Written by Giannis Frangoulis Translated by Konstantinos Vassilaros



The festival will commence anytime now and the pictures are ready to fly from the harbor all the way to the White Tower and Aristotelous St. giving Thessalonica an atmosphere of festivity. Cinema is a mythology, points out Director of the Festival, Despina Mouzaki during her greeting speech, and this myth will enter for good in the lives of the Thessalonians for the next ten days. It is true that during the Festival, a walk from the harbor to the White Tower, next to the sea will leave you in awe. However, we have to go upstairs in the building of the Festival in order to be informed of the new influences, the new film works, the new directors, and the New Greek films. Our path is predetermined.

The famous path from the harbor to Aristotelous St., that is to say the four rooms that are situated on the harbor (John Cassevetes, Stavros Tornes, Tonia Marketaki, Frida Liappa) all the way up to the two rooms on Aristotelous St. (Olympion and Pavlos Zannas), an additional daily walk will be added heading to the refurdished rooms Vakoura 1 and 2, as well as towards the room Manolis Andronikos, at the Archaeological Museum, where the big party of the Festival will take place. Each year, the people carrying the recognizable bag, which is given to them by the festival, run like ants up and down so they won’t miss any films. The screening programs are numerous; there is an abundance of films, events and happenings taking place in the Festival area (on the harbor) and further out. Some people have accused the Festival for gigantism and they are not completely unreasonable for saying so. The main point is to watch good films, but also people being able to select for them selves and see most of those films. One of the most important elements of the festival is to discuss the films after their screening, the public has to be allowed to discuss with the director, and also allow the creator to benefit from the reactions and comments of the spectators.

THE MAIN PROGRAMS This year we have the International Program, in which the International In-Competition Screenings, the special Screenings and the films from the Opening and Closing Ceremony are included. 14 fiction films are participating, 4 of which are having their world premiere, while 2 of them are having their European premiere. These 14 films will be screened under the International In-Competition Department. The film “The Queen”, by Stephen Frears, will be the opening film for the Festival. While the film “Coeurs” (AKA: “Private Fears in Public Places”) by Alain Resnais, will be the closing film of the Festival. The Greek Program which will include the totality of this year's film production, as well as screenings dedicated to Stavros Tsiolis (with 12 films) and to Dimos Theo (with 5 films), and a big homage dedicated to immigration portrayed in the Greek cinema (with 29 films of short and feature length). In addition honorary events will be help, dedicated to Alexis Damianos, the first Greek female director, Maria Plyta and the director Giannis Fafoutis. Furthermore, the following films will be specially screened: “The Adventures of Villar” (1924), by Joseph Chep, and “The magician of Athens” (1931), directed by Achilles Madras, with the escort of live electronic music written by composer Peekay Tayloh. Also honorary events from the Union of Greek Scriptwriters will be held to tribute, Vangelis Gkoufas, Panos Kontelis, Lakis Michailidis and Yannis Tziotis. For the first time this year the DigitalWave scheme will be presented, the new in-competition departments of digital films were the first reward to be awarded is legislated from the Greek Film Centre. In addition, Nikos Kavoukidis, a well-known director of photography, will give a master class. One of the main events of the Festival is the homage to Wim Wenders. During this tribute all his work up to date will be shown including all 27 films, fictional and documentaries. Wim Wenders himself will be present, while his wife, photographer Donatta Wenders will present her photographs that were taken during the making of Wenders’ films. Two other homages will be, a tribute to the Brazilian Cinema, including the screenings of the work of Walter Salles, and a tribute to the Modern Chinese Cinema, during which 23 films chosen by Derek Elli, cinema critic from the Variety magazine, will be presented.

OTHER PROGRAMS During newly established department “Days of Independence”, the work of Jan Svankmajer will be shown. The departments “Somebody to Take Care of Them” and “New Americans” will continue this year again, while Special screenings and a Children Dedicated Screening will take place. The program “A Glance at the Balkans” will be continued this year as well, with films from our neighboring countries. The “Focus” scheme is inaugurated this year, focusing in a different subject every year. This year’s subject is Adolescent Desire/Adolescent Pain. During the “Industry Centre” a forum for Co-producers “Crossroads” will take place, as well as the Annual Film Market, the Balkan Fund for Script Development, “Balkan Fund”, the 1st Meeting for European Scriptwriters and the “Salonica Studio”, where film graduates can join in the seminars concerning the international financing and funding. Throughout the Parallel Events the works of Video Artists, Chinese Kao Fei, British Eve Sasman, and Greek Lidas Papakonstantinou will be shown, as well as the works of Greek photographer Michali Anastasios and the work of Greek artist Rania Kapelari. Finally, on Monday 27th November, in the Museum of Cinema, all the films from this year's Drama Short Film Festival will be screened for the general public. We will keep sending reportages and comments daily from Thessalonica concerning the Festival’s films, events and happenings. In the end of this celebrative event we will make our assessment. Giannis Frangoulis


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