62nd THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The curtain of the 62nd TIFF’s Agora was raised with Crossroads Co-production Forum
The Agora of the 62nd Thessaloniki Festival kicked off with Crossroads Co-production Forum, which took place on Saturday, November 6, at Frida Liappa theater, at the Port. The producers of the selected film projects still underway had the opportunity to present and discuss their projects with co-producers, distributors, sales agents and prominent experts from several fields of production.
Initially, Yianna Sarri, head of Agora, addressed the attendees and stated that it is a pleasure to be back in theatres, giving the floor to the general director of the Film Festival, Elise Jalladeau. Mrs. Jalladeau thanked the audience for their physical presence and talked about the new difficulties of the corona virus era that introduced new safety protocols and thanked the public for adhering to them. She also stated that flexibility and adaptability are needed to cope with the new conditions. Finally, she welcomed the new sponsors, thanked the old ones and presented the ambassador of Agora, Fotis Sergoulopoulos.
Mr. Sergoulopoulos expressed his joy for being where the heart of the Festival beats: the Agora. Where, as in ancient Greece, ideas are exchanged. He enthusiastically referred to the 14 new ideas presented to the public, in hope that all people concerned would share this enthusiasm.
Afterwards, Yianna Sarri announced a new award from the Onassis Foundation, the Onassis Cinema Award, accompanied by a cash prize of 10,000 euros, bestowed to a Greek project of Crossroads or Works in Progress of the Agora. Next, Angeliki Vergou, the artistic advisor of Crossroads Co-production, presented the jury of Crossroads market and extended a greeting to Amanda Livanou for tutoring the videos along with the statements of the directors. Then, 14 short videos were presented, one for each film, where directors and producers talked about their films.
After the screening of the 14 videos, Angeliki Vergou informed the audience about the upcoming actions of the Agora and went through all the details, as well as all the steps that stakeholders should follow regarding the Agora meetings. Finally, she thanked the audience for their attention and invited everyone to join the Agora actions for Works in Progress.
The aim of the Crossroads Co-production Forum is to support producers of feature fiction films linked to regions of the Mediterranean, South-eastern and Central Europe. A total of 14 projects were presented, including two (2) Greek and one (1) Cypriot, at the pre-production stage.
The Crossroads CoPro Forum included, in its previous edition, film projects such as the recently awarded Ghosts of Azra Deniz Okyay (Grand Prize in the Critics' Week at the Venice IFF 2020, International Competition, WIFT Award and "Human Values" award at the 61st TIFF) and 200 Meters by Ameen Nayfeh (Venice Days Audience Award 2020, Golden Alexander for Best Film and Bronze Alexander for Best Director in the Meet the Neighbors competition section of the 61st TIFF), as well as the award-winning Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, September by Penny Panayotopoulos, Angelos Frantzis' Still River, When I Saw You by Annemarie Jacir, As I Open my Eyes by Layla Bouzid, Park by Sophia Exarchou, The Cakemaker by Ofir Raul Graizer, The Secret Ingredient by Gjorce Stavreski, among others.
The jury of this year's Crossroads consists of Konstantinos Vassilaros (Producer, Studio Bauhaus, Greece), Alessandro Gropplero (Head when East Meets West / Trieste Film Festival, Italy) and Virginie Devesa (Sales Representative, AlphaViolet, France)
The following 14 projects were presented to international professionals and the film market:
- PROMETHEUS Direction: Giorgos Fourtounis, Production: Eleni Kossyfidou - Blackbird Productions, Greece
In the early days of the Junta, a doctor's quixotic aspirations to become Greece's popular leader are perceived as a farce. But Despina, his partner, believes he's going to change the world.
- BABY Direction: Nikos Kyritsis, Production: Maria Drandaki - Homemade Films, Greece
Zacharias (19), a petty drug dealer, moves to Athens with his pregnant girlfriend, Sophia (18), to hide the pregnancy from her parents. After the birth of the child, they are no longer useful to their criminal friends and are thrown on the street. Peter (17), a queer person at the beginning of his transition to femininity, follows them and helps them with the newborn. Sophia, devastated by her new role, abandons him, and Zacharias' world is turned upside down when she is called upon to create an out-of-the-box family with Peter.
- 2000: A POST-WAR ODYSSEY Direction: Zgjim Terziqi, Production: Valmira Hyseni-Plan Bee Films, Kosovo*
Lees, a ten-year-old boy whose father is missing from the Kosovo war*, lives in a cramped house with his family in the early months of 2000. Pressured by society to assume the role of protector of the family, he is pushed to realize a dream and becomes part of a small troupe of three (3) French, who aim to entertain the children of Kosovo*.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
- BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY Direction: Elene Naveriani, Production: Thomas Reichlin-Alva Film Production, Georgia, Switzerland
In a small town in Georgia, 49-year-old Other lives a quiet life in her shop. When Murmani, a middle-aged distributor, enters her shop, she is captivating by an unquenchable passion. Their secret meetings fill her with excitement, but also fear and uncertainty about a possible scandal. When she refuses to move to Turkey with Murmani, her goal is to maintain her independence. She has concerns about her health, and learns she's pregnant.
- DREAMING OF LIONS Direction-Production: Paolo Marinou-Blanco-Darya Films, Production: Justin Amorim-Promenade Films, Portugal
Gilda has reached the end of the road. She is a brilliant retired teacher, who has a year of life due to a cancerous tumor, which she calls "Norberto". After many dangerous and failed suicide attempts, Gilda's only desire is to die without pain while she still recognizes herself. She comes into contact with Transition, an illegal organization that helps patients in the last stage to die peacefully. There she falls in love with Amadeu, and together they live their last adventure: a trip to Belgium and Switzerland, where euthanasia is legal.
- HEAD NURSE Direction: Jan Vejnar,Production: Kamila Dohnalová-Last Films, Czech Republic - In collaboration with the Midpoint Institute
During a shift in a Czech regional hospital, all five (5) main characters will meet Hannah, the chief nurse. Everyone's mental health will be tested by events in which daily dramas alternate in rapid succession, with comical and irrational elements.
- INK WASH Direction: Sarra Tsorakidis, Production: Anca Puiu - Mandragora, Romania, Sweden
Vera, an ambitious painter at the age of 30, is still struggling financially and stays at her late grandmother's house. This death has affected her, as well as her recent separation, and therefore she is constantly postponing important decisions she has to make for her life. She accepts a job as a painter in an unfinished hotel in the Carpathian Mountains and falls in love with the owner, Traian, who makes her feel successful and talented. After it turns out that she is lying and actually mocks her behind her back, Vera invites a group of youngsters to the hotel, who destroy the property and seriously injure a worker. Faced with the childishness of her actions, Vera is confronted with her need to move on.
- LULLABY Direction: Keti Machavariani, Production: Nato Sikharulidze-Terra Incognita Films, Georgia - In collaboration with CINEMED
Ia, a 46-year-old translator, works as a caregiver for a prostate elderly person in Greece. She sends a monthly allowance to her son's patrons back to Georgia and lives in a trivial routine. She tries to keep in touch with her profession by translating lyrics from the Greek language. Lullaby's multi-layered story is an "autobiography in plural", reflecting the experiences of millions of women forced to work illegally in various countries as a result of the economic crisis.
- MATILDA HAS THE LAST WORD (*AS SHE ALWAYS DOES) Direction: Andrei Creţulescu, Production: Cristian Nicolescu-Digital Cube, Co-production: Codruţa Creţulescu-Kinosseur, Romania
Matilda is blonde and popular, intelligent and independent. We meet her at 44 in a park, ready to make a speech. We follow her complicated life in a series of flashbacks and flash forwards. Finally, we return to the present, in June 2022. We see that her word is addressed to her seven-year-old daughter, Eliza. Her boyfriend, Dinu, comes and takes Eliza. Matilda comes out of the park and dances with strangers on the street. She looks at the camera and smiles. She has won.
- MY FATHER'S SHOES Direction: Hristo Simeonov, Production: Katya Trichkova-Contrast films, Bulgaria - In collaboration with Sofia Meetings
A psychological drama about the loss of faith in family relationships and the ability to forgive. Exposed to pain and alienation, a mother and a daughter are called upon to decide whether to forgive the old mistakes of the head of the family with a burial or erase him forever from their memory.
- NO SMOKING AT THE BORDER Directed by Svitlana Topor, Production: Vasyl Malko-Emily Production, Poland - In collaboration with the Mediterranean Film Institute,
Anya, a young smuggler, decides to stop trading contraband cigarettes and study at the School of Fine Arts. To escape the aggressive world of smuggling, she must go through with one last score, under the watchful eye of an overly enthusiastic border guard.
- PHILAX Direction: Rûken Tekeş, Production: Billur Arikan-Sarya Films Collective, Co-production: Gabriele Oricchio, Riccardo Di Pasquale-Fenix Entertainment SPA, Turkey, Italy
Following a donkey as it changes owners among the last Greek inhabitants of a remote island of Turkey, PHILAX depicts the flow of life in four (4) seasons full of resistance, fear and hope.
- SHIBBOLETH Direction: Alexandra Matthaiou, Production: Tonia Misiali-Bark Like A Cat Films, Cyprus
A love triangle is created between a surrogate mother and the couple whose baby she is carrying, when they all go on holiday together. Nothing goes according to plan when the truth about their true intentions is revealed.
- YUGO FLORIDA Directed by Vladimir Tagić, Production: Marija Stojanović-Sense Production, Serbia, Montenegro
Zoran's bizarre life includes a drug-addicted roommate, a distant former partner and a reality TV job. But everything will be overturned when his intolerable father becomes seriously ill, and Zoran pledges to help him in his final weeks.
The Crossroads Co-production Forum awards are the following: