The Europa! Europa Film Festival is a new celebration of European cinema. We welcome Europa Artistic Director Spiro Economopoulos to share their plans for the festival and the importance of European film in Australia.

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Jon King: Europa Europa Film Festival is a new celebration of European cinema. For the third time, the world’s best new European films come to cinemas across Australia for three weeks of inspiring and entertaining Australian premiere screenings and special events, running from the 15th of February to the 10th of March at Ritz Cinemas in Randwick and Melbourne at Classic Cinemas in Elsternwick and Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn. A place for extraordinary cinema, vibrant storytelling and discussion and bustling community congregation. Europa Europa gives national audiences a kaleidoscopic window into the experiences of a diverse continent, incorporating 47 countries, and people join us only in cinemas. We welcome Europa Europa artistic director Spiro Economopoulos to share their plans for the festival and the importance of European film in Australia. Spiro. Welcome to three triple Z.

Spiro Economopoulos: Thank you for having me on, Jon. Appreciate it.

Jon King: What are you excited for at this year’s Europa? Europa Film Festival?

Spiro Economopoulos: I am very excited about the Yorgos Lanthimos retrospective, which is really exciting. Obviously he’s just, been nominated for the film Poor Things for a whole bunch of Oscars. It’s won quite a few big major European film awards. And so it was a great, I think, moment to showcase a lot of his work. I think he’s a really exciting European filmmaker. And, you know, we have him alongside, some really interesting, great retrospectives of some old European masters like Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist and, Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt. And it’s kind of really nice to kind of be sort of essentially passing the baton, I suppose, in some ways. But yeah. So I’m really excited about that.

Jon King: Great. Um, I was going to ask a question about that specifically. So, yeah, you as you said, you feature the master of Greek Weird wave. Uh, now you pronounce his name much better than I did Yorgos Lanthimos. Yeah, that’s pretty good. Um, as you said, Poor Things is currently in cinemas. How has his work evolved from his early days as a as a Greek filmmaker to Hollywood?

Spiro Economopoulos: Uh, well, actually, what I think is really interesting is how people have probably bended to his will in some ways. You know, I think he has kind of come right out of the bat as a really kind of, uh, individual original filmmaker with a very strong cinematic voice. And right from the beginning, when you see his his first solo debut feature, Kinetta and leading afterwards, you can see all those ideas that are forming there and and, you know, which is probably led to poor things. But I think it’s really exciting to see, you know, major Hollywood talent, you know, jumping to kind of, you know, be in his films. And I think what’s great about him, he hasn’t compromised his kind of vision, I think more than anything.

Jon King: Yeah. Great. Uh, they are I haven’t seen any of his films yet. They’re all on my to do list. And the favorite just came on Netflix the other day.

Spiro Economopoulos: I highly recommend.

Jon King: That one out. My, my partner saw it in the cinemas, and she’s she loves British royalty stuff, so it’s pretty outrageous.

Spiro Economopoulos: I think it’s kind of a real interesting take on that. Anyway. Yeah.

Jon King: Um, and with the entire European film industry to pick from, what’s it like hearing the Europa Film Festival?

Spiro Economopoulos: Uh, it’s, uh, look, I think, you know, you’ve obviously got a bigger, uh, sandbox to play in, essentially, but I think you have to kind of, you know, you sort of think about the same things when you’re curating. You think about, um, uh, you know, having different kind of moods, different genres, sort of trying to cater to different audiences. So, you know, you sort of try to put in some comedy and drama and, and also try to surprise people as much as you can, you know, like we, uh, you know, up against so many film festivals in Melbourne and you want to bring fresh and new kind of content in there that’s going to be exciting for people. So yeah, it’s a it’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge.

Jon King: Do you have do you think about what the other film festivals around Melbourne are and where their gaps might be, and try and fill those gaps? You’re kind of.

Spiro Economopoulos: Looking at what their sort of programming and, you know, hoping you can kind of get them in there first basically, and, and try to grab, you know, whatever you so not whatever you can but sort of try to, I guess fashion something um, sort of different, I suppose, from the other festivals.

Jon King: Yep. Um, and the festival is screening at Classic and Lido Cinemas here in Melbourne and Ritz in Sydney. What do you love about these family owned cinemas?

Spiro Economopoulos: Oh, look, they’re, um. Yeah, they’ve been around for a long time, actually. Funny story. I actually grew up in Elsternwick, so the classic was a, you know, a local cinema for me. So it’s been kind of really nice to sort of go back to that again as an adult. Um, and be there as a programmer, you know, for their festivals and, uh, you know, I think they’re, uh, you know. Offer a really great alternative to the multiplexes. They’ve got a really fantastic range of films. The Moving Story Entertainment team that own those cinemas have another, have a great roster of festivals that they do throughout the year and, you know, it’s really fun to work with them.

Jon King: Yeah, great. Australia is a multicultural and multilingual society with many strong foreign film festivals. How important is multilingual media in Australia?

Spiro Economopoulos: Look, I think it’s it’s really important because it, it has to, you know, reflect who we are, you know, as a, as a culture and as a society. And so I think it’s important to have those kind of voices. You know, I, I grew up at a time when I didn’t see myself, you know, represented that much. And on on, you know, like commercial media and television and film, especially strange films. So I think it’s great to see, you know, those kind of things, you know, evolve and develop and sort of be able to kind of, you know, reflect, you know, the multiple voices that make up Australia.

Jon King: Europa Europa Film Festival, it’s in its third year now. It would be very easy for an independent film festival to come up for one year and disappear. The business is good. There’s a market out there for European films here in Melbourne.

Spiro Economopoulos: Yeah, yeah. And you know, I think, you know, watching the this is obviously my first year as the artistic director, but um, watching it, uh, the festival developer, like, you know, there’s a real definite, you know, tick up in terms of like, you know, attendance and box office. And so there is an interest and it’s a young festival. So obviously with any young festival you’ve got, you know, you’ve got a long path in terms of like developing your audience and building on that. And but it’s definitely, you know, on the way in a, in a really exciting way, I think.

Jon King: And is there anything else you want to tell our three Z audience about the film festival?

Spiro Economopoulos: Well, look, basically, you know, I there’s there’s always those little hidden gems that I kind of always like to recommend in particular, uh, there’s a great film called Bloggers Lesson from Bulgaria, which is a really fantastic movie about a widow who, uh, basically gets swindled out of her retirement fund and actually her her money that she’s put away for her husband’s burial, actually. And she kind of goes down this very dark path trying to get that back, which is really fascinating. Uh, you know, a really great movie from Greece called, uh, you know, I’ll have to, you know, kind of go for the Greeks, uh, embryo larva butterfly, which is this really fascinating speculative sci fi film about, uh, it’s set in this world where linear time doesn’t exist. So you can kind of wake up one morning and you’re a teenager, or the next morning and you’re in your 50s and and it’s about this couple who are sort of trying to navigate the world, this world that they live in, where things are just kind of shifting all the time. It’s a it’s a really interesting film. So they’re there to the kind of, um, jump to mind. And, uh, comedy wise, this is a really great, uh, Swedish movie called The Hypnosis, uh, which is about a couple who, uh, uh, who have put together like an app for women’s health. And they’re going in this conference and she decides to go under hypnosis to stop her smoking, but it actually unlocks her inhibitions in a very awkward and funny way. Um, when they go to this conference over the weekend and it’s quite squirm inducing kind of comedy of manners, but I think it’s a lot of fun.

Jon King: They certainly found sound interesting. Yeah. Um, Spiro, thanks for coming in to three. Z. Thanks for your time. Uh, we look greatly forward to seeing the film festival.

Spiro Economopoulos: Fantastic. Thank you for having me on, I appreciate that.Jon King: No worries. The Europa Europa Film Festival program is now available online at Europa Europa Film Festival. or visit classic cinemas in Elsternwick. Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn to pick up a physical program. Join three Z only in cinemas.