10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival –
Images of the 21st Century

March 7-16, 2008



The two exhibitions hosted by the 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century take us to the hottest fronts on the planet, where hope rises out of the ashes of war. These exhibits opened on Saturday, March 8 at the Thessaloniki Photography Museum, in the presence of the Ambassador of Canada, Doctor Renata E. Wielgosz, the Deputy Mayor for Culture and Youth for the Municipality of Thessaloniki Vassilis Gakis, the Director of the Museum of Photography Vangelis Ioakimidis, and the Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Dimitris Eipides. The photographic exhibitions “Rebuilding Afghanistan”, presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada, and “Once Second of Silence”, by Sotiris Danezis, immortalize the places of human suffering, where the universal plea for peace and human rights becomes imperative

The Director of the Photography Museum began by welcoming the two exhibitions to the Museum, underlining the close relationship between the documentary and photography: “The documentary is integrally connected to photography and particularly as it is used traditionally, the imprinting of reality”. At the same time he expressed his desire that some activity on the subject of photography and the documentary can be undertaken by the Documentary Festival and the Museum of Photography together in future.

Then the Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Dimitris Eipides spoke, referring to the two exhibitions as the most significant event in this year’s Festival programme. He thanked the Embassy of Canada in particular, which has supported the Festival throughout its ten year journey, and expressed the hope that this felicitous collaboration can continue into the next decade.

The Ambassador of Canada, in her turn, thanked the Documentary Festival for hosting the “Rebuilding Afghanistan” exhibition. This exhibition has already traveled to various areas of Canada and now is touring the world. The efforts of a people to stand on its feet after the whirlwind of war is described in the exhibition, through 19 photographs taken by well known Canadian photographers such as Roger LeMoyne, Simon Duchesne, Pedram Pirnia and Jason Ransom. “This particular exhibition speaks about progress, about hope. The rebuilding of Afghanistan is a complicated process that requires time. There will certainly be challenges in the future. It is for exactly this reason that I invite you to look at this exhibition more carefully”, Renata E. Wielgosz stressed.

The Deputy Mayor for Culture and Youth for the Municipality of Thessaloniki Vassilis Gakis greeted the event, and praised the ten year presence of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in the City’s cultural activities, characterizing it as a treasure chest of knowledge and information for the people of the 21st century, and likening it to “a 10 year old child who keeps getting even better as it grows older”. Referring to the photographs contained in the two exhibitions, Mr. Gakis said that “they are shocking testimonies and rare documents centered on the human being itself. Their power prompts the viewer to a creative reflection and meditation on topical international subjects”.

“For an amateur photographer such as myself, it is a great honour to see my photographs in a place such as the Thessaloniki Photography Museum”, Sotiris Danezis said. “The exhibition consists of 25 photographs. If we put them all together and they were television frames, they would take one second in a PAL television signal. It is a second of silence from 15 countries and peoples who are condemned to the silence of the international community and excluded from the front pages of international journalism, from countries and peoples where all our silence, ignorance and indifference become synonymous with the crimes which are committed there, and with human barbarism”, Mr. Danezis commented.