyprus, where they spent a weekend packed with screenings of the participants’ films, explorations and discoveries. The 2009 encounter was organised by the European Film Academy in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus. On the island, the magical village Lofou with its pomegranate trees and a unique mixture of abandoned ruins and inhabited stone houses served as their place of retreat. They were guided through the cobbled streets by the village elder and visited the extensive ruins of Kourion to see the well-preserved mosaics and the spectacular amphitheatre facing the Mediterranean. Surrounded by spectacular sites, they were collecting all kinds of new impressions which stimulated a vivid exchange of thoughts and opinions, possibly being the source of new ideas and future projects.

    group of people sitting on outside stairs
    Cyprus 2009

    What a Sunday!

    I have never seen as many directors at the same place at the same time!

    Coming from all over Europe and sharing their views and their hopes in this wonderful spirit initiated by the EFA. We spent great moments discovering each other through films and various national drinks we tasted near the swimming pool…

    Those links, created around the love for cinema and the strong feeling of belonging to a great idea called Europe, are the roots of the future European film community, where knowledge and understanding of each other will hopefully open new ways of filming.

    Long life to A Sunday In The Country!

    – Hervé Schneid –

    It was a real pleasure to spend a sunny (and thundery) weekend with fellow filmmakers and to talk about our experiences, and how we approach film making in our countries. It was also an opportunity to discuss our current and future projects, and exchange ideas. It was great a privilege to spend time with our more experienced colleagues, who were generous with their time, knowledge, and expertise. The Academy made us feel very welcome and I came away feeling I had experienced something very special.

    It was wonderful!

    – Deborah Haywood –

    It was a great experience, not only because I had the chance to exchange opinions with established professionals, but also because I got to meet some very interesting and talented filmmakers from all over Europe.
    One of the key ingredients for me was that we all had the chance to screen our individual projects (shorts and features) in a cosy, friendly atmosphere and then critique on them on every level with the support and active participation of the members of the EFA. It contributed to a better understanding of one’s work and of each other through our projects.
    We also had the chance to enjoy some relaxing time with each other, either by walking the narrow and graphic streets of Lofou, Cyprus, or by simply staying at the “main house”, enjoying a beer and talking film.
    It was an atmosphere and experience I will never forget and I hope that sometime in the future, i will meet everyone again.


    – Stylianos Constantinou –

    Having travelled to some festivals during the past few months, I experienced that sometimes we filmmakers are in such a hurry that we neither have the time nor the good moods anymore to share our views about cinema, let alone have a good conversation under no pressure. This year I was given the opportunity to participate in A Sunday In The Country and it was a very giving experience. I had the chance to meet very talented and professional filmmakers, see their films and hear their opinions. But unlike in a festival context, the way we talked was free and passionate – more like in a film school.

    – João Salaviza –

    PARTICIPANTS
    Federico Bondi – Italy
    Costas Chrysanthou – Cyprus
    Stylianos Constantinou – Cyprus
    Patrik Eklund – Sweden
    Dániel Erdélyi – Hungary
    Deborah Haywood – UK
    Pierre Pinaud – France
    João Salaviza – Portugal
    Rain Tolk – Estonia
    Fien Troch – Belgium

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – MEMBERS & PARTNERS
    Gabriele Brunnenmeyer, project adviser / script doctor, Germany
    László Kántor, producer / director, Hungary
    Andreas Pantzis, director, Cyprus
    Hervé Schneid, editor, France

    EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY – SECRETARIAT
    Marion Döring, Director
    Nikola Joetze, Project Coordinator
    Viviane Gajewski, Project Assistant

    HOST: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND CULTURE OF CYPRUS (CULTURAL SERVICES)
    Elena Christodoulidou, President Cinema Advisory Committee
    Hyacinthe Pavlides, Project Coordinator