The Calgary European Film Festival (CEFF) — returning once again for its sixth year in November — is turning the heads of many Calgary-based Europeans with the help of of Adrian Glavan, vice-president of the CEFF.

Having immigrated here from Romania back in 2012, Glavan works to bridge the gap between Europeans in Calgary and their homes overseas using film.

“[European filmmakers] want to show it to the people here because there is almost no other way to see it,” Glavan says. “It’s the only chance to have a movie in their own language screen in Calgary.”

In his younger years, Glavan says he has always enjoyed film, and frequently went to the cinema to indulge in both old and new movies; The French Connection and Casablanca are two of his favourites.

Glavan was 34 when he came to Canada from Europe. Having spent most of his life in Romania, he experienced culture shock after arriving in Calgary. Looking for a sense of community in a new country, he attended Romanian Cultural Association meetings.

“I went to a meeting of the Romanian Cultural Association … among the items we attended was the European Film Festival that was just preparing the first edition. Seems like something I would like to be involved with, so I volunteered, and six years later, here I am.”

Having a lot on his plate, Glavan works to involve local communities and associations to contribute to each year’s event, as well as finding sponsors, marketing and organizing the finer points of the festival.

European film is significantly different to North American film according to Glavan, hence his focus on encouraging and promoting it.  

“I think some of them may be a little more difficult to watch or understand but they certainly give you an insight into European cultures and they give you more insight … into our human character and they’re more real than typical North American movie,” he says.

“You can’t really guess the end. I’m watching an American movie … and probably I know the ending by halfway through the movie, if even that. That’s not the case with most European movies.”

Glavan further explains that European films are often prematurely judged to be a drama or tragedy, but he says that it’s simply not true. He lists many genres that European cinema deals with including heist, action, historical dramas, comedies and more.

Though his involvement with the Calgary European Film Festival started with a love of movies and longing for community, Glavan says he often finds himself missing the films because there is too much work to be done and not enough time.  

Despite rarely being able to indulge in the films, Glavan says building community is what the festival is really all about. He encourages filmmakers from each country to bring a film that will not only garner a large audience to share their culture with the Canadian movie-loving public, but one that will attract the attendance of their own community.

With a successful 2017 festival, Glavan says that the upcoming festival is shaping up to be even more varied and catering to a variety of crowds, as well as dedicated moviegoers.

“There’s more than enough for any film buff,” he says.

The sixth edition of the festival will take place on Nov. 5 and will run for a week.

Editor: Omar Subhi Omar |


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