Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Town full of memories of a great past since the first population eras. Since late 70’s the town begin a development process that was based in its architectural patrimony, in Cultural events and in the University. However, there was no event or permanent activity related to Cinema. 

Since the 80’s Páteo do Cinema – a nucleus of SOIR Joaquim António de Aguiar programmed regular screenings of European and non-mainstream cinema. This was a valuable offer of culture for a town where still there are just two “commercial screens”. The program of this cinema is based in American production films. But for a town known as a “town of culture” where all the forms of art where presented to the population in some major events: music and dance, theatre and puppetry, painting and sculpture, dance, classical and traditional music, as well as contemporary forms of art, the non existence of a major event related with cinema was a very important lack.

In 1997 SOIR organised the first Spanish and Portuguese Short film show that lasted for 3 years. It was a good experience, during one week screening every night Portuguese and Spanish short films that have been produced in the years before and inviting, some cases, directors and actors to be present in the screenings.

Four years later, with the founding of the University of Évora Film Society, all the responsible persons involved agreed they should prepare a short film festival. And FIKE – Évora International Short Film Festival was born. Since the very first moment we aimed to contribute to a better offer of Cultural Activities, celebrate Cinema as a form of art and promote Culture as a very important tool for development and better understanding of people and cultural differences. 

Ever since, the Festival comes to town every year, by the end of November, showing a selection of short films coming from all over the world. In 2004, where received for pre-selection about 1500 short films from 89 different countries, but just 104 films where selected to be present at the Festival Competition. 73 short films had their World Premiere in film festivals in FIKE 2004.

One of the crucial aspects of a film society activity is the formation of new audiences. By this we mean not a formal education of taste and sensibility but its information, creation of habits and awakening sensibility. That’s when we start working with youth and children that we realise how important that is. Every year a considerable number of young students have their first cinematographic experience, having a special screening for schools, presenting the films and introducing them to the magical world of Cinema the big screen.

FIKE 2004 was a very important mark in the project: almost 10.000 people involved in the festivals activities (considerable number for a town with only 53.000 inhabitants). After 4 years the project and dream of a few cinema lovers and film society enthusiasts became a major event in the cultural life of Évora and the Region.

As the region ahs some natural and climatic characteristics that make it very attractive for cinema production: light, weather, landscape, historical places, palaces, churches we are developing a new project: a film commission with the main goal to give support to all the producers and directors that want to shoot in Évora. A very special film service, providing the information and facilities to shoot in the region and that is putted at the service of the region.

João Paulo Macedo

Born in 1968 in Braga. He worked recently as Executive Producer in the short film “The Fifth Step”, He is the Festival Director of FIKE – Évora International Short Film Festival, Director of CINEMA MAGAZINE, Member of Advisory Council of ICAM (Portuguese Institute of Cinema) and President of FPCC – Portuguese Federation of Film Societies. Based in Evora, Portugal.