The aim of the Seville European Film Festival is to promote and circulate European cinema, while establishing itself as an annual meeting place for talented European filmmakers, specialized journalists and professionals from the sector. Nine days during which industry, public and critics come together for a selection of the best European cinema. Spanish premieres of great films from contemporary auteurist cinema, the presence of a large number of emerging talents, the determined defence of the youngest Spanish cinema, support for Andalusian cinema and, above all, the total certainty that today, more than ever, a film festival can be useful to the public, to the films and to the filmmakers.
The main axis of the festival is made up of various competitive sections for feature films, documentaries, short films and non-fiction cinema. A second axis consists of special screenings, tributes and retrospectives, with the aim of providing a full view of contemporary European cinema. Also, each year the festival is host to the nominations for the European Film Academy Awards, which are announced in Seville.
The Seville Festival has been honoured by visits from such figures as Agnès Varda, Claude Lanzmann, Leos Carax, Stephen Frears, Amos Gitaï, Milos Forman, Béla Tarr, Gunvor Nelson, Nicolas Roeg, Paolo Taviani, Alexander Kluge, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Tonino Guerra, Carlos Saura, Matteo Garrone, Nikita Mikhalkov, Alain Guiraudie, Bruno Dumont, Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Peter Greenaway, Jerzy Skolimowski, Ben Kingsley, John Hurt, Vittorio Storaro, Christopher Lee, Jeremy Thomas, Pipilotti Rist, Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas, Andrzej Wajda, Kenneth Branagh, Andrea Arnold, John Turturro, Bigas Luna, Colin Farrell and Danis Tanovic, among many others.
A great success with the public, whom the festival always bears in mind and with whom it maintains a close relationship, the SEFF’s activities extend beyond the films. From discussions between the guest directors and the public to seminars, exhibitions and concerts, all of which favor a real exchange between the city and festival. Cinema for children and young people, with its important mission to create a perceptive public, also has its place in the festival, and is accompanied by a group of special activities which involve teachers and pupils.
Aware of the importance of creating networks and strengthening the production, distribution and exhibition of European cinema, the festival pays special attention to its industry activities. A full programme puts professionals from around the world in contact, and contributes to the circulation of resources, contacts, knowledge and tools.
The Festival is a project by ICAS, the Institute of Culture and Arts of Seville, it has the support of the ICAA, Media, Cajasol, Deluxe and Renault, and also the collaboration of the European Film Academy. At present its director is José Luis Cienfuegos, who has headed the festival since 2012. The first edition of the festival was held in 2001 (it also had a precedent in the 80s), under the name of the Seville Festival of Cinema and Sports and it was directed by José Luis Ruiz. In 2004 it became the Seville European Film Festival. Under its present name, the Festival has been directed by Manolo Grosso (from 2004 to 2007) and by Javier Martín Domínguez (from 2008 to 2011).