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EFA conference will focus on comedy

On the occasion of the 21st EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS in Copenhagen:
WHAT MAKES EUROPE LAUGH - Local Comedies for an International Market Cinematek, Cinema Carl, Saturday, 6 December 2008, 11.00 14.30

As part of the weekend programme for the 21st European Film Awards in Copenhagen, this years EFA Conference is dedicated to film comedies. A series of panel dicussions with European filmmakers and critics will look at different cultural variations of humour and the way they are depicted and perceived in film.

You know what? Comedians arent funny at all, said Spains megastar, the actor and director Santiago Segura Silva when talking about his contribution as a speaker to the EFA Conference. But if humour is a serious business, how then do film comedies work? What eventually triggers laughter?

Is there a topography of humour, a shared European quality that unites us in laughter? In other words: Can film comedies be cross-culturally funny, humorous or witty? WHAT MAKES EUROPE LAUGH?

The EFA Conference 2008 takes an informed look at the cinematography of humour and how it works. After an introduction by EFAs Deputy Chairman Nik Powell, a series of compact panel discussions will follow, chaired by film journalist and scholar Eva Novrup Redvall and Jacob Neiiendam, director of the new CPH:PIX-Copenhagen Film Festival.

Nordic Humour and Latin Laughter, the polar zones of European film comedies, will be subject to scrutiny in Panel 1 with film directors Anders Thomas Jensen from Denmark, Reza Bagher from Sweden, and Santiago Segura Silva from Spain, all of whom became a household name in their respective countries for their cinematographic achievements in this genre. Anders Thomas Jensen, the award-winning director and scriptwriter who invented the so-called Danish action-comedy with the box-office hit IN CHINA THEY EAT DOGS (1999), wrote the scripts for many of the Dogma films and received much critical acclaim for ADAMS APPLES (2005) which he also directed. Screenwriter and director Reza Bagher is known across Europe for his prominently casted film POPULAR MUSIC FROM VITTULA (2004). And Spanish actor, screenwriter, director and producer Santiago Segura Silva rose to stardom in 1998 with his directorial debut film TORRENTE, THE STUPID ARM OF THE LAW in which he also played the lead.

Laughing On Your Own? attempts to challenge the widely accepted conjecture that humour like wine travels badly, a phenomenon generated by cultural as well as religious differences. This subject will be presented and discussed by the Polish actor, comedian and founder of a highly successful cabaret ensemble Maciej Stuhr and the renowned and critically acclaimed Norwegian director, writer and producer Bent Hamer whose films which are marked by his silent humour have been distributed in more than 40 countries, have participated in over 80 film festivals around the world, and have won him some 30 prizes and awards.

Whats So Funny? At first glance a simple question easy to answer that will be debated by two eminent film experts, Derek Malcolm from the UK and Jean Roy from France. Humour was born in Britain, the British claim, it is emotional, gentle, genial. French wit is seen to be opposed to Anglo-Saxon humour. Whats the truth in that?
Derek Malcolm, one of the most respected British film critics, film historians and author of acclaimed books like A Century of Cinema, will join forces with his French colleague Jean Roy who is also active as critic both in newspapers and in television and like Malcolm author of many books on film.

The Unbearable Lightness of Laughter -Where Does Humour End? will highlight a delicate matter which has become a globally discussed
conflict: Does humour end where religion begins? Is there something like good humour and bad humour and where is the line between those two?
German director, actor, scriptwriter and producer Dani Levy, whose latest film MEIN FHRER: THE TRULY TRUEST TRUTH ABOUT ADOLF HITLER
(2007) has been enormously successful but also controversially discussed in regard to the fun factor of dictatorship, will debate with Danish stand-up comedian Omar Marzouk who seeks, as he once said, to overcome the polarization between Islamic and Western societies with the help of humour.

A final round-table session will look at strategies for internationally successful comedies, bringing together EFA Board members Adriana Chiesa di Palma (producer & sales agent, Italy) and Antonio Saura (producer, Spain), and producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen from Denmark.

The EFA Conference 2008 is presented by the European Film Academy e.V.
And EFA08 ApS with the support of The Danish Film Institute, FFA German Federal Film Board, MEDIA Desk Denmark, TNT Express, and United International Pictures (UIP).

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