We are delighted to unveil the 28 feature films, as well as the 19 short Greek films, that will be screened at the 63rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival (November 3-13, 2022). The Festival supports Greek production and filmmakers through specific actions and initiatives.
The 63rd TIFF welcomes 15 Greek films that celebrate their premiere in the Festival. Six films participate in the three Competition Sections of the Festival: Listen by Maria Douza and Silence 6-9 by Christos Passalis participate in the International Competition, Black Stone by Spiros Jacovides and Behind the Haystacks by Asimina Proedrou are part of the Meet the Neighbors competition, while BASTARDS by Nikos Pastras and Dignity by Dimitris Katsimiris participate in the >>Film Forward competition.
The Festival, also, organizes spotlights to two important Greek women directors: Maria Plyta, the first Greek woman director and Maria Gavala, who will receive a Golden Alexander Award. The Festival will, also, bestow an honorary Golden Alexander award to legendary Greek production company Finos Film. The Festival, thanks to the support of Alpha Bank, its accessibility sponsor, will host universally accessible screenings of two landmark Greek films: Reconstruction by Theo Angelopoulos and It’s a Long Road by Pantelis Voulgaris.
The Greek Film Festival has been held over the last five years. The members of the advisory committee that undertook the task of preselection of the films of the Greek Film Festival were: Maria Filini, actress, Thanasis Totsikas, director, Emilios Harbis, journalist.
The Greek Film Festival is not hosting a competition section, as prescribed by law. However, a series of prizes and awards have been established, aiming to reinforce Greek cinema.
-FISCHER Audience Award.
-The Greek Film Center Award, accompanied by a 5,000 euros cash prize, granted to a debutant director, in a Greek production having its premiere in the official selection (“First Run”) and the Best Location Award, accompanied by a 1,500 euros prize, bestowed by the Hellenic Film Commission of the GFC to a location manager (or a director in case of no location manager in the film) of a film by a debutant director in a Greek production premiering at the official selection.
-Τwo awards bestowed by ERT S.A. (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation). The first one, accompanied by a 3,000 euro-prize, is given to the film selected by the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). The second award by ERT S.A. accompanied by a 2,000-euro prize is bestowed to the Greek project awarded within the framework of the Agora Lab-Works in Progress.
-The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award is bestowed to a film that presents a comprehensive aesthetic proposition, promotes the art of cinema and demonstrates its affinities with the other arts. The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award aims to support the Greek film industry production. The independent jury is composed of: Rea Apostolides, producer, Georgis Grigorakis, director and Christina Moumouri, director of photography.
-The award of the International Federation of Film Critics - FIPRESCI.
-The award of the Greek Film Critics Association bestowed to a Greek film screened at the Greek Film Festival.
-The Youth Jury Awards (Best Feature Film Award and Special Youth Jury Award), bestowed by a jury of students from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Macedonia University of Thessaloniki.
Thessaloniki Festival, through its official selection and Agora’s initiatives, offers support to Greek cinema by means of actions, programs, awards and prizes, administering for the second consecutive year a fee to all Greek films of the official selection.
Moreover, it persists in boosting Greek films traveling abroad, offering 3,000 euros per film to all directors who take part in the most prestigious international film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastián, Rotterdam, New York, Tribeca, Toronto, Sundance, Busan, IDFA, Hot Docs, Nyon) with their debut or sophomore film. Recent examples are the films Broadway by Christos Massalas which was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival and Silence 6-9 which was screened at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The Festival is also providing an invaluable chance to Greek directors to showcase their work before professionals from the international field. Movies from this year’s Greek production will be screened at Cinando online platform – one of the most important tools for cinema professionals on a worldwide scale.
Let us take a glance at the recent production of Greek films:
Debutant and promising directors, as well as experienced filmmakers, entrusted us with their films yet for another year. Here’s an overview of the 63rd TIFF’s films.
Financial upheaval forces a teenage deaf girl, 16-year-old Valmira, to leave her progressive Athens school and return to her father's struggling island; there, she is confronted by the danger of prejudice and intolerance – most shockingly her own.
Aris and Anna meet one evening in a half-abandoned, coastal town, which is surrounded by antennas; the antennas emit strange sounds and enable the transmission of the voices of the Lost Ones – inhabitants who have suddenly and inexplicably disappeared. In this strange world, Aris and Anna fall in love. A few days later, Anna disappears.
Meet the Neighbors
While filming absent civil servants, a documentary crew stumbles upon Haroula, a desperate, overprotective Greek mother in search of her son. But when he is accused of fraud, Haroula sets out with her other, disabled son and a Greek-African taxi driver to bring him back home where he belongs. Even if this means discovering who her son really is.
Behind the Haystacks
A tragic incident on Greece’s northern border strikes a local family of three,
pushing them to face their own personal impasses, while having to deeply consider the price for their actions.
The Bastards have left the city behind. Their house in the countryside smells of nothing but summer. Five girls and five boys living in the moment, for the moment. No outsider comes near here, and all the insiders take turns standing guard, kissing each other, playing dead. They are still kids. They are your kids. They are our Bastards.
After his wife’s death, an 80-year-old man leaves his village to live in the city with his son and daughter-in-law. However, as the date of his birthday approaches, his son calls the other family members to tell them that he is no longer able to take care of him. Another solution must be found, requiring that everyone should take their responsibility.
Another five films will celebrate their premiere at the 63rd TIFF:
Blossoms to Blossoms
On his last day in Athens before moving abroad, Konstantinos meets Sofia at the park. Under the pressure of time, the two not-so-close friends agree to play a game in order to communicate what they don’t know about each other yet.
Unassociated images are freely connected in a dream-like journey. The relationship of a couple, their desire to be together, the difficulties. They leave, they escape their suffocating reality, in an effort to become closer. But the intimacy drives them apart. Visiting remote places, fighting, falling in love: a course on eggshells, on a misty line.
A Night at the Theater
Two hundred years after the Greek revolution, a coup d'état occurs in Greece. A man named Odysseus hides in a theater for three days. The third night, a woman named Athena finds him hidden there. As the night passes by, they slowly transform into the mythological characters of the same name.
A monk leads a procession. A girl is rescued from prostitution. Two college boys become perpetrators of violent incidents. An elderly man is exploited by a policewoman. A couple tries to recover their relationship. A woman expresses her anger to a civil servant. A man secretly kidnaps his best friend. Seven different stories about love in modern Greece, from people who seek it, find it, lose it.
Α Greek filmmaker finds himself in Trieste, where he plans to make a documentary following the footsteps of the Greek revolutionary intellectual Rìgas Feràios. While visiting the Greek Orthodox cemetery, a group of ghosts from the 18th century cross his path. A modern comedy based on real historic events.
As part of the “Crossing Borders” section, four films celebrate their premiere at the 63rd TIFF.
During the Nazi invasion of Greece, a female resistance fighter embarks on a revenge operation to assassinate her own mother, in the name of God. Inspired by Euripides’s Electra.
Corinna Avraamidou, Kyriacos Tofarides
Abdallah, an Arab Muslim civil engineer, has to come to terms with his own responsibility in the collapse of a buildings, which caused the death of 7 people. Having been radicalized, Iman and Leila are sent to Cyprus on a secret mission. Michelle, a lonely teenager falls for Angelos, a dominating young man with racist beliefs. Three stories, each involving characters whose actions mark the difference between life and death, are defined by their search for redemption.
Ioanna cleans fish on a lonely island, and only dreams of an old love from Germany. Apart from her memories of him, she has nothing but a faded postcard. The longing makes her travel. Penniless, she moves through a ramshackle Europe. A bear finds the sleeping Ioanna. And Ioanna, who has been mute until now, finds her voice again.
Paris is in Harlem
On the eve of New York City’s controversial “No Dancing” Law getting repealed, the lives of several strangers are forever changed by a shooting at a historic jazz bar in Harlem. Paris is in Harlem is a symphonic story devoted to the song which is America today – a song of separation, division, and confusion. A world failed by words, a world where only music can transport us to a place where “everything’s gonna be alright”.
A Second Viewing
Three Greek films that have already premiered will be screened within the framework of the 63rd TIFF’s Greek Film Festival:
Nelly has escaped from her wealthy and controlling family. As she dances in a strip club, she meets Markos, a charismatic gangster, who helps her run away from her stepfather’s henchmen. Markos becomes her protector and lover. He brings her into Broadway, an abandoned entertainment complex squatted by a community of dancers, tramps and thieves.
A Day in the Life of a Teddy Bear
A boy-meets-girl-meets-teddy bear story, taking place in Shanghai. Jinxi is a violinist, about to fulfill her dream of moving to Vienna to continue with her music studies. While trying to settle her affairs before departing, her encounter with Panos, a Greek architect newly arrived in Shanghai, will have a disrupting effect on her life.
Medea, Jason, and their two children live as refugees in the Greek city of Corinth. When Jason abandons her to marry the king’s daughter, Medea is forced to leave the country, on penalty of death.
Panos H. Koutras
A dodo, a bird extinct for the last 300 years, shows up at the villa of a formerly wealthy family in Athens. The owners are counting down the critical two days to their daughter’s wedding, which will bring their financial salvation. In Dodo’s presence, the already thin line between sanity and madness collapses as the situation spins out of control.
Honorary Golden Alexander to Finos Film
For the first time, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival bestows an honorary Golden Alexander award to a historic film production company for its contribution to cinema. The event will take place on Sunday, November 6, at Pavlos Zannas theater and will be followed by the screening of the film My friend, Lefterakis.
My Friend, Lefterakis
In his effort to cover his love affairs from his wife, Theodoros has invented Lefterakis – an imaginary friend from Patras. His system seems to work, until, one day, Lefterakis shows up at his doorstep, alive and kicking. Τheodoros loses his mind and tries to convince Lefterakis that he does not… exist.
Universally Accessible Screenings
The goal set by Thessaloniki International Film Festival is to share the magic of cinema with all viewers, without any exception. To this end, TIFF is screening films with Audio Description for the blind and the visually impaired and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, with curation and certification provided by the Movement of Artists with Disabilities.
The Festival, thanks to the support of Alpha Bank, its accessibility sponsor, will host universally accessible screenings of two landmark films. Thessaloniki’s audience will have the rare chance, with no exceptions or limitations, to enjoy two the most acclaimed moments in Greek cinema’s history on the big screen: Reconstruction (1970) by Theo Angelopoulos and It’s a Long Road (1998) by Pantelis Voulgaris.
A benchmark film for New Greek Cinema, Reconstruction snatched five awards at the 11th Thessaloniki Film Festival (Best Art Film, Best Debutant Director for Theo Angelopoulos, Best Cinematography for Yorgos Arvanitis, Best Supporting Actress for Toula Stathopoulou, Critics’ Award for Best Feature Film), as well as a special mention by FIPRESCI at the Berlinale. The movie’s cast is composed of Toula Stathopoulou, Yannis Totsikas, Thanos Grammenos, Petros Hoedas, Michalis Fotopoulos, Yannis Balaskas. The screenplay was written by Theo Angelopoulos, Stratis Karras and Thanassis Valtinos, Yorgos Arvanitis was the film’s cinematographer, Takis Davlopoulos was the editor, Thanassis Arvanitis was in charge of the sound, Tasos Chalkias wrote the music score, Mikes Karapiperis was the set designer, while Giorgos Samiotis served as the film’s producer. Reconstruction takes place in the village of Tymphaea, in Epirus. An immigrant, working in Germany, is returning home after a long time and ends up killed by his wife and her lover. This story unfolds through a series of different research investigations - reconstructions of the crime: the bureaucratic aspect of the interrogation, which seeks to find a guilty scapegoat to wrap up the case, as well as the journalistic side that records the residents’ testimonies, brings forth the sociological framework in the core of the story, but also the dramatic social reality of the village that remains an open wound.
It’s a Long Road is a film made up of three different stories, each one involving a person who is approaching a critical moment in his life. While at a dig in Macedonia, an architect, whose son shot himself one year earlier while doing his military service, discovers an unlooted tomb that contains the remains of an officer of the Hellenistic period. A group of ornithologists go to the Evros River Delta to find, with the help of an elderly game warden, the last lesser white-fronted goose which has sought refuge there. When the goose is shot by a poacher, the game warden will pay him back in his own coin. A middle-aged factory owner, distraught over the fact that his wife has taken the children and left him, ends up at a seamy bouzouki joint in the middle of nowhere, which he proceeds to literally demolish.
Spotlight to Theo Angelopoulos
Within the framework of the Festival’s grand tribute to the legendary Greek auteur, in addition to the universally accessible screening of Reconstruction, the Festival also showcases the documentary by Antonis Kokkinos and Yannis Soldatos, To Each Their Voice: Theo Angelopoulos & Nikos Panayotopoulos.
To Each Their Voice: Theo Angelopoulos & Nikos Panayotopoulos
Antonis Kokkinos, Yannis Soldatos
Athens, 2022, 76’
In the mid-80s, Aegokeros publishing house intended, although without success, to publish a magazine about film and the theater. The main topic of each issue would be a conversation in the form of an interview between two creators either of cinema or the theater. Theo Angelopoulos and Nikos Panayotopoulos had been chosen by the editorial board for the first issue. Indisputably they were two key figures of the Greek cinema at that period, and among the pioneers of the New Greek Cinema. With that being said, a summer evening at Angelopoulos house in the Mati area, Antonis Kokkinos and Yannis Soldatos recorded a three-hour interview between Theo and Nikos, within the frameworks set for them, in order to be included in the magazine. The interview brought to the fore their common course, even though completely opposite from one point onward, which started from their years in Paris and continued with the spectacularly shipwrecked attempt for Angelopoulos to set up his first film, the one about The Forminx, in which Panayotopoulos hold the position of assistant director. Thirty-five years later, the unpublished conversation has been found; both the tapes and the transcripts! Given that the two protagonists have passed away, this conversation stands as a valuable manifestation of the creators’ views regarding their own, until then, existing and future work, as well as a thorough insight into the New Greek Cinema, and into World Cinema in general. The story of the two creators is the main core around which the film unfolds.
In the framework of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, there will be two spotlights on important Greek women filmmakers.
Spotlight to Maria Plyta
The films Eva and The Engagement will be screened in the Spotlight to Maria Plyta. There will, also, be a colloquium on Maria Plyta, organized by the Laboratory for the Study of Greek Cinema & Television (LSGCT) at the School of Film A.U.TH., in collaboration with TIFF. The colloquium, titled “The “unknown” female director of Greek cinema” will take place on November 7, in Pavlos Zannas theater.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1915, Maria Plyta is considered the first Greek woman director. She took her first steps in the field of literature, while in the late 1940s she became involved with film production, working in films by Alekos Sakellarios and Yorgos Tzavellas. In 1950, she made her debut as a director, with the film The Engagement, one of the most remarkable Greek films capturing the era’s social mores, with sets by renowned Greek painter Yannis Tsarouhis. In the following decades and with 17 films to her credit, Maria Plyta established herself as one of the most successful filmmakers of her generation, while she also wrote screenplays for other directors’ films. She died in 2006.
A young couple’s romance comes to a tragic end when they learn that they are siblings.
During her summer vacation, a married woman, Eva, meets a young man with whom she lives a brief love affair, provoking her husband's rage and the censure of the island's small community.
Spotlight to Maria Gavala
Three films by the great director, cinema theorist, translator and writer Maria Gavala will be screened as part of a tribute to her work, at the 63rd Thessaloniki Film Festival. An honorary Golden Alexander will, also, be bestowed to the Greek director.
Maria Gavala was born in Koropi, Attica, in 1947. She studied history and archeology at the University of Athens, graduating in 1972. She has worked as a teacher, she directed cinema and television films, wrote film reviews, and translated texts on film theory and aesthetics, as well as literature. She was a member of the editorial board of the journal Synchronos Kinimatografos [Contemporary Cinema]. She has published extensively in film magazines, and in publications of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Greek Film Archive, among others. She has written ten prose works.
Maria Gavala, Theodoros Sournas
Spiny film with heroes, an aspiring writer who is torn between two women and a provincial student who comes to live in Athens but fails to adapt to the new environment.
The scent of violets
A romantic girl, influenced by a popular magazine, has a series of brief adventures with her ambitious cousin, her gay cousin, her neighborhood's electrician and a distant aunt, which will land her from myths and dreams to reality.
The Magic Glass
Two young people in love, despite facing the usual problems of married life, struggle to preserve their love and romance, pushing aside every "temptation" that tries to come between them.
Greek Short Films
Last but not least, as every year, the Greek short films awarded at the recent 45th Drama International Short Film Festival will be screened at the 63rd TIFF. For the first time, the films awarded at the National Student Competition will be screened at the 63rd TIFF. The awarded short films will be screened as part of a special section at the Film Market, available for sales agents and representatives from international short film festivals.
The films that will be screened are:
5pm Seaside by Valentin Stejskal
Pendulus by Dimitris Gotsis
Toxic Magnus by Nasos Gatzoulis
Daphne by Tonia Mishiali
Last Sigh by Haris Raftogiannis
Cactus by Dimitris Zouras
Magma by Lia Tsalta
Under the Lake by Thanasis Trouboukis
KIDDO by Michalis Kimonas
Tokakis ή What’s My Name by Thanos Tokakis
On Xerxes’ Throne by Evi Kalogiropoulou
Not Tomorrow by Amerissa Basta
Yama by Andreas Vakalios
Love you more than Peanut Butter by Ariadni-Angeliki Thyfronitou-Litou
Sammer by Stelios Christoforou
Trixes by Ioanna Digenaki
Sun & Shadow by Melina Loukanidou
All That Remains by Semeli Safou
Hussies by Despina Mavridou
As every year, the Agora presents a series of new actions and initiatives, which aim to strengthen Greek film production. More specifically, within the framework of the 63rd TIFF, the Agora:
-Continues the Agora Short Film Lab initiative, in collaboration with the Drama Short Film Festival and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, in which leading cinema professionals give valuable advice to the award-winning directors of Drama and Clermont-Ferrand.
-Presents for the fourth year the Meet the Future action, in the context of which up-and-coming Greek actors and actresses will present their work via self-tape to film professionals from Greece and abroad and will attend talks and workshops with important professionals.
-Every year, Greek professionals in the field of film distribution participate in the Thessaloniki Locarno Industry Academy, together with their colleagues from other European countries.