The Agora Awards of the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival

The Agora of the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival bestowed its awards at Warehouse C, on Wednesday March 8th. Making use of all the available tools and new technologies, the Festival’s Agora showcased a new series of actions and backed successful initiatives that took place both in physical spaces and online. This year’s Agora marked a great success, as more than 400 international visitors attended its events.

Angeliki Vergou, the Head of Agora, welcomed the Agora participants. “Over the last few days, due to the Tempi accident, we experienced intense and woeful feelings. Nevertheless, it was an honor to welcome both you and your projects at the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival. Before we kick off, I would like to thank the Agora team. Without your energy, your smile and your hard work, none of this would have happened. Congratulations, therefore, to Thanos, Errika, Dimitra, Katerina, Melin, Sergina, Rachel, Rafaella, our fabulous production team, to our great volunteers, to our IT colleagues, the Visitors department, the Audiovisual section, our film crew, as well as the Greek and International Program”.

Ms Vergou went on to say: “We would like to thank all speakers, mentors and distinguished guests who shared their knowledge with the filmmakers during the Agora activities. Ove, you have been with us for many years, thank you for being a member of the team as a speaker and a coordinator. Brigid, thank you so much for being with us this year, offering precious advice to the projects. Philippa Kowarsky, a beloved Festival friend, was also a consultant, along with Natalia Libet and Mila Turajlić for the projects taking part in Thessaloniki Pitching Forum. Anna Glogowski, thank you for the counseling and the presentation of the Agora Docs in Progress projects. Konstantinos Aivaliotis, Selin Murat, Ieve Ubele, Bonnie Williams, thank you for the knowledge you shared at Agora Lab, along with the invited professors, Jan Rofekamp, Lefteris Fylaktos και Marion Schmidt. Thanks again to Bonnie for all the groundwork for Meet the Future and her help in presenting the five filmmakers from Moldova. Most of all, we would like to thank Brigid O'Shea and Marion Schmidt, co-founder of DAE for their collaboration in the selection of projects and the program of Agora Talks. Let us proceed with the announcement of the awards”, she went on to say. 

Onassis Culture, consistently offering its support to Greek independent cinema, within the framework of its collaboration with the Festival, bestows the Onassis Film Award (5,000 euros) to one of the Greek projects taking part in the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum or the Agora Docs in Progress.

This year’s Onassis Film Award, which goes to the documentary participating in the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, was presented by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Mr. Orestis Andreadakis:


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

Orestis Andreadakis announces the reasoning of the Onassis Film Award: “A moving story about a brave individual, about the acceptance offered by a family so tremendously supportive that it fills you with hope. A documentary brimming with atmospheric, exhilarating, and emotionally-charged images. “Holy Human Angel” is a masterful and rounded offering that we would like to see screened in cinemas soon”.

“I thank all the mentors, speakers and the entire Agora team. The Festival is like a home to us, Greek filmmakers. It is important to showcase our work and this award means a lot to us”, mentioned Angeliki Aristomenopoulou.

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum awards

The International Jury of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, consisting 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

handed out the awards.

The Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award accompanied by a cash prize of 2,000 euros is bestowed to:


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

“A film that promises a compelling visual approach combining archive material and animation, telling the story about the British forcing peasants from Egypt to dig trenches in Europe during WW1. The jury found the team inspiring and wished them all the best with this challenging and creative project” mentioned the jury.

“We are really happy to be here, it was a wonderful experience”, said Alla Dajani.

The ERT – Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award to a Greek project, accompanied by a cash prize of 2,000 euros is bestowed to:


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

“A film that through a painful personal story will emerge us into the darkness of the seven-year dictatorship in Greece in the 70s. The cinematic visual and narrative approach shows great artistic potential for a film that is sadly relevant and important in today’s world”.

“I thank you so much for this wonderful award, I am really happy”, said Athanassios Vasiliou.

DAE - Documentary Association of Europe Award which amounts to consultation and free membership is bestowed ex aequo to the projects:


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

“Jana means life, and this film is about displacement, resilience and hope for a couple and their newborn child fleeing the Taliban-. A film giving a voice to a woman in a society where she does not have one. This is a story that cannot be told too many times”.

“I was happy to make it here with my team, so I expected nothing more. Thank you so much for the award”, said Muhammad Reza Azadi.


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

“A strong project with a mosaic of voices from women in exile and their way to help each other to heal. By revisiting their past, the heroines are claiming their right to a better present and future. A film that aspires to be empowering and hopeful”.

“I did not expect this award. Thank you for these two lovely days”, mentioned Zaina Erhaim.

The Aylon Productions Digital Services Award (Digitization by Aylon Productions) is bestowed to:


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

“A story about hope and deception set in the Middle East focusing on the peace process during the last decades. The filmmaker makes a personal journey back to the days when the young generation strived to build bridges between two opposite sides”.

«Documentaries are so important because it’s difficult to trust the media lately. Thank you so much”, said Roy Cohen.

The Beldocs Networking Award which offers accommodation and accreditation for the next International Documentary Festival Beldocs in May 10 - 17 2023 is bestowed to:


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

“A couple that has lived outside the norms for decades, a story told using beautiful archive material from their youth and footage of today. An uplifting film about a rebellious woman of a rebellious generation”.

“The last couple of days at the Festival was truly great”, said Judit Oláh.

The Mediterranean Film Institute Doc Award, which consists of free participation in the 2023 edition of the MFI Doc Lab, a script development program dedicated to documentaries. It takes place within the MFI Script2Film program, where the scripts for 35 feature length films are developed. The program consists of a two-weeks writing workshop on the island of Nisyros in late June and early July with a follow up session for one week in October in Rhodes.

Before the presentation of the award, Markos Gastin commented on the loss of Lakis Papastathis. “One of the great masters of Greek documentary, Lakis Papastathis, passed away. He was a pioneer who taught many generations”.

The award is bestowed to:


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

The reasoning of the jury: “This year the MFI Award is awarded to a project reminding us about the power of images, both in our present life but also from our personal and collective past. The project uses archive material that stir up our historical unconscious and make memories emerge and come to the surface in present time. The images confront our notion of what is real and what is invented. If our past is constructed from fictional propaganda, how can our memories be authentic? How to navigate what is fabricated? And what is real? To help shape a complex narrative about memory, images and a traumatic historical heritage, we award the 2023 MFI Award to The Man with the Broken Arm directed by Thanassis Vassiliou. Produced by Les films de l’AubeSauvage & StudioBauhaus”.

Finally, with the new collaboration between Agora and Dok Leipzig the DOK Leipzig Accelerator Award offering 2 Co-Pro Market Observer Passes and Accommodation (Co-Pro Market Observer entails participation in the Open Programme)  is bestowed to:


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

A young Afghani couple finds out that they are expecting their first child the very same day the Taliban takes over their country. This personal story of Sajjad and Leila is a heartfelt record of life under impossible circumstances.

Docs in Progress awards

In the Agora Docs in Progress 11 projects from Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean region participated in closed sessions exclusively for Thessaloniki’s invited industry professionals, sales agents, distributors, producers and festival programmers.

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

The 2|35 Post-Production Main Award goes to the project

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

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum 2021 - DAE Award

“Because POST LOVE sheds a warm and caring light on an issue that goes beyond the LGBTQ+ experience to speak to all of us and the team approaches the film’s characters tenderly and with absolute respect”.

“I thank the jury, as well as Agora, and I am really happy to be here”, mentioned Alexis Taillant.

The MuSou Music Company Group Award Services in Music & Sound goes to the project:


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

“I did not expect this award and I would like to thank all my pitching partners. I saw many interesting films in the last fews days and now it’s time for a little cinema making”, said Paulo Carneiro.

The Greek Film Center Award accompanied with 3,000 euros goes to the Greek project: 


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

“A parade of captivating figures and characters, met down a route that seems to transcends time and emits archaic spirituality, sanctity and yet embraces the profanity which grows along both sides of the road”. 

“Thank a lot, I am so happy to be here with other filmmakers”, mentioned Niloketa Paraschi.

The Neaniko Plano Award Subtitles in English or French goes to the project:


Director: Caroline von der Tann, Producer: Antonella Di Nocera - Parallelo 41 Produzioni, Italy

“Ciretta’s flooding personality delivers a new gospel like an avalanche. He preaches a landslide of words, songs and emotions which deserve the best translation and subtitling services”.

“I thank the jury and the Festival for so warmly welcoming our projects”, said Caroline von der Tann.

Agora Lab award

The Guidance Award by Paradiddle Pictures on distribution, festivals, outreach and impact to one project of the Agora Lab section is bestowed to:

Director Alkisti Efthimiou, Production company Marni Films, Producer Mina Dreki, Greece

“We decided to give the award to a newly formed team to boost what we believe will be a very successful, creative collaboration”.