Vibrant and exciting, the Greek documentaries take center stage at the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, which will be held from 2 to 12 March 2023 both in physical spaces and online. A total of 60 full-length and short documentaries from Greece will be screened at the three competition sections, International Competition, Newcomers and >>Film Forward, as well as in the Open Horizons, NextGen, Platform and From screen to Screen sections.
Taking into account the difficulties faced by Greek film cinema professionals in their work, the Festival once again offers substantial support to Greek documentaries by providing a rental fee to all Greek movies taking part in its official selection.
In addition, the Festival keeps true to the tradition of hosting universally accessible screenings. This year the audience will have the chance to watch Filippos Koutsaftis’ landmark documentary Mourning Rock (2000), in a universally accessible screening that will be held in collaboration with Alpha Bank, the Festival’s accessibility sponsor. The documentary will be accessible in both its physical and online screenings.
Touching human-centered moments, LGBTQI+ issues, benchmark historical and social events that left their mark on contemporary Greece, stories of woman emancipation and gender violence are among the topics and questions found in the core of this year’s Greek documentaries. The consultative committee assigned with the preselection of films for the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival was composed by journalist Christos Katsikogiorgos, film expert Yianna Sarri and director Nikos Ziogas.
Here’s the full lineup of the 25th TiDF’s Greek documentaries:
Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods
In the disappearing islands along the Brahmaputra river, 12-year-old orphan Afrin is coming of age. As Afrin rows herself in a wooden boat toward the teeming metropolis of Dhaka, she attempts to find her estranged father, only to find herself among the millions of new climate refugees. Now, Afrin must confront the mysteries of a sinking world.
Queen of the Deuce
From pre-WWII Greece to her meteoric rise through the Times Square porn circuit in the 1970s, Queen of the Deuce tells the fascinating story of Chelly Wilson, trailblazing entrepreneur and unconventional matriarch, who built an empire based on desire.
Zakros, a tiny dot in the map of Eastern Crete, bathed in sunlight and harnessed by the wind. Fading glances and attempts to wonder in the labyrinths of time, history, memory and daily life.
ΑΚΟΕ/ΑΜFI: The Story of a Revolution (*Just to sleep on their chest…)
Greece, 1977. A proposed law brings gay men and “transvestites” together in a historic event and sparks the creation of the first Greek LGBT movement. For the next 13 years AKOE and its magazine Amfi would define the way LGBT Greeks think about themselves. This film celebrates their story and legacy.
In the Sky of Nothingness with the Least
There were moments when I closed the door and my mind was flooded with questions. One of them was strong enough to turn on the camera. Do they love each other? Nota and Ilias are an elderly couple living in different worlds. The only common thing in these worlds is the slow and difficult decaying of the mind and body.
Ladies in Waiting
As the era of psychiatric asylums in Europe draws to an end, Ladies in Waiting opens a window to its past. Through the unique perspectives of caregivers from the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica - the last remaining one in Greece - and the lives of care-receivers, we take a peek inside the taboo world of mental illness.
Irini Karayannopoulou & Sandrine Cheyrol
Why are women banned from Mount Athos? Avaton is a reflection on the interdiction of every female presence in the largest area on earth reserved to men alone. Women of diverse socio-political backgrounds and political beliefs reflect on the spiritual haven of Mount Athos and discuss the strict law that leads to their exclusion.
Privately-hired mercenaries are responsible for protecting vessels crossing the High Risk Area off the Somali coastline against pirate attacks. Rigorously preparing to face the enemy, each watch brings them closer to the day of contact. Yet the sea is full of surprises. Οr lack thereof.
This first-person film is a letter to my sister that I have never met, as well as an act of reconciliation with my father and the inevitability of death. Three different formats, five decades of life compose a cinematographic mosaic that walks the tightrope of the interplay between the joy of life and the contemplation of existence.
>>Film Forward Out of Competition
Floros Floridis & Jeanine Meerapfel
Is an artistic audiovisual project emanating from the economic and social confusion that first emerged in recent years between Germany and Greece and now is spreading throughout Europe and the world. The 2 countries are here as examples, representative of the differences and conflicts that are exacerbated by a crisis.
The Man on the Left
Visual artist Maria Tsagkari narrates her illuminating journey researching the life and musical career of the Rebetis and violinist Nikos Syrigos, her great-grandfather, which began unexpectedly when she was invited to participate in an art exhibition about Rebetiko music.
A Dance Class
Τhe teenage dance team of Neos Voutzas Sports Club continues its courses, through the pandemic. They turn their rooms into dance halls and, at the same time, prepare for the exams, trying to overcome the trauma of a fire that hit the area and marked the recent history of Greece.
A Direction for Thrush
This documentary explores the cinematic elements of the poem Thrush, the poet’s references to the art of cinema, as presented in his diaries and his essays, ultimately highlighting an ambivalent attitude of the poet towards cinema.
A Voice in the Night
Christos Tolis, Olga Laskaratou, Aris Lychnaras
A film for today's radio. No elegy, no wishful thinking either. An in-depth look at how the dominance of the playlist model has fundamentally changed the character of the medium and with it the role of the radio producer and their relationship with listeners. Personalities from the entire spectrum of Greek music talk about the topic.
Terry is 33 years old. She feels trapped and after 10 years of living in Athens, she leaves her home, jobs, friends and training for MMA matches and decides to return to her parental home in Parga to make a new start.
Everything You Say about Me
The shooting in the Gypsy camp of Heraklion, Crete, that lasted many years, reveals the story of the biggest family, as well as the personality of its legendary patriarch, who at a very young age managed to get educated and integrated in the urban framework, but finally lost everything because of the stereotypes of his own community.
A painting workshop brings six people closer to art.Their living conditions lead them to seek a way out through this activity, even though they cannot share their works with the audience. A narrator who has gone through the same experiences accompanies the images and sounds that populate a six-week journey, until the moment his works are completed.
Five Times A Stranger
The extraordinary journey of the 80-years-old Greek artist Stavros, who has lived five life stories in five different countries of Europe, in just one lifetime! Political conflicts, poverty, mistrust and, always, the decisions of others have shaped his life circle.
Grief - Those Who Remain
Myrto Patsalidou & Maria Louka
A descent into the world of mourning and loss through 3 homicide stories, that shocked the greek and european society: The cruel murders of Shahzad Luqman, Pavlos Fyssas and Zak Kostopoulos. The grieving families of the victims converse with their absences, defend the memory of the dead, transmute their suffering into a fight for justice.
Kristos, The Last Child
Of the thirty inhabitants of Arki, a windswept island in Greece’s Dodecanese, Kristos is the last remaining child. He is ten, and he is the only pupil of his teacher Maria. Kristos will start his final year of elementary school soon. To finish compulsory education, he needs to leave Arki and move to a larger island.
Laughing in Afghanistan
Karim Asir, the Afghan Charlie Chaplin, in the midst of bombs and disasters, gives performances with laughter as his only weapon. When Taliban takeover, Karim is threatened to death. After lots of difficulties he manages to come to Greece. We follow his life adventure and through him we will explore the issue of laughter in Afghanistan and beyond.
Mother of the Station
Mother of the Station follows the lives of Greek women immigrants who came to Germany during 1960-1973 and worked in hard jobs. World War II left its mark on European and Greek history. Since then one million people immigrated to Germany. Some decades later, the scenario is the same.
My Cut is a music documentary about the last recording by musician Yorgos Tsalampounis, just a few days before his death.
My Father’s Studio
The rare film material I discovered in the basement of the well-known photographer Takis Tloupas, in Larissa, was a treasure for me. This motivated me to look for the man and his work. Guided by his daughter Vania, we record his artistic course, while at the same time forming an anthropogeography of Thessaly of the last century.
A real Noah’s Ark, where the last true natives of one of the most cosmopolitan islands in the world seek shelter, along with their animals, from the relentless wave of development that threatens to swallow them whole.
Obsessive Hours at the Topos of Reality
An intimate confession of the Greek feminist avant-garde director Antoinetta Angelidi to her daughter Rea Walldén, and the world. On her gaze and life, her visions and films, and the devastating experience of going blind. A film made during lockdown inside a flat, about our interior space, at the most secret place of which one finds the Other.
Our Past Words Still Stand
A documentary on Markos Meskos, the poet... a journey to the Macedonian landscapes with the old strange place names where
A road-documentary in the spirit of a western, in which six friends at odds, carrying their scars and virtues, under the pretext of the director's obsession with Johnny Cash, travel to project the film Village Potemkin in prisons and institutions. Their route inside a caravan will be full of unexpected stops and encounters.
Faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, [the protagonist] is determined to approach her journey with positivity. Through intimate flashbacks, we see moments that shaped her journey and images that show it's possible to find beauty and light even in the darkest moments.
Synthetiki: A Film about Something
Synthetiki was founded in 1985 in Athens by Apostolis Loverdos and Dionisis Avgerinos. The music documentary A Film about Something presents the late recognition through the internet of the electronic band, while recording moments from their concerts and path as a band. Apostolis refers to this early period as a “Perfect rejection toward us”.
The House with The Pomegranates
Eirini Vachlioti & Panagiotis Kleitharas
Our coincidental meeting with the writer’s granddaughter, sparked interest in a cardboard box. Inside - a treasure of old letters, newspaper clippings, personal documents, and half a dozen canisters of super 8mm film. Fifty years after his passing, his granddaughter, Christina, shares with us Stratis Myrivilis’ poetic inner world.
The Last Partisan
Stelios Kouloglou & Fotini Labridi
Journalist, writer, unionist in Germany during Greece's dark period, 92-year-old Vangelis Sakkatos fights for social justice. In Köln he meets the old comrades, in Brussels he spreads the message to the European Parliament. He still feels young, like when, as a child, participated in the antinazi resistance. Life is beautiful when it is full of ideals.
The New Home
A historical look back at the first Armenian refugee communities, as they developed throughout the Greek territory after the Asia Minor disaster, while at the same time the children of the Neos Kosmos Primary School try to preserve their Armenian identity in modern Athens.
From the Greek civil war to the war in Afghanistan, from the Franco years to the Covid years, from the French Island of Reunion to Siberia, many children have been violently uprooted from their natural environment for political reasons. Through their testimonies, terrible and often unknown aspects of history emerge.
A group of students from DST searched for information about the luck of numerous Jewish students that were members of the school community until 1933 and also tried to bring to light unknown facts about the history of the German School of Thessaloniki and the city itself until 1944.
Two Sides of The Same World
The film is both a social documentary and an autobiography. Its main focus is raising awareness for what is called a “hidden disability”. Paraskevi, who was born prematurely with cerebral palsy, is presenting her own experiences as choices, she’s testifying about her own journey and she’s yelling a loud… “Dare”.
A Big Family
Since 1926 family and friendship, playgrounds and neighborhood, innovation and solidarity, have been the “secret blend” of the luminous course of the Kliafa soft drinks Company. A small world of creativity and humanity, built in Trikala, Greece, around one man’s vision “…to cool and sweeten the world!”
Being An Islander
A journey through time, space and human souls – those of the Islanders. Through the narratives of the residents, a mosaic of different voices breaks through the monothematic images of a nostalgic Mediterranean, inviting us to unfold the coexistence of contrasts and convergences, the symbiosis of differences, reminding us of the value of human ties.
Elisavet Laloudaki & Massimo Pizzocaro
Heraclitus was born gifted. He has a high level of intellect, tremendous memory, he is extremely imaginative and emotionally mature. His first year at school was a big disappointment. Heraclitus, however, doesn't give up. He learns to fall and rise again. His main weapons: humor and a cute six-year-old bravery.
Following The Traces of The Ephemeral
A journey following the creation of the theatrical costume from the conception of the idea by the costume designer to the final construction by the dressmaker. It follows the setting up of the exhibition “Traces of the ephemeral”, curated for NTNG by Ioulia Stavridou. A film by her students, dedicated to her.
Stathis Galazoulas & Eliza Kavalaraki
Female tobacco workers, second generation refugees themselves, recall their working years in the tobacco processing plants of Agrinio. Meanwhile, tobacco worker Parthena Despoinidou pays a visit to the iconic Papastratos plant, trying to reintroduce what used to be one of the most significant tobacco production centers of the 20th century.
Jazzlibrary.gr, from Syros to the Web
Jazz in Greece is ever growing due to the courage and insistence of some passionate musicians alongside the enthusiasm of younger artists who nowadays can study jazz in Greece as well. Yet, the scene has a long way to become more popular and productive and that is the scope of the film, inspired by jazzlibrary.gr, the first all about Greek jazz site.
The untold story of the Greek Jews during the Holocaust,the Axis occupation,the great Greek resistance,the role of the Christian clergy;a hymn to unity, love and courage as it is uncovered by a young woman in her quest to unearth her Greek Jewish family's history.
There is a lot of public silence about the question of Jewish properties in Greece. The documentary looks into why this cycle of silence needs to be broken and how this could be done without turning the process into a people’s court. It also seeks the views of public opinion through a survey conducted in collaboration with University of Macedonia.
SAFEable: Accessibility and inclusion in the information and protection from gender-based violence
SAFEable is an accessible documentary that delves into gender-based violence experienced by women with sensory impairments. Through their personal stories examines their difficulties and the connection between disability and gender-based violence. Specialized counselors from the Diotima Center offer expert insights on the issue.
Soil Traces Washed Away by The Sea
A historical-poetic documentary that recreates the unknown history of Hellenism in Sozopol (Eastern Rumelia), based on a letter written by the director's grandfather in 1929.
The Last Prayer
Vicky Arvelaki & Katerina Mpikaki
An unknown story, another war crime, comes to light. In 1943, some Cretan shepherds, having no other way to feed their families, ignored German orders and entered the forbidden zone of Mount Psiloritis, set up to track down guerrilla groups. No one can imagine what is coming....
The Trilogy of Thisvi
A Greek photographer, originally from Istanbul, remembers the important events that happened in three different stages of her life in Turkey. She wanders through photographs and live action, sounds and silence, black and white and color snapshots. She narrates or speaks about the present, the past and the future of her life, translating the feelings of her departure to foreign land.
The Wedding in Afrin
The greatest Kurdish poet Merwan Berekat in the ruins of his city. In the background, a wedding that took place 15 years before the start of the war and 27 years before the creation of the film. And a question that may never be answered: What happened to the bride, groom and everyone else in the wedding video?
Venizelos: The Struggle for Asia Minor
The documentary follows one of modern Greece’s greatest politicians as he faces formidable challenges during the critical decade from the Balkan Wars & World War I up to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Eleftherios Venizelos’ struggle is told through dramatized scenes, rare archive and expert interviews.
With Two Suitcases
A documentary with people who narrate personal experiences from the interaction of Greek-German culture in their lives. The aim of the documentary is to highlight, through the history, experience and path of the speakers, the influences that modern Greeks received from Germany.
From screen to Screen
From Homeland to Homeland
How would Greek music, literature, industry, cuisine, and geographical map have been, if the Minor Asia catastrophe had never happened? Sixty academics, researchers, folklorists, business people, athletes, artists and descendants of Minor Asia refugees answer these questions and show how the tragedy of 1922 transformed Greece into a new country.
From Me to We: The Two Sides of Andreas Syggros
A journey from the multicultural Alexandria of the 19th century to Athens of the 20th following the economic, social and political life of E. Benakis & the imprint of his donations.
Islands on The Edge
Yorgos Savoglou & Dionysia Kopana
Telendos, a small Greek island west of Kalymnos, eighteen miles from Turkey. Although small, Telendos proves to be resistant to time, with few but loyal inhabitants. Through their stories we learn that, although life in Telendos is not easy, in the end they are exactly where they want to be.
Mega Stories: Non-Binary Stories
Mega Stories presents the stories of non-binary people, people whose gender identity is outside the binary gender. Those who embraced and expressed with too much courage the experience of their gender, claiming its free expression.
Nicolas and Maria
Nicolas,a paralympic swimming champion,was born with down syndrome and was abandoned in an orphanage.His childhood upbringing was tragic.Maria made a decision to adopt him and with her love,care and perseverance,she was able to metamorphose his fate.An emotional story of the power of inner soul and unconditional love that overcomes all obstacles.
Steel History – “622 Poseidon”
Bearer of hope. Means to achieve the most daring missions. Symbol of the heroic participation of the Greek forces in the Korean War. The legendary Douglas C-47 (Dakota) "622 Poseidon" is ready to fly again in the Greek Skies. The stories that accompany it, although they seem fictional, are completely true.
Universally accessible screening
The Festival keeps up with the tradition of the universally accessible screenings, in collaboration with Alpha Bank, the Festival’s accessibility sponsor. This year it is the turn for Filippos Koutsaftis’ iconic documentary Mourning Rock to be screened with audio description [AD] and subtitles for the deaf or hard of hearing [SDH].
Elefsina is a small industrial city, 20 kilometers west from Athens. This city has been tied ever since the prehistoric years with the Ancient Greeks’ most revered myth, the one of Demeter, goddess of agriculture and fertility and her daughter, Persephone. The Eleusinian Mysteries, first celebrated over two thousand years ago, revolved around the cycle of life, offering the initiates the hope and serenity to cope with death. This sacred land, where the goddess’ gifts, cereals, were first cultivated, was the birthplace for Greece’s most important industries, with calamitous consequences on the region and the ancient places of worship.
Through the eyes of Sotiris Danezis
The Festival explores the world through the eyes of director Sotiris Danezis, featuring two documentaries that unfold stories on the relationship between mankind and the environment.
They had jobs, a family, a home – that is until life happened. The documentary follows, for 13 months, five people living under the threat of homelessness in the streets of Athens & the efforts of NGO Emfasis to support them. Abuse in the family, incarceration, losing a loved one, their struggles mirror some of ours, so do their dreams.
Fishing for Litter
Last year, Dimitris from Kavala, with his trawler, retrieved from the sea 2.5 tons of litter. He is one of the 40 fishermen who collaborate with the Athanasios C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation.