This documentary series is an ambitious pan-European co-production, filmed in the 15 countries of the European Union and also in the USA, Iceland, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Albania, and Kosovo.
Using the well-known Mosaic Method a method developed across a number of major documentary productions, Mosaic Films worked with 45 filmmakers producing the material, which makes up the final twenty half hours. One filmmaker Yseult Digan, filmed a remarkable “double” – two half hour stories about French squatters in south London. The episodes are called Squatville and Loveville.
Other filmmakers have been involved in shooting a variety of fascinating subjects, from Wanderlust, in which we see German families buying up properties in Sweden and Portugal, to Greek and Pleasant Land, in which an Englishman tussles with his Greek neighbours over developing his land using EU grants. We go inside the EU parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels with British MEP Nigel Farrage, the self-styled “Trojan Horse” of Europe, whose mission is to expose corruption and waste in the system in a story called The Enemy Within. Several episodes of EUtopia contain more than one story – sometimes two or three from within different EU countries. The subjects of these programmes are drawn from the whole range of human experience. In Under The Wire we have stories about immigrants seeking economic or political refuge in Europe and in Keeping a Level Head, a story about wannabe entrepreneurial businessmen and women trying to make it in the European market. From soldiers to farmers, the unemployed to bullfighters – EUtopia is full of voices from every spectrum of the European experience.
A number of the programmes are mass observations. We discover how citizens of the EU feel about each other on holiday in a hilarious and insightful episode, Bloody Tourists, and go behind the hustings with a group of hopefuls wanting to get into the EU parliament in Wannabe, as well as finding out what we really feel about our European identity in The United States of Europe.
What do any of us really know about our fellow EUropeans and what it means to live in the EU? Do we feel EUropean? What do we think about this change in our cultural and political landscape? Do we feel its effects at all, or is this a change which is taking place without our really being aware of it? All EUropeans have to learn to live together but keep what is precious to them. Will they be better off in the future, drawing ever closer to their neighbours? Can the European Union make our lives better? Are the ancient hatreds buried and the historical wars forgotten? If not, is this another reason to grow ever closer together. Can we trust the people that are going to rule us from the new pan-European centre?
EUtopia delves inside all the countries of the EU. Working with single person filmmakers, the series consists of a variety of intimate and personal stories as well as observations of shared experiences of EUropean identity. This is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic project, which will be accessible to the entire audience of the community. Our unique access explores the world of identity, employment, citizenship and leisure in a series of provocative, entertaining, thought-provoking and quizzical films. In their breadth of location and subject we have created a truly unique perspective on the EU and all the human and personal emotions of living or trying to live inside a common community.
A 20 x 26 series of documentaries Produced by MOSAIC FILMS (UK) in association with COMPAGNIE PHARES ET BALISES (France) and was made for BBC 2, ARTE, TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, NPS Holland, YLE Finland with the collaboration of the MEDIA Programme.
Series Producer: Adam Alexander
Series Director: Colin Luke
Producer: T. Celal (France) & Melanie Anstey (UK)
Winner Adolf Grimme Special Prize, Germany
Winner, Robert Geisendorfer Prize, Germany
“Keep your eyes peeled for more programmes in the BBC2 series Eutopia, which in its opening batch of four programmes has proved to be idiosyncratic, often subtle, intelligent, and strikingly different from most of the hackneyed stuff about Europe that we are usually offered.”
Chris Dunkley, Financial Times
“Much like “Picture This”, Eutopia uses fresh directing talent to focus on the crevices of society and the results are similarly refreshing”
Emma Perry, Time Out
“Colin Luke’s intelligent series”
Robert Hanks, The Independent
“This intriguing series of films”
Chris Riley, Daily Telegraph
THE NEW EUROPEAN
Follows the story of a resourceful young man from the Ukraine who is determined to leave his former Soviet homeland for a better life in the west. He enters Germany with a Latvian passport, and a 3-month visitor’s visa. Having told the authorities in Berlin that he is a Chechen refugee and orphan without papers, and claiming to be 15 years of age, when he is actually 22, EU law obliges the German state to house, feed and educate him whilst his claim for asylum is processed, so he lives in a children’s home receiving √Ç¬£130 a month pocket money. But he is disillusioned, and decides to travel on and explore what other opportunities there are for him in the rest of the EU.
Filmmaker: Oleg Assadlin
BLOOD AND GLORY
Tells the story of 17 year-old Juan Bautista from the Camargue in France, and his efforts to break into the lucrative Spanish bullfighting market. Also explores attitudes towards bullfighting in other European Union countries. In 1998, the EU amended the Treaty of Rome to class animals as `sentient’ beings, but also included a clause stating that the EU must respect the culture and tradition of each member country. Bullfighting, which was declared a protected activity under the heading of national culture, is a multi-million pound industry in Spain. It is also popular in Portugal and southern France, but other Europeans are not so happy to see it continue.
Filmmaker: Christian Poveda
THE ENEMY WITHIN
Profiles Nigel Farrage, one of three UK Independence Party MEPs elected to the European Parliament, which he abhors and likens to an Orwellian nightmare. It is his party’s sole policy to get the UK out of the EU. He conducts viewers on a guided tour of the parliament and reveals some of its more quirky characteristics. When not arguing his minority corner with his fellow MEPs, he is pictured sharing his Eurosceptical views with constituents and party faithful back home or pursuing his `day job’ as a metal trader in the City of London.
Filmmaker: Paul Henley
UNDER THE WIRE
Report on the opportunities and dilemmas facing immigrants as they attempt to find somewhere to live and work within the EU.
Filmmaker: Franca Cereghini & Franz Moritz
Some 250,000 Germans own second homes elsewhere in the EU. The programme features a Swedish estate agent who has sold more than 500 homes in the southern town of Emmaboda to Germans in the last 20 years. His clients, looking for the good life and a retirement home, are popular with the locals who appreciate German tidiness, good manners and interest in their culture and language. The story from Portugal is rather different. It features a German woman who buys and sells old farmhouses in the Alantejo region to fellow Germans. Many vendors would rather not sell, but with the depopulation of the countryside, there is little choice if they want to move into more comfortable accommodation themselves. Features one such woman, who lives for a time in a part of the house with the new German owners. Unlike their Swedish counterparts, her family feel like second-class, impoverished citizens whose land is being bought cheaply by rich Europeans from the north
Filmmaker: Terese Ericsson, Bruno Goncalves & Katarina Hellberg
Programme about the EU on holiday. Observes characters from right across the EU, from all sides of the tourism trade, which employs some nine million people. Presents some little known facts about the EU tourist trade, such as the fact that it involves some 5,000 donkeys, that most bars in Greece appear to be run by someone cllaed Zorba, that one in ten Finns go to Spain for their holidays or that tourists buy 100 kilos of moose shit souvenirs in Sweden every year.
FIGHTING FOR PEACE
Follows two contrasting stories in Finland and the Netherlands about the dramatically changing role and composition of European armies, and their problems of recruitment. The Finnish story features a 19 year-old boy who is prepared to go to prison for refusing to accept compulsory national service. The Netherlands has a volunteer army and the programme tells the story of a 20 year-old woman starting a four-year officer training course. Her training includes war games against the Belgians, but she is most likely to spend her future working as part of a worldwide peacekeeping initiative, either with NATO or the UN. More than half the Dutch army is posted overseas as peacekeepers.
Filmmaker: Visa Koiso-Kantrila & Esther Prade
A GREEK AND PLEASANT LAND
Philip Noel-Baker visits Greece to try to restore his family estate, which was confiscated in 1984.
Filmmaker: Marianna Economou
GAMBLING ON EUROPE
Provides a portrait of two economic migrants: a Dutch dairy farmer who wants to buy a farm in Poland where there are no milk quotas, and, where, if Poland does join the EU, he and his family can benefit from generous subsidies which will increase the value of his farm. The other is a Romanian who cannot support his family at home, who tries to enter Austria illegally, hoping to move on to work in Italy
Filmmaker: Monique Nolte & Franz Moritz
A story about modern Europeans and how they communicate through the medium of wine. The setting is a vineyard in Provence, France. The characters are: Herr Knapp, the multi-lingual German architect from Baden-Baden who owns the vineyard; Madame Francoise, wife of the estate manager who works hard and reveals her prejudices against fellow Europeans; Toby, an ex-public schoolboy on his gap year, working for Herr Knapp, picking grapes; and his father, George, wine lover and expert on all things European, who once worked as an adviser to Lady Thatcher, when she was prime minister. Their stories take viewers across Europe from the grumbling grape pickers to the noble guests at George’s cocktail parties; from Parisian restaurants to German corporate events.
Filmmaker: Richard Vargas
UNITED STATES OF EUROPE
Explores what makes people feel part of the EU, and how important a European identity is to them as individuals, as nations and as regions. Visits many countries of the EU, seeking opinions amongst the many ethnic groups and minorities to be found in Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Catalonia, the Basque country, the UK, France, Portugal and Italy. Meets people who are passionate about preserving and fostering their own identities, and considers what EU citizenship really means and how relevant it is to the daily lives of its citizens.