The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century began its journey in March 1999, at the dawn of the new millennium and in the middle of profound changes in the information community as well as the international social arena. On the one hand, the rapid development of digital technology, with all this entails for artistic expression and communication - information, and on the other hand decisive multidimensional phenomena such as globalization, which marked the beginning of the 21st century, gave a creative push to documentaries. New perspectives and possibilities brought the genre to the international cinematic forefront, and correspondingly established the creation of an international event uniquely suited to the genre. Something which, moreover, proved itself in practical terms by the great and immediate response of the audience (an average of 22,000 viewers annually) and the massive participation of important personalities and industry professionals from Greece and abroad.
One of the basic aims of the founder and artistic director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century, Dimitri Eipides, was the organization of an institution with international prestige and scope which could function as a platform for productive interaction of artists in the field. At the same time he wished the Festival to be a point of contact for Greek directors with new developments in the audiovisual sector, and inform them on ways to exploit the opportunities offered by modern technology. The Pitching Forum organized every year in collaboration with the European Documentary Network (EDN) and the Market section are two festival activities working in this direction, decisively contributing to the enrichment of the institution and establishing it as a draw for film production professionals.
However, the greatest challenge that the festival faced from the very moment of its inception was its object itself: the representation of reality. In an age where all the citizens of the world have - at least in theory - easy access to the means of image production and transmission of messages, the role of the documentary in the area of education, information and entertainment appears to be catalytic. The images of social, historical, political, and more importantly human reality in the 21st century which is at the core of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, are sometimes moving, sometimes disturbing, sometimes shocking and sometimes entertaining, but they always remain a starting point for adventurous cinematic explorations. These images make a date every March in Thessaloniki, with an enthusiastic audience seeking to explore the human landscape in depth, and to wander, literally or metaphorically, through the art of the documentary.
THE AWARDS OF THE DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL
The awards given out by the 9th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century are the following:
i. Two awards for films over 45' minutes in length (one Greek and one foreign). They are accompanied by a cash prize of 3,000 euros each.
ii. Two awards for films under 45' minutes in length (one Greek and one foreign). They are accompanied by a cash prize of 1,500 euros each.
All the Greek films that are having their first public screening, are featured in the official program or the Panorama program, are eligible to compete for the Audience Award for a Greek Film.
All films compete for the corresponding Audience Award for a Foreign Film, except for those presented within the context of the tributes.
Moreover, as every year, the FIPRESCI prize for Best Greek and Best Foreign Documentary will awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics to one Greek and one Foreign film.