The 12th European Film Festival, including 13 European feature length and short films, will kick off at Hanoi's National Cinema Centre on May 20-29 and at HCM City's Dong Da Cinema on May 16-27.

The 2011 festival programme will include animation, documentaries and the latest star-studded blockbusters for the enjoyment of all ages.

Children will especially enjoy the Slovakian film, Thomas-The Falconer, a Middle Age tale about a 14-year-old boy named Thomas who can talk to animals.

The German drama Ganz Nah Bei Dir (So Close to You) tells of the love between Phillip, who works at the central bank by day and dreams of performing as a pantomime artist by night despite a lack of courage; and Lina, a blind cellist who at one point stumbles into his table and into his life, shaking Phillip's ordered world to its very foundations.

With just over a year to go until the London Olympics/Paralympics 2012, athletic prowess is celebrated in two British Council films, The Flying Scotsman and Sprinters.

The EU delegation, embassies and cultural centres aim to introduce the cinematic diversity of European film making to Vietnamese audiences, said Sean Doyle, head of the EU delegation in Vietnam.

"Apart from building a traditional relationship based investment, economy and politics, we would like to further develop our friendship with Vietnam in terms of culture," he said.

"In order to build such a friendship we are bringing the film festival, as well as other EU cultural activities to Vietnam."

A special feature of this year's festival is the short film night, featuring screenings, including Consequence (Germany), Tripe & Onions (Hungary), Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty and Wednesdays (Ireland), A Farmer's Wish (Sweden) and Sprinters (the UK), to illustrate the richness and diversity of the European lifestyle and culture.

The European Film Festival has been recognised as one of the most successful multi-cultural events held in Vietnam. An increasing number of participants each year have proven the event's attractiveness to Vietnamese audiences. Last year, the event was attended by an approximate 8,000 spectators in both Hanoi and HCM City.

All festival tickets are free of charge, and can be collected for screenings in Hanoi from May 16 and for screenings in HCM City from May 12.

A Film Festival brochure is available on the website at