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The Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival (LEFF), formerly known as Estoril Film Festival, is making a name for itself as one of Europe’s leading film festivals. As a newcomer, the festival has been able to bring big names from the film industry since its debut in 2007. Some who have taken part in the event have included Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, Oscar-winning actor John Malkovich, Catherine Deneuve, and Kathryn Bigelow.
The festival takes pride in awarding the best of the best in the movie industry while creating a meeting point for artists and performers of the trade in the capital of Portugal.
The best distinguishing feature is the fact that there is no red carpet at most of the screenings, even at the premieres. One could simply stand in line waiting to get inside and Paul Giamatti or David Cronenberg could walk by you and even stop by for a chat.
Movies competing in the official selection are mostly European films, and some of the movies shown are already generating Oscar buzz. The festival will premiere “A Dangerous Method” (David Cronenberg),” The Ides of March” (George Clooney), “Melancholia” (Lars von Trier), “Restless” (Gus van Sant). “Faust,” directed by Alexander Sokurov and the winner of the Berlinare and the Venice Festival’s Golden Lion, will also premiere at the festival.
This is undoubtedly LEFF’s best edition to date. It hosts a jury panel of world-renowned authors, such as Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee, and will showcase the first images of Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis,” starring Robert Pattinson. In addition, LEFF will also host several events simultaneously in some of Lisbon’s most iconic venues. The festival proves its versatility while dabbling in other areas, holding events specially aimed at college students, classes with Giamatti and Cronenberg, musical concerts, an international symposium on the future of the culture industries, ateliers, and several other exhibitions.
One of the main attractions of the festival is an exhibit on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which portrays the everyday life of a Palestinian village. The work is by photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer, winner of the first Carmignac Gestion Foundation Photojournalism Award.
If you happen to be in Lisbon in November 3 to November 14, be sure to check out LEFF. It is an event you don’t want to miss.