Executive Reads: Jeremie Abessira

Originally from France, Jérémie Abessira is the Executive Director of Toronto’s European Union Film Festival (Nov 14 to 27 at The Royal Cinema). After working at several film events around the city, including the Toronto International Film Festival, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, and Cinefranco, this is Jeremie’s first year at EUFF, where he constantly puts to use the many experiences he has learned while working in film in one of the world’s most multicultural cities.

Animal Farm – George Orwell
I love allegories, especially social and historical ones. I think they are incredibly creative ways of understanding our present and past; they allow us to see things from different perspectives in ways we could have never done otherwise. I think this is extremely true of Orwell’s book. For me the different ways in which he represented various social issues and historical events really helped me see things in a new light, all while appreciating the intricate complexity of the parallels he had drawn. 

The Empire of the Angels – Bernard Webber
I find Webber’s writing really compelling; it is really hard to not immerse one’s self in it. I love how easily his characters come to life, it is almost like you are there with them, experiencing first-hand what they are going through. Webber’s imagination and ability to create worlds of their own have always been a source of inspiration to me, helping me push myself to be more creative.

Fear and Trembling – Amélie Nothomb
One of the main reasons why I really enjoy reading is that books are often a way to travel to different places, times and civilizations, and even be other people. This book is the perfect example and I feel like Nothom really gave me the chance to go to Japan just by reading it, and to experience it through somebody else’s eyes, learning more about its culture in the process (including things that honestly surprised me). I think that’s why I love art in general; it gives you the opportunity to get away without even leaving the room.