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FIFF's 38th edition opens on an upbeat note

Dilli Dark, film d'ouverture du FIFF 2024

Buoyed by its success in 2023 and galvanised by unprecedented advance ticket sales, the Fribourg International Film Festival, FIFF, kicked off its 38th edition in style. Hip-hop culture, the theme of this year's Genre Film section, ensured that the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening was perfectly paced, upbeat and music-filled. The Swiss premiere of Dilli Dark proved a fitting choice to launch the Festival. This satirical comedy from India is one of 100 films on the line-up of FIFF 24, which runs from 15th to 24th March, with screenings and events in Fribourg and Bulle. The audience can look forward to the impressive and thought-provoking entries in the International Feature and Short Film Competitions, the world's first extensive showcase of North Macedonian cinema, and two cartes blanches curated by Franco-Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani and French director Michel Gondry.

President of the FIFF Association Mathieu Fleury opened the festivities by declaring that "FIFF has once again accomplished its mission of finding the universal in the immense diversity of human creativity." He also singled out the Festival team for praise, calling them "the standard-bearers of a very particular, and typically Fribourg, working culture which brings together all stakeholders in a spirit of a collaboration rather than competition", with a mindset that mirrors the values of hip hop culture, "one of the most joyously cross-cutting and boundary-breaking movements to ever exist."

Jean-Pierre Siggen, President of the Fribourg's Cantonal Government, reminded the audience that "The Festival's opening night is now a major event in the canton's social, artistic and business calendar. The innovative drive of the Festival organisers has transformed FIFF into one of the canton's most important cultural powerhouses. He admitted that he was surprised by the choice of hip-hop as the theme of this year's Festival but applauded the decision, "It's a good thing. It is part of FIFF's DNA, after all." He also welcomed the fact that, "For 10 days, people of all ages and from all walks of life will come together and enjoy a shared emotion-filled and exciting experience. Above all, I would like to congratulate the organisers for making the event so accessible and inclusive."

Making their first joint public appearance since their appointment as co-heads of the Film Section in the Federal Office of Culture, Nadine Adler and Laurent Steiert stressed the importance of film festivals. As Nadine Adler emphasised: “The social experience, the feeling of being together, the late visit to a Midnight Screening, the livery atmosphere at the school screening, immersing yourself in new discoveries together – for example in the Hip-hop Culture or New Territory sections – no streaming platform can offer this feeling, this atmosphere. We need to be aware that it is precisely this cultural participation that needs to be cultivated in society.” Laurent Steiert called on us to continue defending the independence of filmmaking: "This year positions Switzerland as a film country at the heart of Europe. And the independence of the Swiss and European film industry must continue to be defended at a time of pressure on public finances. We must commit ourselves to this.”

In his speech, Thierry Jobin, Artistic Director of the FIFF, defined what he calls a "dream festival" in 2024. Questioning the raison d'être and values of such an event, he called it "a formidable meeting place for all sensibilities, all tastes, all worlds, all audiences, all opinions, all cultures, and also a beautiful and very welcome digital break. A place to mix and mingle, to share, to offer other points of view, to shed light on dark corners and with marvels that algorithms have no idea about."

Before introducing the opening film Dilli Dark, by Dibakar Das Roy, which he describes as "a satire that skewers the racism experienced by a Nigerian exile in New Delhi and holds up a mirror to our own shortcomings", Thierry Jobin asked Golshifteh Farahani to officially open the 38th edition. In a video message sent from Vancouver, where she is filming the 3rd season of Invasion, the actress moved the audience by declaring: "In today's world, full of misfortune and war, it's good to come together around the cinema". And she concluded with these words of hope: "Let art bring us together".

Complete Programme

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Conception et développement: Agence MiNT

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