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55th TIFF
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58th TIFF: Focus on Greek Cinema (10/10/2017)

58th THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
November 2-12, 2017
 
FOCUS ON GREEK CINEMA

Greek cinema is in the spotlight during the 58th Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
TIFF continues to support the local film production via a wide network of initiatives that further promote the Greek films of this year’s edition in the festival’s program, Agora Industry and parallel events.
 
33 Greek feature films in total will be screened in the 58th TIFF:
  • 20 films produced in Greece and in co-production with other countries will have their Greek premiere in Thessaloniki (“First Run”).
  • 3 films by directors who live abroad or are based in Greece will also be screened for the first time in this year’s edition (“Beyond Borders”)
  • 5 films that have already had their Greek premiere will be presented as well (“A Second Viewing”)
  • 2 classic Greek films will be screened in accessibility format for all viewers
  • 2 rare Greek films of the 60s and 70s will be screened in 35mm copies
  • 1 special screening of Lefteris Charitos’ documentary Dolphin Man about Jacques Mayol, the legendary free-diver who inspired Luc Besson’s cult-movie Le Grand Bleu, will also take place in the 58th TIFF. 
In addition, 5 short films by distinguished Greek filmmakers will also be presented as part of the festival’s >>Film Forward section, as well as the 17 award-winning films of the 2017 International Short Film Festival in Drama.
 
Greek Film Festival 2017
The Greek Film Festival, launched last year, is of non competitive character, but showcases 6 independent awards that accompany the Greek films of this year’s edition: the Fischer Audience Award, the FIPRESCI Award, the Pan-Hellenic Film Critics Association’s Award, the ERT S.A. Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Award (3,000 euro to a film of the “First Run” section), and the Youth Jury Awards (Best Film and Jury Special Youth Jury Award, both bestowed by students of Universities of Thessaloniki).
 
Before the final selection of the films participating in the Greek Film Festival 2017, a pre-selection stage took place, with the assistance of a three-member committee that consisted of Sofia Exarchou (director), Yorgos Tsourgiannis (producer) and Antonis Kotzias (VFX supervisor, Yafka Studios Founder).
 
Festival Scope
Following TIFF’s successful collaboration with Festival Scope in last year’s edition, the Greek films of the 58th TIFF will be available at the popular online platform for one month after the end of the event, thus giving to film professionals worldwide the opportunity to watch them.
 
These are the Greek films that will be screened in the 58th TIFF:
 
First Run
Newcomers as well as established filmmakers have entrusted us with their latest works. These are (in alphabetical order) the 19 Greek films that will have their premiere in Thessaloniki, three of which will participate in the International Competition section:
 
4 Days by Michalis Giagkounidis: A mysterious boy is following around a lonely girl. Was their meeting luck, chance or destiny? Their lives will change, as they slowly become open to each other and the rest of the world.
 
Approach by Τony Lykouressis: Strangers find themselves trapped inside five elevators that break down. Tension rises. There is no communication; just angry men and women bringing the worst out of each other. This is hell in 4m²... (Agora Works in Progress, 57th TIFF).
 
Back Held Hands by Nikos Kornilios: After suffering a heart attack, a famous actor invites his two daughters to return to Greece and join him in a “Macbeth for three” performance. The rehearsals will reveal all their harsh truths and emotional traumas.
 
Blue Queen by Alex Sipsidis: An armed robbery is the starting point of an unpredictable story that unfolds in four different versions; one for each of the film’s characters who rival over the "Blue Queen", one of the world’s most rare diamonds.
 
Do It Yourself by Dimitris Tsilifonis: A small-time crook agrees to star in a viral video that will restore the image of a businessman who acts against the law. When he realizes that he is the next victim in this man’s list, he struggles to save himself at any cost, in this suspenseful action film.
 
Happy Birthday by Christos Georgiou: When George runs out of the police riot bus and sees his daughter among the demonstrators facing him, he and his wife decide that father and daughter should go to their country home for a few days, to keep her safe and see if they can salvage their relationship (Crossroads 53th TIFF, Works in Progress - «Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes» event, Cannes FF 2017).
 
Love Me Not by Alexandros Avranas: A wealthy couple hires a young migrant to be their surrogate mother. An unusual friendship develops between the two women, but it is disrupted by an enigmatic sudden death.
 
People by Pavlos Iordanopoulos: Everyday people create fictional characters and share their personal stories on camera, highlighting thus various segments of modern society. The viewers become witnesses of their happy and sad moments, ups and downs.
 
Polixeni by Dora Masklavanou: In 1955 a couple of prominent Greek Istanbulites adopt an orphan Greek girl, twelve-year-old Polyxeni, who is separated from her younger brother. She embarks on a new life and a future that looks bright, but she will have to defend what’s rightfully hers (Works in Progress - «Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes» event, Cannes FF 2017).
 
Rosemarie by Adonis Florides: A burned out soap opera writer turns his gaze upon his dysfunctional neighbours to become inspired by their lives. However, reality surpasses his imagination and expectations in ways that he had never thought.  
 
Sacrilege by Marsa Makri: Isolated in their labyrinthine apartment, a beautiful restless woman and a sick bed-ridden man (played by Blaine L. Reininger) share their common but in no way idyllic life. They are “The Beauty and the Beast”, but with the absence of Love.
 
Son of Sofia by Elina Psykou: 11-year-old Misha flies from Russia to Athens in the summer of 2004, to join his mother, Sofia, after having spent a long time apart. A father is waiting for him there. Misha will try to escape from his new oppressive routine via his imagination and favourite fairy tales (Best International Narrative Feature, Tribeca FF 2017).
 
The Ox by Giorgos Nikopoulos: An experimental animation film that unfolds an unusual story set in an imaginary land; its aged inhabitants are forced to transform their earth into a golden kingdom by adding a magic fertilizer to their crops. A fearless girl will be their savior.
 
The Surface of Things by Nancy Biniadaki: An urban legend of Athens says that in the 80s a girl was swept away by an ancient underground river that nobody has ever seen. Today a young anthropologist is researching the case, interviewing the girl’s three best friends and their former history teacher (Agora Works in Progress, 57th TIFF).
 
Thorn by Gabriel Tzafka: Newlyweds Lisa and Jacob leave for their honeymoon somewhere in the Danish countryside. Their love and faith for each other will soon turn into bitterness and fear. The film, a Danish-Greek production with Danish cast, was bestowed the Eurimages Lab Award in the Agora Works in Progress of the 57th TIFF.
 
Timeless Stories by Vassilis Raisis: Nikos and Elena know each other since they were children. The film follows them in six different phases of their lives. In each one, however, something always prevents them from becoming a couple. How will their story end? 
 
Too Much Info Clouding over My Head by Vassilis Christofilakis: The life of an overanxious young director searching for success is further complicated when he is forced to raise money for a movie screenplay he detests, in this laid-back comedy.

USSAK…years later by Kyriakos Katzourakis: In a suffering country somewhere in the near future, a community of misfits who live in a state of decadence and paranoia, tries to claim a decent life, fighting against an authoritarian oppressive regime.
 
Women Who Passed My Way by Stavros Tsiolis: The acclaimed Greek director returns with a bittersweet story about the need for human contact. Two men are hired to keep watch on a home in Athens, where a room is illegally built. They will meet many passers-by, some of whom are in fact building inspectors attempting to catch them in the act.
 
To R – Cinema Group “To R”: A boy and a girl coming from different worlds fall in love. When summer is over, they will face the shackles of their normal routine and discover what binds them and what breaks them apart.

 
A Second Viewing
These films, that have already had their premiere, will be screened at the 58th TIFF as part of the Greek Film Festival 2017 (in alphabetical order):   
 
Goodbye Lixouri by Makis Moraitis: An angel comes to earth and tells a boy about his past, present and future life, in this nostalgic collage of life snapshots, testimonies and people, set in the Greek island of Kefalonia.
 
Lines by Vassilis Mazomenos: In contemporary Greece, seven people are pushed to their limits, dealing with the aftermath of the Greek crisis. Although different, they are connected by a common last hope: a phone call to the psychological support center called “life line”.
 
Perfect Strangers by Thodoris Atheridis: A remake of Paolo Genovese’s film of the same title, the film centres on a group of friends who get together for a dinner and decide to share the content of their text messages, emails and phone calls. After that, their relationships will never be the same again.
 
Success Story by Nikos Perakis: In a country in deep crisis, two worlds collide: the bourgeois milieu of an intellectual psychiatrist, and the humbler, but no less ambitious world of a beautiful working class actress. They fall in love, but they will soon have to face reality. 
 
The Great Eastern by Lakis and Aris Ionas / The Callas: Five people are waiting on a rocky isolated island for the ocean liner The Great Eastern to pick them up in a journey towards hope. Their isolation, lust and expectations escalate, triggering a series of unexpected events. The film features music by Greek duo The Callas and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo.
 

Beyond Borders
Everything is Wonderful by Pia Mechler: Set in New York, the film tells the story of the friendship between two European immigrants; Maria (played by Greek actress Tonia Sotiropoulou) and Lena (played by the director herself) during one intense week, as they struggle to find happiness and test the limits of their freedom. 
 
ISIS Bride by Morteza Jafari: Based on a true story, the film looks at a young woman who escapes after months of being held as a hostage by ISIS, but finds herself imprisoned by her father who feels disgraced by her pregnancy. She manages to flee to Greece where she is hospitalized in critical condition.
 
West of Sunshine by Jason Raftopoulos: A man has less than a day to pay back his debt to a violent loan shark. When his young son arrives, everything is turned upside down; now he has to let go of his past and embrace his new self.
 
Special Screening
Dolphin Man by Lefteris Charitos: The documentary masterfully unfolds the life story and legacy of Jacques Mayol, the greatest free-diver in recorded history, whose life became the inspiration for Luc Besson's cult-movie Le Grand Bleu. Dolphin Man is narrated by the actor Jean-Marc Barr, who embodied Mayol in Besson’s film. 
 
Accessibility format screenings
The TIFF shares the magic of cinema with all viewers without exception for yet another year during the 58th TIFF, in collaboration with the Onassis Foundation and the Onassis Cultural Centre as accessibility sponsors, and the Movement of Artists with Disabilities as accessibility advisor. Two favorite classic Greek films will be presented in accessibility format for all viewers in this year’s edition: the compelling social drama The Engagement of Anna (1972) by the acclaimed Greek filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris and a hilarious James Bond parody film titled Thou-Vou Bald Agent, Operation Havoc (1969) directed by the celebrated Greek actor Thanassis Vengos. These films will be screened with audio description [AD] for the blind and visually impaired and SDH [Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing] (curation and certification by the Movement of Artists with Disabilities).
 
“The Lost Highway of Greek Cinema: Balcony A & B”
Don’t miss the opportunity to watch two rare Greek films from the past that will be screened in their original 35 mm copies during a special event titled “The Lost Highway of Greek Cinema: Balcony A & B”, in collaboration with the Film Directors & Producers Association of Greece (ESPEK). Giorgos Stampoulopoulos’ Open Letter (1967) follows a young man on his tumultuous journey to personal maturity and awakening, while Costas Ferris’ Prometheus Second Person, Singular (1975) is a modern adaptation of Prometheus Bound that vividly explores the relations between spectacle, viewer and authority.
 
>>Film Forward
This section presents films of experimental character that break all cinema rules. The line-up of this year’s edition includes 5 short films by distinguished Greek filmmakers: Yorgos Zois’ 8th Continent (Orizzonti Short Films-Out of Competition, Venice FF 2017), Syllas Tzoumerkas’ A Manifesto for the Un-communal (Fuori Concorso-Shorts, Locarno IFF 2017) and Eva Stefani (Acropolis, Virgin’s Temple, Manuscript – documenta14). 

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