New actions and synergies launched by the most dynamic Film Market of Southeastern Europe



New actions and synergies launched by the most dynamic Film Market of Southeastern Europe

The Agora of the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival is the birthplace of the cinema of the future. Filmmakers, producers, distributors and representatives of the most prestigious international film festivals and TV broadcasters meet up, discover new cinema projects and enable them to reach their conclusion, as well as their audience.

Featuring a new series of initiatives, the Agora of the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, the most significant and vibrant Film Market of Southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, makes use of all available tools and new technologies. In addition, it keeps enhancing the efforts to make its actions more sustainable and reduce its environmental imprint.

With the support of Creative Europe MEDIA and in close collaboration with DAE (Documentary Association of Europe), the 25th TiDF’s Agora showcases a fully rounded program of events, grabbing the pulse of the documentary genre in all its versions and forms. Agora’s success story is reflected in this year’s Festival lineup, as 15 movies that went through Agora’s developmental programs are now complete and ready to meet their audience. More than 200 guests from 40 countries will attend the hybrid edition of Agora and the TiDF25.

Agora’s goal is to boost and support the production of films from Greece and the wider neighboring region.This year’s participants will discover films and projects, get acquainted with the filmmakers and follow all new trends within the framework of the Agora Talks.

Let’s take a glance at Agora’s main pillars:

  1. AgoraDoc Market: Featuring more than 400 documentaries in its digitized library (teaming up with Cinando), Agora Doc Market is available solely online for Agora’s guests and accredited journalists.
  2. AgoraDocs in Progress: A total of 11 films will be presented prior to their completion.
  3. ThessalonikiPitching Forum: A total of 14 projects will be presented in the co-producing and co-financing platform for creative, TV and new media documentaries at the development stage.
  4. AgoraLab: A total of 6 projects from Greece will take part in this year’s Agora Lab, where documentary specialists will offer guidance to directors of films from all development stages.
  5. Meetthe Future: Each year 5 up-and-coming documentary filmmakers from our wider geographical regions take center stage. This year, directors from Moldova pick up the baton.
  6. AgoraTalks & Masterclass: Every year Agora invites documentary experts to share practical advice and personal experiences with the Festival’s accredited guests.
  7. DocCounseling: One-on-one counseling meetings offered to filmmakers from Greece and abroad.

We take great delight in the fact that 15 films backed by Agora’s actions in the previous years will celebrate their world, international or European premiere in the competition sections and the Open Horizons section of the 25th TiDF.

Narrow Path to Happiness by Kata Oláh (Hungary-USA)
Agora Docs in Progress 2021

Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods by Angelos Rallis (USA)
Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2020 - ERT Award & Agora Docs in Progress 2021

Queen of the Deuce by Valerie Kontakos (Greece-Canada)
Agora Docs in Progress 2019

Avaton by Irini Karayannopoulou and Sandrine Cheyrol (Greece)
Agora Docs in Progress 2021 - MuSou Award

Dogwatch by Gregoris Rentis (Greece-France)
Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes 2021

And, Toward Happy Alleys by Sreemoyee Singh (India)
Agora Docs in Progress 2022

Citizen Miko by Robin Kvapil (Czech Republic)
Agora Docs in Progress 2022 - MuSou Award

Notes on Displacement by Khaled Jarrar (Palestine-Germany-Qatar)
Agora Docs in Progress 2019 - recipient of the Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award

A Steady Job by Gianluca Matarrese, Mattia Colombo (Italy-France)
Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2020 - winner of the main award

Prison Blues by Dominikos Ignatiadis (Greece)
Αgora Lab 2021

A Dance Class by George Vitsaropoulos (Greece)
Agora Lab 2022

Everything You Say about Me by Evangelia Goula (Greece)
Αgora Lab 2021

The Village of Roses by Hanna Heilborn (Sweden)
Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2021

We Will Not Fade Away by Alisa Kovalenko (Ukraine-France-Poland)
Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2020

When I Meet My Friends by Giannis Karydas (Greece)
Agora Lab 2021



Monday March 6th (09.30-14.00) / also available online for Agora’s accredited guests

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, TiDF’s co-producing and co-financing platform, offers the chance to participants to pitch their project, receive useful comments and tips, as well as to polish up their material during a two-day online workshop. 

The tutors of the group workshops are the following:

Philippa Kowarsky, Producer & Documentary consultant, Israel

Brigid O'Shea, Documentary consultant, Documentary Association of Europe - DAE, Germany/Australia

Ove Rishøj Jensen, Producer & Documentary consultant, Paradiddle Pictures, Denmark

Mila Turajlić, Director & Producer, Poppy Pictures, Serbia

Natalia Libet, Producer, Ukraine

Subsequently, the participants present their projects during the one-day Forum to experts from all over the world, with whom they arrange meetings.

Here’s the full list of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum awards:

The international jury of Thessaloniki Pitching Forum is composed of:

Eleni Chandrinou, Consultant & Producer - Cigale Films, Belgium
Nevena Milašinović
, Sales and Acquisitions Executive - Lightdox, Switzerland
Sara Rüster, International Distribution Manager -  Swedish Film Institute, Sweden

The projects will be showcased also through the talks conducted between the filmmakers and an international panel of top-notch professionals:

This year’s panel of experts include:

Adel Ksiksi, Al Jazeera

Soleil Gharbieh - AFAC - Arab Fund for Arts & Culture, Lebanon

Magdalena Borowska, TVP, Poland

Devin Karambelas, WGBH/PBS, USA

Sanam Gharazoglou - MUBI, UK

Here’s the full lineup of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum projects:


Director: Angeliki Aristomenopoulou, Producers: Yuri Averof, Rea Apostolides - Anemon Productions, Vicky Miha- Asterisk*, Heather Millard - Compass Films, Greece, Iceland


Director: Athanassios Vassiliou, Producers: Orlane Dumas - Les films de l'Aube Sauvage, Konstantinos Vassilaros - StudioBauhaus, France, Greece


Director-producer: Yolanda Markopoulou - Polyplanity Productions, Co-scriptwriter: Ioanna Valsamidou, Greece (VR Interactive Documentary)


Director: Ana Otasević, Producer: Ana Otasević - Dar Mar Films, Serbia


Director: Lesia Diak, Producers: Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, Elena Martin - FILMWAYS,  Ukraine, Romania


Director: Roy Cohen, Producers: Roy Cohen - Roy Cohen Films, Serge Gordey - Temps Noir, Israel, France


Director: Sacha Biazzo, Co-scriptwriter: Chiara Freddi, Producer: Francesco Piccinini - Deepinto Srl, Italy (Docuseries)


Directors: Kiril Karakash, Svetislav Podleshanov, Producers:  Kiril Karakash, Svetislav Podleshanov - OPIUM Film, Ieva Ūbele - Baltic Balkan Productions, Eno Milkani - Bunker Film+, North Macedonia, Latvia, Albania


Director: Muhammad Reza Azadi, Producers Ali Haider - Filmkhaana, Maaria Sayed - Draw4Films, Pakistan, Italy


Director: Judit Oláh, Producers: Inez Mátis - Pi Productions, Annika Mayer - Majmun Films, Anna Stylińska, Katarzyna Slesicka - My Way Studio, Hungary, Germany, Poland


Director: Alaa Dajani, Producers: Kesmat El Sayed, Laura Kloeckner - SEERA FILMS, Egypt, Germany


Director: Zaina Erhaim, Producer: Brian Hill - Century Films, UK, Syria
In collaboration with CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator


Director: Olga Gibelinda, Producers: Ivanna Khitsinska - Quatros Group, Gogol Production, Ukraine, Poland


Director: Anna M. Bofarull, Producers: Anna M. Bofarull - KABOGA Art and Films, Rok Biček - CVINGER FILM, Spain, Slovenia


Monday March 6th, 14.30-17.00 / also available online for Agora’s accredited guests

The 25th TiDF’s Agora presents the Docs in Progress, consisting of 11 films from Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean, showcased to producers, sales agents, distributors and Festival representatives.

Here’s the full list of the Agora Docs in Progress awards:

The international jury of Agora Docs in Progress is composed of:

Maëlle Guenegues, Sales agent, CAT&Docs - France
Laurien ten Houten, Industry Relations and Talks Manager at the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam [IDFA] - The Netherlands
Ilias Georgiopoulos, Distributor, Danaos Cinema & Danaos Films - Greece

Here’s the full lineup of the Agora Docs in Progress projects:


Director: Christos Karakepelis, Co-scriptwriter: Natasa Segkou, Producer: Maria Drandaki - Homemade Films, Greece
Director: Caroline von der Tann, Producer: Antonella Di Nocera - Parallelo 41 Produzioni, Italy
Director-producer: Anelise Salan - The L Studio Film, Producer: Bogdan Craciun - Andarams Films, Romania

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2021
Directors: Jana Durajova, Lena Kusnierikova, Producers: Zuzana Mistrikova, Lubica Orechovska - PubRes, Arkaitz Basterra - PubRes International, Slovakia

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2022 - Beldocs Award

Director: Ksenia Ciuvaseva, Producer: Natalia Imaz - parabellum film, Co-producers: Maxim Cîrlan - MOLDOX AO, Mihajlo Jevtić - Film the World, Sales Company: Taskovski Films, Germany, Moldova-Serbia

Director: Alexis Taillant, Producer: Nadège Labé - Wendigo Films, France

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2021 - DAE Award


Director: Nikoleta Paraschi, Producer: Maria Karagiannaki - Chase The Cut, Co-producer: Nikoleta Paraschi, Greece


Director-producer: Paulo Carneiro - BAM BAM CINEMA, Co-producer: Alex Piperno - La Pobladora Cine, Portugal, Uruguay


Director: Olia Verriopoulou, Producer: Gaëlle Jones - Perspective Films, France, Greece


Director: Myriam El Hajj, Producer: Myriam Sassine - Abbout Productions, Co-producer: Carine Ruszniewski - Gogogo Films, Lebanon, France, Qatar


Director: Rand Beiruty, Producer: Jude Kawwa - Shaghab Films, Co-producer: Alex Tondowski - Tondowski Films,  Germany, Jordan

The presentation’s prep work is carried out by consultant and documentary program curator Anna Glogowski.


Agora Lab, an initiative launched by Agora, is constantly evolving, backing films from all development stages, offering guidance and advice from experts. The eligible projects are from Greece, selected through the application process for Thessaloniki Pitching Forum and Docs in Progress and touching upon thematics of international scope. One of the selected projects will be granted the Guidance Award by Paradiddle Pictures (Denmark).

The counseling team consists of:

Konstantinos Aivaliotis, co-founder and artistic director/program coordinator of the Ethnofest - Athens Ethnographic Film Festival  - Greece
Selin Murat, Markets Manager, IDFA - The Netherlands
Ieva Ūbele, producer, Baltic Balkan Productions  - Latvia
Bonnie Williams, Pitch & Public Speaking consultant, Speaking With Impact - The Netherlands

Here’s the full lineup of the Agora Lab projects:

    Director: Eleftherios Panagiotou, Producer: Sébastien Téot - Cellulo Prod, France

    Director: Martina Almpakri, Producer: Polymnia Papadopoulou Sardeli - Kalibu Productions, Greece

    Director: Nikos Kostopoulos, Producer: Vicky Zioga - PHĒNO, Greece, Georgia

    Director: Alkisti Efthymiou, Producer: Mina Dreki - Marni Films, Greece

    Director-producer: Alcaeus Spyrou, Greece

    Directors-producers: Akis Kersanidis, Chryssa Tzelepi, AnemiCinema, Greece


Setting its sight to the future,  Agora discovers and highlights the emerging documentary talents, from our wider geographical region through the initiative Meet the Future. The focus of last year’s Meet the Future on upcoming filmmakers from Georgia was met with success and a warm response from both the film industry professionals and the audience. This year, we turn our attention to the upcoming talents from Moldova, with the support of the National Film Center of Moldova.

The directors taking part in this year’s Meet the Future are the following:

Pavel Braila
Upcoming project: Odyssey MD

Ksenia Ciuvaseva
Upcoming project: Hatchepsut and I

Ana Gurdiș
Upcoming project: Between Two Worlds (working title)

Olga Lucovnicova
Upcoming project: Last Letters From My Grandma

Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu
Upcoming project: Father Sits in Chisinau and Feeds the Cats (working title)

The presentation prep work is carried out by expert in the field Bonnie Williams, Speaking with Impact - The Netherlands

Wednesday March 8th, 11.00-13.00, Pavlos Zannas

Philippa Kowarsky - Untangling the Global Landscape, Filmmaking 2023

Academy Award winner producer and internationally acclaimed sales agent Philippa Kowarsky, co-producer of benchmark documentaries, among which we encounter The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence, Collective (executive producer), Flee (executive producer), A House Made of Splinters, with a long-standing career in documentary under her belt, will lay out the current framework for producing documentary films, shedding light on today’s landscape. At the end of the day, where do we wish to see our films screened?


Saturday, 4th, 17:00   @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: The Art of Networking - Caring is Sharing

A good network is half the battle, they say. And it's true, having a strong, international, diverse and expert network is more important than ever to succeed as a documentary filmmaker today. But how do you build such a network, how do you go about networking in different spaces, and how does the connection between film markets, training programmes, financing, pitching and the makers really work?

Let’s  into the art of networking and networks with a diverse panel of speakers from a market, training and producers’ perspective and find out why caring is sharing.

Panelists: Nadja Tennstedt | DOK Leipzig, Katarzyna Szarecka & Adam Papliński | Pitch the Doc, Eleni Chandrinou  | Producer, Eurimages representative Moderator: Marion Schmidt - DAE


Sunday, 5th, 17:00 @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: Shifting perspectives - creative documentaries beyond TV slots

How much are documentary slots on TV still relevant today? Can arts and culture documentaries fit into history programming? Or a film initially written for a discovery or lifestyle slot morph into a science documentary? And how can producers navigate and react flexibly to new demands without compromising with quality and the vision of directors? Based on several case studies and examples, the panel will explore the current changing documentary landscape.

Panelists: Christian Popp  | Producer (Tag film), Rea Apostolides & Yuri Averof | Producers (Anemon Productions)


Monday, 6th, 17:00  @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: Quo Vadis Documentary Financing?

Making a documentary film is a rewarding but also extensive undertaking with many aspects to consider. A large part of the work is raising funds from various sources to make the film. With shrinking public budgets and an ever-changing audiovisual landscape, being informed about the different financing possibilities - traditional and alternative - is crucial to the lifecycle and success of a film.

Let's discuss and critically examine different financing models, from public funds to private equity, and dare to look into the future.

Panelists: Helle Hansen | Freelance consultant, moderator, Film Commissioner at Filmfond Nord, Arkaitz Basterra | Producer, Economics consultant (Moby Dick Film Capital) Victor Ede | Producer (Cinephage) Moderator: Brigid O’Shea | (DAE- Documentary Association Europe)


Tuesday, 7th, 17:00   @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: Equity & Entitlement in Documentary Storytelling - A distant dream?

Equipped with often robust production conditions, filmmakers from the West sometimes embark on documentary projects in foreign lands, lured by seemingly sensational, enticingly exotic and supposedly untold stories that will attract the audience’s interest and receive public funding promises. Often this goes hand in hand with a lack of preparation or cultural understanding, even a sense of entitlement to make a story about a community that is not their own, taking away that very community's sovereignty to explore their own stories in their own time and way.

The international documentary community has started to question these hasty, irresponsible and unethical practices, embedded in a system that is very slow to change, with much resistance and misunderstanding, and where harmful projects keep winning awards.

What is the role of our documentary industry in this vital conversation and necessary shift? How can producers, pitching forums, and funds demonstrate a conscious and consistent commitment to equity and accountability?

Panelists: Zeynep Guzel  | Berlinale Doc Station Head of Talents , Alex Shiraieff  | B2B Docs Thomas Kaske | Producer (Kaskefilm), Moderator: Selin Murat | IDFA Markets Manager

Wednesday, 8th, 16:00 @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: A brave new virtual world

A wondrous new universe is being formed, and we are its virtual inhabitants.

In this fascinating Agora talk, the VR, AR, XR and Immersive projects regional community and the Documentary Industry sectors, festivals, sales agents, academics and producers,  come together to discuss the inexhaustible versatility of this awesome cinema making medium and the limitless opportunities which are bound to arise from the rapid technological advancement.


Maxime Wide | Sales agent, Wide, Yolanda Markopoulou | Director, visual artist


Wednesday, 8th, 17:00 @Momus Museum of Photography

iMEdD Talk: The intersection of journalistic investigation and documentary filmmaking

How journalistic research can fuel documentaries with strong and vivid ideas and material while at the same time, the documentary format can provide an outlet for important journalistic investigations to employ intricate narrative techniques, reach a wider audience, and ultimately have a bigger impact.

A discussion with Micael Pereira, senior reporter at the Portuguese leading newspaper Expresso and a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Pereira has been doing journalism since 1994 and is the correspondent of Reporters Without Borders for Portugal. Among others, he was involved in ICIJ’s Offshore Leaks, Panama Papers, Bahama Leaks, Paradise Papers, Luanda Leaks and Pandora Papers investigations. He is the author of the documentary Black Trail, a 2021 award-winning European co-production with the EIC network, about why ships continue to burn the dirtiest fuels. With OCCRP, he joined the Suisse Secrets project. Also, he was part of the team of Cities for Rent, a collaborative investigation on corporate landlords run by Arena for Journalism in Europe that won the European Press Prize 2022 for Innovation.

Moderator: Dimitris Bounias, project manager iMEdD, journalist

Thursday, 9th, 17:00 @Momus Museum of Photography

Title: Documentaries for Children - An Educational Tool

The screen, in all shapes and forms, is embedded deeply in the fabric of existence. Through this imposition the powers of reality cinema become boundless. How do we harness these forces and use them in order to do good in the world?

Industry professionals discuss how to promote news ways of educating the youth through cinema and how to make the audiovisual media an educational tool for all by introducing new learning methods, educational documentary platforms and practices.  

Panelists: Kathi Seemann | Dok Fest München, Maria Papasotiri | Thessaloniki Cinema Museum Moderator: Elise Jalladeau | Thessaloniki International Film Festival General Director


A detailed program of the Agora Talks and speakers will be announced in a later stage.

Doc Counseling

March 4-11, 2023

Agora offers the chance for both physical and online meetings with the participating professionals. The array of topics discussed will include: Festival-oriented strategies, documentary financing, distribution, Media support office, social media & marketing. As every year, Agora Docs is offering its wholehearted and multifaceted support to documentary film.