by Nicole Muj
Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the chance to take a mini-tour of Europe without leaving the state, with foreign film festival opening nights and culinary festivities, celebrating Poland, Germany and Italy.
First on the tour was the Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles (October 7-16), commemorating a milestone 15 year anniversary. Held at the legendary Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, the opening night event was extra special with actress Emmanuelle Seigner (“Venus in Fur”; “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) officially declaring the festival open, and the screening of “Sophie Seeks 7,” a comedy by Weronika Migon. The festival closed on high note with Poland’s submission to the Academy Awards “IDA” by Pawel Pawlikowski, screened at the Laemmle NoHo7.
The fest’s reception featured Polish dishes from fried kielbasa and perogies by Turek Catering and of course, the Eastern European staple by Shakespeare Vodka. Congrats to festival founder and director Vladek Juszkiewicz on another successful year!
Next on the agenda was the popular German Currents Film Festival (October 9-12), presented by the Goethe Institut and American Cinematheque, with its opening night selection, Germany’s entry and strong contender for the Academy Awards nomination, “Beloved Sisters.” Austria’s official Oscar entry “The Dark Valley,” and winner of eight German film awards was also screened over the four day fest. This year, the event also celebrated the opening of the multimedia exhibit “The Other Worlds of Werner Herzog” at WUHO gallery.
The opening night reception, also held at the Egyptian, did not disappoint with such wonderful Oktoberfest delights as schnitzel, sauerkraut and brats, plus wonderful German wines and spirits.
Topping off the week-long Eurofest was the sixth annual Taste of Italy in downtown LA, appropriately labeled a “cultural-gastronomic event,” benefiting the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles. Each year the event showcases over 50 of the area’s top rated restaurants and some of the best Italian and Californian wines. This year’s entertainment program was not to be missed. Highlights included the female retro vocal trio Swing Dolls, who wrote and performed the song for the memorable Fiat commercial featuring two girls having to make a quick change in the back of the tiny auto on their way to a wedding, as well as stunning performances by LA Opera soloists and Sinatra-style crooner Nick D’Egidio.
“Taste of Italy offers a true Italian experience in downtown Los Angeles. Food, wine, and culture are interconnected in the Italian lifestyle,” comments Marianna Gatto, Executive Director of the IAMLA and historian.
These events truly get better and better with each passing year! Looking forward to booking my next Euro Tour in 2015.