In a warm, convivial and touching atmosphere, the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival awards were bestowed on Sunday afternoon, November 12, at Warehouse C. Since cinema is ever-changing, the Festival also changed the way it announced its awards this year, conducting the ceremony at Warehouse C, in broad daylight and in a more intimate setting. It was an afternoon unlike any other, where we all came together to celebrate films, filmmakers and the art of cinema.
Over the course of ten days, the Festival hosted exciting premieres, welcomed beloved guests including Monica Bellucci, Alexander Payne, Jeremy Podeswa and Nikos Perakis, while also featuring as the ambassador of the Agora the much-loved Haris Alexiou.
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION AWARDS
The International Competition Jury of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival is composed of Diana Elbaum (producer), Dieter Kosslick (former director of the Berlin International Film Festival, journalist) and Elina Psykou (filmmaker, producer).
From the podium, Diana Elbaum expressed her gratitude to the Festival's contributors for the excellent experience of the organization and stressed how important the work of women directors is. "We wish to propose that the Festival rename the Golden Alexander to Golden Alexandra," Diana Elbaum stated, referring to this year's award.
The Best Feature Film Award – Golden Alexander “Theo Angelopoulos”, accompanied by a 10,000-euro cash prize, was bestowed by Elina Psykou to the film: "Personally, I am delighted that after 30 years, the Golden Alexander Award goes once more to a Greek film; last time was in 1993," she said, referring to the film From the Snow, directed by Sotiris Goritsas. Next, she announced that the grand award of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival would go to:
ANIMAL by Sofia Exarchou, Greece-Austria-Romania-Cyprus-Bulgaria, 2023
The producer, Maria Drandaki, upon receiving the award, stated: "I would like to thank the Festival again for such lovely hospitality, as well as the jury - it's terrific to be awarded by these three people. You can imagine the joy of winning an award in the international section of a festival that is in your own country. This film was a tremendous adventure, it involved incredible ups and downs and many evil people trying to stop it, however it also involved a lot of good. It included the whole team you met at the Olympion theater, and Sofia Exarchou, who armed with boundless energy, carried out this titanic task. Of course, I would like to thank all of them. The film will be released in January and I hope it will be as warmly embraced by the audience as it was here."
Sofia Exarchou, collecting the award, said: "Thank you to the Festival for this experience. Thank you to the jury for honoring me with this award. I want to dedicate it to all my collaborators, producers, contributors who were invaluable to the film, and helped me in realizing it. I am so happy and touched to be receiving this award here, in Thessaloniki, at my favorite festival in the world. I have been coming here for so many years to watch films and learn cinema, even before I dared to admit to myself that I wanted to make films too."
The reasoning of the jury:
The jury is especially impressed by Animal and the behind-the-scenes of a greek island in the summer and the unseen artists animating the tourists. This chorus film is a condensation of finding a family, maybe love, and for sure sadness.
The Best Direction Award – Silver Alexander, offered by COSMOTE TV, the Festival’s Grand Sponsor, accompanied by a 5,000 euros cash prize, was bestowed by Elina Psykou to the film:
THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED by Joanna Arnow, USA, 2023
Before receiving the award, the head of COSMOTE TV, Dimitris Michalakis, took to the stage and offered a brief greeting to the audience: "Good evening. It is a real pleasure to be involved in this awarding. COSMOTE TV has embarked on a long journey over the last ten years in order to support Greek filmmakers, and this journey has reached its conclusion today with this award. To date, we have supported feature-length films, short films, documentaries, on the occasion of the creation of COSMOTE HISTORY, as well as original series. Before I hand over the award, I would like to applaud the legislative initiative of Mrs. Lina Mendoni and Mr. Christos Dimas of the Ministry of Culture, that will enable us to tackle a huge issue plaguing the industry and hampering its development; piracy. I would like to offer my congratulations for this initiative, which is imminent and needs to be supported by all of us, because as you know, piracy is the killer of creation".
Afterwards, Joanna Arnow went on stage to receive her award and thanked the jury, the Festival, her "wonderful colleagues," her friends and family.
Reasoning: The Jury appreciates the humor and absurdity of this bitter sweet comedy about a woman, her body and sexuality.
The Best Actress Award was bestowed by Elina Psykou ex aequo to:
DIMITRA VLAGΚOPOULOU for her performance in the film ANIMAL by Sofia Exarchou, Greece, 2023
JOANNA ARNOW for her performance in the film THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING SOMETHING HAS PASSED by Joanna Arnow, USA, 2023
Joanna Arnow stepped up to the podium and expressed her gratitude, while the director of the film, Sofia Exarchou, and her co-star, Flomaria Papadaki, accepted the award on behalf of Dimitra Vlagkopoulou.
Joanna Arnow thanked the jury and the Festival for the award, remarking: " I used to dream of becoming an actress as I was growing up and I returned to acting at a later age."
Sofia Exarchou and Flomaria Papadaki went on to thank the jury for the award on behalf of Dimitra Vlagkopoulou.
The Best Actor Award was bestowed by Elina Psykou to:
KOSTAS KORONEOS for his performance in the film THE LAST TAXI DRIVER by Stergios Paschos, Greece, 2023
Stergios Paschos, director of the film, accepted the award on behalf of Kostas Koroneos, thanking the jury. As he said: "Many thanks to Kostas and to all the actors in the film. I also want to thank the casting department, as it is essential to the creation of a film, it does fifty percent of the work. I applaud the Festival's initiative to split the award ceremony and the closing ceremony, thus illuminating the films more rather than focusing on the distinctions and competitiveness that our industry too often suffers from."
The Screenplay Award was bestowed by Elina Psykou to the film:
THE LOST BOYS by Zeno Graton, France-Belgium, 2023
Reasoning: The Jury has been touched by the story of the journey of the lost boys and their awakening to tenderness and freedom within the prison walls.
MEET THE NEIGHBORS+ AWARDS
Meet the Neighbors+ competition section, which was expanded so as to include debut or sophomore films from the 36 countries of Southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, is further upgraded this year with the awarding of more prizes. At the same time, the section’s Golden Alexander is renamed to Golden Alexander “Michel Dimopoulos”, honoring the memory of the Festival’s former director (1991-2005), which led the institution to gain an international scope. The jury of the Meet the Neighbors+ competition section is composed of Nahuel Pérez Biscayart (actor), Xenia Kaldara (chairperson of the Board of Directors and General Manager of the Michalis Cacoyannis Foundation) and Cédric Succivalli (programmer, film critic).
The Best Feature Film Award - Golden Alexander “Michel Dimopoulos”, accompanied by a 10,000 euros cash prize, was bestowed by Cédric Succivalli to the film:
ÀΜΑ GLORIA by Marie Amachoukeli, France, 2023
Reasoning: The Jury awards Àma Gloria for its intimate and heart-rending portrayal of an alternative kind of motherhood. The two actresses create in full harmony tour de force performances and they really are the beating heart of the film.
The Best Direction Award - Silver Alexander, accompanied by a 5,000 euros cash prize, is bestowed to the film:
NOTES ON A SUMMER by Diego Llorente, Spain, 2023
Reasoning: The jury awards Notes on a Summer for its sensuous, refreshing and delicate mise-en-scene.
The Best Actress Award was bestowed by Nahuel Pérez Biscayart to:
MOUNA HAWA for her performance in the film INSHALLAH A BOY by Amjad Al Rasheed, Jordan-France-Saudi Arabia-Qatar, 2023
Reasoning: The Jury awards Mouna Hawa for the nuanced portrayal of a woman who struggles to exist and regain agency on her womanhood and freedom.
The Best Actor Award was bestowed by Nahuel Pérez Biscayart ex aequo to:
RICHARD LANGTON for his performance in the film WE HAVE NEVER BEEN MODERN by Matěj Chlupáček, Czech Republic-Slovakia, 2023
SOMA SÁNDOR for his performance in the film WITHOUT AIR by Katalin Moldovai
Reasoning: The Jury awards Richard Langton and Soma Sándor who both masterfully portray characters whose existence is endangered by the bigoted society they are trapped in.
The Best Artistic Achievement Award was bestowed by Xenia Kaldara to the film:
MURDERESS by Eva Nathena, Greece, 2023
Eva Nathena stepped on stage and expressed her gratitude for the award.
Reasoning: The Jury gives the award of Artistic Achievement to Murderess for the scenography, music and cinematography of the director’s first feature film.
FILM FORWARD AWARDS
The Film Forward competition section presents the work of young and daring filmmakers, who challenge our relation with storytelling and aspire to renegotiate it, beyond the boundaries of genre conventions. The Jury of the Film Forward competition section is composed of Köken Ergun (filmmaker, moving-image artist), Ana Grgić (film practitioner, writer, scholar) and Teona Strugar Mitevska (film director).
The Golden Alexander, accompanied by a cash prize of 8,000 euros, was bestowed by Ana Grgić to the film:
SAMSARA by Lois Patiño, Spain, 2023
Reasoning: For pushing the boundaries of film language, for its rich sensorial cinematic form which allowed us to experience a film with closed eyes, the Golden Alexander of Film Forward Section goes to Samsara by Lois Patiño
The Silver Alexander, accompanied by a cash prize of 4,000 euros, was bestowed by Ana Grgić ex aequo to the films:
ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT by Raven Jackson, USA, 2023
Reasoning: For highlighting the affective dimensions of human experiences, for its haptic qualities and for exploring the realm of memory through an original approach the Film Forward Jury gives the Silver Alexander award to All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt by Raven Jackson
HUMAN SURGE 3 by Eduardo Williams, Argentina-Portugal-Brazil-The Netherlands-Taiwan-Hong Kong-Sri Lanka-Peru, 2023
Reasoning: For its innovative technique, for immersing us within the human and non-human worlds of care, and for its queer sensitivities the Film Forward Jury gives the Silver Alexander award to Human Surge 3 by Eduardo Williams.
Director Eduardo Williams approached the stage to express his gratitude for the award: "I am very grateful to the Festival for selecting the film, to the jury for appreciating it and to the producer," he said.
IMMERSIVE: ALL AROUND CINEMA AWARD
The Immersive: All Around Cinema competition section embraces creations that make use of the high-end technologies to present different views of extended reality. The Immersive competition section of the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival showcases new films that offer an exciting interactive viewing experience, transcending film genres and immersing the viewer in each artwork’s unique environment. The members of the Immersive Jury of the 64th TIFF are Panos Giannikopoulos (art historian, curator), Pedro Harres (film director, visual artist) and Thelgia Petraki (filmmaker). The films of this section are available for viewing on the first floor of the Glass House (former Nursery School, Thessaloniki Port).
The Golden Alexander for Best Immersive Film, accompanied by a 2,000-euro cash prize, was awarded by Pedro Harres to:
FINALLY ME by Marcio Sal, Brazil, 2023, 17’
Thessaloniki International Film Festival was the one of the first film festivals in the world to host a podcast competition section, exploring the affinities between this new genre and cinema. The podcasts of the competition section have their eyes set on the Best Podcast Award, whereas all podcasters aged 25-35 years old taking part in the Festival, both in the Podcast Competition and the Nexus section, are eligible for the ENS Louis Lumière - French Institute of Greece Award for Upcoming Audio Documentary Award. This year’s Jury members are Katerina Bakogianni (journalist, co-founder of Melon Media, head of podcasts at Alter Ego Media), Persefoni Miliou (film director, sound designer, sound mixer) and Dimitris Vrachnos (programme director at the 99.2 Melodia radio station, radio producer).
On behalf of the jury, Katerina Bakogianni thanked the festival and pointed out the importance of showcasing podcasts and the fact that the Thessaloniki Film Festival was one of the first in the world to include podcasts in its program.
The Podcast Award, accompanied by a 2,000-euro cash prize, was bestowed by Katerina Bakogianni to the podcast:
PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY by Courtney Hope Therond & Rhiannon Ciara Vaughn, USA, 2022, 22’
Reasoning: This award goes to the Persistence of Memory fiction podcast as it kept us engrossed from the very first second to the last, exhibiting technical excellence in sound recording, mixing and sound design. It evoked imagery and transported us from one scene to the next solely through narrative audio, whilst the realistic performances assisted in maintaining suspense. Ultimately, we feel that podcasts like Persistence of Memory illustrate the power of this genre as a self-existent form of creation, independent of other narrative media.
A Special Mention is bestowed to the podcast:
BY HIS SIDE AS LONG AS IT LASTS by Dafni Anesti & Danai Dragonea
Reasoning: An honorable mention is given to the narrative podcast Βy His Side As Long As It Lasts, because it was a fascinating personal story. While grappling with a very difficult matter, it doesn't impose on the listener's emotions, but rather carries them along for the ride with the power of storytelling. Simultaneously, the manner in which the main character expresses herself is genuine and poignant.
The Mermaid Award is bestowed to the best LGBTQI+-themed movie of Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s official programme. For the second year in a row, Mastercard supports the award with a cash prize of 3,000 euros. The members of the Mermaid Jury of the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival are: Michai Kirilov (film critic, festival organizer), Evi Kalogiropoulou (visual artist, filmmaker) and Ivan Mitifiot (artistic director of the Écrans Mixtes festival).
The floor was first given to Loukia Chorafa, Head of Marketing and Communications at Mastercard for Greece, Cyprus and Malta, who delivered a short speech. As Mrs. Chorafa mentioned: "This award is very significant for us, since the term sponsor is lifeless and soulless at its core, while this is not the case here. We are advocating for our visibility and love through this award for the LGBTI community. Hopefully, in the future we won't need to have such awards."
The Mermaid Award was bestowed by Evi Kalogiropoulou and Ivan Mitifiot to the film:
THE SUMMER WITH CARMEN by Zacharias Mavroeidis, Greece, 2023
Zacharias Mavroeidis appeared on stage and expressed his gratitude for the award: "I will quote that old slogan which goes 'we're here, get used to it.' People belonging to the LGBTQ+ community in Greece have come a long way in the last decade, yet the battle for visibility is a daily struggle at work, at home, with the family, with the apartment building manager, with the convenience store owner. I believe this award contributes to visibility, because visibility is not about what one does in one's bed, it's about everything else."
The film's lead actor, Andreas Lambropoulos, also thanked the jury for the award and Zacharias Mavroeidis for the opportunity to work on the film along with the entire production team.
Reasoning: It’s not only “fun, sexy, Greek and low-budget”, but also effortlessly charming and authentic; pretty sensual and spicy; refreshingly light and universal in depicting the dynamics of friendship and human relations; and further proof that you don’t need a XXL budget to craft a smart, colorful and multilayered pop bromance, with just the right amount of irony, hedonism and meta-cinematic mirroring, about the burning quest to love someone, make art and know one’s self. The Mermaid Award unanimously goes to the sparkling gem that is The Summer with Carmen, directed by Zacharias Mavroeidis.
Aiming to foster the transnational circulation of European titles, the Smart7 film festival cooperation network features a Competition Section, presenting a selection of seven national films (one from each member country). One film will win the Smart7 Award, followed by a cash prize of 5,000 euros. The network is composed of the following film festivals: New Horizons International Film Festival (Poland), IndieLisboa International Film Festival (Portugal), Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece), Transylvania International Film Festival (Romania), FILMADRID International Film Festival (Spain), Reykjavik International Film Festival (Iceland), and Vilnius International Film Festival Kino Pavasaris (Lithuania). The members of the jury are: Sveinn Áki Arnason, Alma Buhagiar, Giannis Delikostas, Greta Mecelicaitė, Adam Mytnik, Kenia Pollheim Nunes and Amaia Zafiaur.
The Smart7 Award was bestowed by Kenia Pollheim Nunes to the film:
INDIA by Telmo Churro, Portugal, 2022, 123’
Reasoning: In the spirit of celebrating European cultural diversity, the Smart7 Award goes to a film that reflects several dualities: the individual and the collective, the historical and the personal, the national and the international. This film is a recollection of cinema and historical heritage explored through a postmodern approach and childlike curiosity; a multi-generational tale that not only reflects on the retelling of an ancient history, but also strolls through the topics of love, death and identity. That is why the Portuguese film India by Telmo Churro was the selected film for the first Smart7 Award.
HUMAN VALUES AWARD OF THE HELLENIC PARLIAMENT
The Hellenic Parliament presents its Human Values Award to an International Competition section film. The members of the Jury are Aris Fatouros (director and program consultant at the Hellenic Parliament TV), Vasilis Douvlis (head of the program department at the Hellenic Parliament TV) and Kostas Dimos (program collaborator at the Hellenic Parliament TV).
The “Human Values” Award of the Hellenic Parliament was bestowed by Dimhtrios Koubelas, Member of Parliament of Thessaloniki A, who highlighted the importance of human values in our everyday life. The award was given to the film:
FINGERNAILS by Christos Nikou, USA, 2023
Reasoning: The Hellenic Parliament bestows the “Human Values” Award to a film of the International Competition Section that, with imagination, tenderness, and humor, explores the need to steer away from the social conventions in which we are trapped by modern technology, highlighting at the same time the liberating power of love. The award goes to Fingernails, directed by Christos Nikou.
ALPHA BANK ACCESSIBILITY AWARD
The Alpha Bank Accessibility Award is bestowed for the second consecutive year, awarded to either a personality or a film that highlights accessibility issues in the arts.
The Alpha Bank Accessibility Award, accompanied by a 3,000-euro cash prize was bestowed by the Festival’s artistic director, Orestis Andreadakis, to:
STAVROS ZAFEIRIS for his performance in the film TOUCHED by Claudia Rorarius, Germany, 2023
Stavros Zafeiris was thankful for the award, remarking: “Good evening, many thanks to the Festival. Thank you to the audience for embracing the film yesterday at its screening. It was a wonderful experience to be here with you."
FIPRESCI AWARDS (The International Federation of Film Critics)
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) bestows two awards: one to the best film of the International Competition section and one to the best Greek film that celebrates its premiere at the Festival. This year’s three-member Jury is composed of Dimitris Kalantidis, Tim Lindemann and Bojidar Manov.
The FIPRESCI Award for the best film of the International Competition was bestowed by Dimitris Kalantidis to the film:
IN CAMERA by Naqqash Khalid, UK, 2023
Reasoning: The film impressed with its bold stylistic choices and forays into surrealism as well as with its portrayal of contemporary social issues such as the struggle for artistic recognition by young non-white people.
The FIPRESCI Award for the best Greek film that celebrates its premiere at the Festival was bestowed by Bojidar Manov to the film:
MURDERESS by Eva Nathena, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: The film has a very strong social-historical subject, but mixed with powerful contemporary reflections about the women’s statute today!
Eva Nathena took to the stage and thanked the FIPRESCI jury for the award. "I am so delighted and twice as happy because in the audience are my children and they are watching this. I am so grateful, I have nothing else to share," she said.
THE GREEK ASSOCIATION OF FILM CRITICS AWARD (PEKK)
The Greek Association of Film Critics (PEKK) awards, as every year, the best Greek film screened in the official selection of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. The decision is made by the General Assembly of the members that have attended the Festival.
The PEKK Award was bestowed by the Vice President of PEKK, Stratos Kersanidis, to the film:
THE LAST TAXI DRIVER by Stergios Paschos, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: For its complete narrative and its cinematic use of gaze, through which the bankruptcy of the family is demonstrated, the Greek Film Critics Association bestows its award to Stergios Paschos for his film The Last Taxi Driver.
The award winner, Stergios Paschos, made his way to the stage to collect it, saying: "Thank you very much for this award. Thank you to the Festival for hosting and showcasing the film, and to all the people who participated in it."
HELLENIC BROADCASTING CORPORATION (ERT) AWARDS
The first prize of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) of 3,000 euros will be given to the Greek film, having its premiere at the Festival. The award was handed over by the General Director of ERT3, Filios Stagos, who, as a representative of the festival's administration, expressed his satisfaction with the new awards procedure, while as a representative of Greek Television, he expressed his pleasure that FIPRESCI granted its award to a universal human issue that concerns the fate of all women. The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award was given to the film:
MURDERESS by Eva Nathena, Greece, 2023
Eva Nathena stepped up to the podium and thanked him for the award. "I had never dreamed of this happening in my life and, even more so, while being with our children. I think this is a day I will never forget. Thank you so much," the director noted.
Then, producer Thanos Lambropoulos took the floor, who thanked Tanweer and especially Dionyssis Samiotis.
For the first time this year a new Original Music Award will be given to the composer of the original music of a Greek film that premieres at the Festival, accompanied by a cash prize of 2,000 euros. The jury consisted of Simos Papanas (artistic director of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra), Giorgos Christianakis (composer) and Robby Eksiel (film critic).
ERT’s Original Music Award was bestowed by composer, Giorgos Christianakis and the artistic director of the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Simos Papanas, ex aequo to:
JOHN KONSOLAKIS for the original music in the film DOLLS OF DRESDEN by Alexis Tsafas, Greece-Germany, 2023
NIKOS VELIOTIS & DIMITRIS KARIOFILLIS for the original music in the film EMBRYO LARVA BUTTERFLY by Kyros Papavassiliou, Cyprus-Greece, 2023
John Konsolakis came on stage to receive the award, while the director of the film, Kyros Papavassiliou, collected the award on behalf of Nikos Veliotis and Dimitris Kariofyllis. Both of them thanked the jury, the Thessaloniki Film Festival, the filmmakers and all those who supported them.
Reasoning: The jury bestows the award equally to John Konsolakis for Dolls of Dresden, which is directed by Alexis Tsafas, as well as to Nikos Veliotis and Dimitris Kariofillis for Embryo Larva Butterfly, directed by Kyros Papavassiliou, for the creativity and imagination with which they served, each with their own musical language and unique composition, the fabric of dramaturgy.
GREEK FILM CENTRE AWARDS
The Greek Film Centre will award two prizes in the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival. More specifically, the awards are the following:
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. The jury was composed of Zoe Kandyla, Development and Production Director, Yanna Sarri, Director of the Department of Promotion - Hellas Film and Dimitris Bouras, Head of the GFC's Press Office.
The award was bestowed by the President of the Board of Directors of GFC, Markos Holevas to:
EVA NATHENA for the film MURDERESS, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: Eva Nathena took the risk of transferring to the big screen the iconic and always timely and up-to-date literary work of Alexandros Papadiamantis, staying true to its core and avoiding a film of morals and manners, bringing forth the rough Greek landscape, harmoniously binding it together with the outstanding performances of the cast.
Eva Nathena thanked the GFC for the award, stating "I have not even called myself a director, but a visual artist."
The Best Location Award, accompanied by a 1,500 euros prize, granted 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 was bestowed by Stavroula Geronimaki, Deputy Director of the Greek Film Centre, to:
Location manager PETROS CHYTIRIS for his work on the film LITTLE THINGS THAT WENT WRONG by Haris Vafeiadis, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: The locations of the film match the narrative flow of the two main characters’ plotlines, who have enveloped their everyday lives into the imaginary worlds they have built, as they cannot cope with real life. The locations of the film are functionally defining the characters.
The jury was composed by Alexander Georges (Location manager, USA), Giorgos Babanaras (Location manager, recipient of last year’s award for his work on the film Behind the Haystacks, Stavroula Geronimaki (Managing Director HFC, GFC).
THE J.F. COSTOPOULOS FOUNDATION AWARD
The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, instituted in 2019 The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award in the context of the Thessaloniki Film Festival. The 3,000-euro cash prize will be awarded to a film from the Greek program selection, holding its premiere at the Festival. The film should present a comprehensive proposition, promote the art of cinema and demonstrate its affinities with the other forms of art. The members of this year’s committee are Rea Apostolides (producer), Georgis Grigorakis (filmmaker) and Christina Moumouri (director of photography).
The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation Award was bestowed by the director of the Foundation, Hector Verykios, to the film:
POLYDROSO by Alexandros Voulgaris (The Boy), Greece, 2023
The film's production designer, Myrto Tzima, and the makeup artist, Ioanna Lygizou, took to the stage to accept the award and thanked the jury.
Reasoning: For an excellent cast, with outstanding performances. A unique directorial approach that addresses loss with humor, lyricism and disarming honesty. It goes beyond the nostalgia surrounding the concepts of home and mother as our first sanctuary, creating a dreamlike saudade about unforgettable love that permeates the viewers and draws them into its universe.
FINOS FILM AWARD
For the first time in its history, Finos Film bestows an award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, distinguishing a Greek film that premieres at the Greek Film Festival section, accompanied by a 3,000-euro cash prize. The members of the committee of the 64th organization are Fotini Baxevanis (actress), Barbara Dukas, (artistic director of the Regional and Municipal Theater in Corfu, head of the Drama ISFF educational program) and Iason Triantafyllidis, journalist.
The Finos Film Award was bestowed by the representative of Finos Film, Stathis Kamvasinos, to the film:
MURDERESS by Eva Nathena, Greece, 2023
The producer of the film, Dionyssis Samiotis, thanked Finos Film, stating that "for us, Finos Film constitutes a great model." He also thanked the production company View Master Films and all contributors to the production.
Eva Nathena, in turn, warmly thanked Finos Film for the award, as well as the producers of the film.
Reasoning: The jury, composed by Iason Triantafyllidis, Barbara Dukas and Fotini Baxevanis, has decided to award a film of high aesthetic value, which intertwined Greek cinema with an iconic work of Greek literature and succeeds in insightfully shedding light, through an impeccable attunement of all its parts, on a never-ending cycle of violence against the very foundation of female existence, which is unfortunately yet to be closed. The Finos Film Award is bestowed to the film Murderess by Eva Nathena.
WIFT GR AWARD
The WIFT GR Award is presented by the Greek Chapter of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) to a film from the International Competition, Meet the Neighbors+ or Film Forward Competition for the best woman’s contribution and presence in front or behind the camera. The members of this year’s committee are Lisa Themeli (film education specialist), Mirella Legaki (economist, Vice President of the Federation of Greek Film Clubs) and Anna Stereopoulou (composer, pianist, researcher).
As Mrs. Legaki stated, "the WIFT GR award is one of the oldest awards of the Festival's Greek section, and I am very happy to represent the women of Greek cinema and television. Thank you very much, Festival." The award was bestowed by Mirella Legaki, Vice President of WIFT GR, to the film:
ALL DIRT ROADS TASTE OF SALT by Raven Jackson, USA, 2023
Reasoning: The WIFT GR award of the 64th Thessaloniki IFF goes to All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt by Raven Jackson. With its frank and subtle approach, the film highlights the power of nature focusing on the female element, on a woman who does not hesitate to defend her personal choices, her ties with nature and the power of the senses through the poetic quality of memory. By means of the heroine’s retrospect to grief, love and family, the film captures, with sheer originality in its cinematic ways, the universal truth of human senses and contact.
CREW UNITED AWARD
The Crew United is bestowed to the director of a Greek film of the 64th TiFF that takes part in the International Competition, Meet the Neighbors+ and Film Forward. The winner of the Crew United Prize will receive a 5-year free Premium membership subscription on Crew United, the leading online networking platform connecting audiovisual professionals in Europe, now open also in Greece.
The Crew United Award was bestowed to the film:
To SOFIA EXARCHOU for the film ANIMAL, Greece-Austria-Romania-Cyprus-Bulgaria, 2023
Reasoning: The Crew United Prize is awarded to the director Sofia Exarchou of the film Animal, for the narrative power with which it draws us into the central heroine's journey of self-awareness in a peculiar microcosm of illusions and delusion. A journey where resignation and the need to escape are in a constant battle.
On the podium, the director of the film, Sofia Exarchou, and the producer, Maria Drandaki, expressed their gratitude to Crew United for the award and to the festival "for the wonderful Greek premiere."
YOUTH JURY AWARDS BY THE STUDENTS OF THE THESSALONIKI UNIVERSITIES
The Youth Jury comprises this year students of the School of Film of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and will present the Best Film Award and the Special Jury Award. Eligible for these awards are Greek films premiering at the Greek Film Festival. Youth Jury supervisor: Apostolos Karakasis, Assistant Professor in Film and Television Theory & History, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. This year’s jury members are Sofia Agalioti (president), Panagiotis Markatatos, Miltiadis Moraitis, Anna Potamiti, and Anastasia Chasakioili.
The Youth Jury Best Film Award was presented by Sofia Agalioti, to the film:
THE SUMMER WITH CARMEN by Zacharias Mavroeidis, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: The authenticity and freshness of the film breathed new life into contemporary Greek queer cinema. Its realistic characters, humor and refined cinematography, along with its innovative structure, keep us engaged, drawing us closer together to both its filmmakers and cinema in general.
Receiving the award, Zacharias Mavroeidis said, "I have a parallel life as a screenwriting professor for many years, a job that I love very much," commenting that this distinction is "like a continuation of this relationship."
The Youth Jury Special Jury Award was bestowed by Sofia Agalioti, to the film:
THE RHAPSODIST by Nikolai Hamel, Greece, 2023
Reasoning: With its sights set on the cinema of the future and a brilliant sense of humor, The Rhapsodist takes us on a tender, multi-dimensional journey. The film has a very keen character-centric focus, transforming us into more than just spectators; we become listeners to the protagonist himself.
The film's cinematographer, Thomas Tsiftelis, went up on stage to thank the Youth Jury for the award.
FISCHER AUDIENCE AWARDS
Yannis Katsougris, Sponsorships & Events Manager of Athenian Brewery, along with Andriani Alexopoulou, Brand Manager, and Spiros Koustas, Junior Brand Manager Fischer & International Premium Brands, took the stage to announce and present the awards.
Andriani Alexopoulou initially took the floor and addressed the audience: "Good evening from us. Another year with the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, another year where FISCHER stands faithfully by its side. The most cinephile beer was once again present at the city's biggest film celebration. Almost two weeks, 115 films, and six iconic cinemas where thousands of viewers had the opportunity to watch exceptional short and feature films. For the 64th year, we traveled around the world, always together, guided by art and inspiration, with 270 stories that managed to move the audience. 23,428 of you showed your love by voting for the films that stood out. We are very happy that FISCHER was part of this experience again this year, giving voice to the audience with the FISCHER Audience Awards. This year, once again, the participation was truly impressive, and it gives us great delight to be together on this cinematic journey. Before I conclude, I would like to warmly thank the Festival for another year, a timeless and iconic cinematic institution that is constantly evolving and reminds us how important cinema is for our city, the artists, and for all of us, as well."
The FISCHER Audience Award for an International Competition film of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival was bestowed by Spiros Koustas to the film:
HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON by Ariane Louis-Seize, Canada, 2023
The FISCHER Audience Award for a Greek film – “Michael Cacoyannis” Award for a film of the 64th TIFF’s Greek Film Festival (premiere), was bestowed by Andriani Alexopoulou to the film:
THE SUMMER WITH CARMEN by Zacharias Mavroeidis, Greece, 2023
Zacharias Mavroeidis approached the podium and thanked the audience for the award, as well as the festival for the support it has provided to the film throughout its journey.
The FISCHER Audience Award for a Meet the Neighbors+ competition section film of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival was bestowed by Yannis Katsougris to the film:
MURDERESS by Eva Nathena, Greece, 2023
Director Eva Nathena and producer Dionyssis Samiotis went on stage to receive the award. Eva Nathena initially stated: "I want to thank the Festival for hosting us and the audience for welcoming us so warmly. Thanks to all the kids who pass by and congratulate us, shaking our hands. I didn't expect for the film to resonate with young people. You can understand that this is a great win for the film, and thank you very much. I didn't expect it. I am grateful. We thank you very much." For his part, Dionyssis Samiotis added: "It is the most important award of the Festival. Thank you very much."
The FISCHER Audience Award for a film of the Film Forward competition section of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival was bestowed by Yannis Katsougris to the film:
EMBRYO LARVA BUTTERFLY by Kyros Papavassiliou, Cyprus-Greece, 2023
Kyros Papavassiliou went on stage and thanked the audience for the award.
The FISCHER Audience Award for a film of the Open Horizons section of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival was bestowed by Andriani Alexopoulou to the film:
A CUP OF COFFEE AND NEW SHOES ON by Gentian Koçi, Albania-Portugal-Greece-Kosovo, 2022
The AGORA Awards
CROSSROADS CO-PRODUCTION FORUM
The jury of Crossroads Co-Production Forum was composed of:
Bassam Alasad, producer, Creative Media Solutions - Jordan, Britta Rindelaub, producer, Alva Film - Switzerland, Lina Yannopoulou, producer, Argonauts Productions - Greece and Rémi Burah, CEO, Arte France Cinéma - France.
Two Thirty-Five (2|35) Award - Post-production (image and sound) was bestowed to:
Directors / Scriptwriters: Maria Hatzakou, Alexandra Matheou, Producer: Maria Hatzakou - Merricat, Greece
The reasoning of the jury: The duo of female writers and directors convinced the Jury with their very solid and persuasive project. By creatively using folk elements in a modern depiction of woman transgenerational and collective trauma. And using the horror genre as a playful pretext to metabolize into a very important story that addresses freedom of choice in a patriarchal society.
"I would like to express my gratitude. First of all, to the team for trusting and bringing us here. Thank you, it’s been a great pleasure. Many thanks to my other half - my other half in writing, Alexandra, Angeliki and the jury, because the award will be of great help to our project. Hopefully, we will be able to showcase our film here," Maria Hatzakou remarked, as she received the award.
The 8,000-euro award for script development bestowed by CNC - Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée:
The reasoning of the jury: For a very fresh, inventive and provocative way in approaching the theme of friendship and the fear of losing it. A slasher film that does not glorify the murderer and where the female characters are not the first to die. For a proposal that sublimates the genre references with strong visuals and humor. The award goes to a project by Greek duo directors, Lida Vartzioti and Dimitris Tsakaleas for the film:
FRIENDS, BIRTHDAYS, MURDER, ETC
Directors / Scriptwriters: Lida Vartzioti, Dimitris Tsakaleas, Production: Ioanna Bolomyti - Atalante Productions SA, Greece
Dimitris Tsakaleas accepted the award and made the following statement: "Thank you very much. I am delighted. I am extremely grateful both to the jury and to you, Angeliki, for providing us with the opportunity to spend quality time in Thessaloniki. Thank you very much. We are very excited."
The Greener Screen Consultancy Award was given to:
AND ME TOO
Director / Scriptwriter: Sondos Shabayek, Production: Kesmat Elsayed - SEERA FILMS Gmbh / See Media Production, Germany, Egypt
The reasoning of the jury: Greener Screen consultancy award goes to a film that has what it takes to be produced in a green manner; Greener Screen decided to award this film for its powerful social timely message that it's very local yet it's an issue women face all around the world.
The Greener Screen Consultancy Award comes with a €7,000 worth consulting services alongside a tailored green production plan for the winning project, virtual training for the eco-manager on this plan, continuous support for the eco-manager during production alongside optional “Greener Script” consultancy sessions for the writer, director, and producer.
"I am very grateful to be here. The person I would like to thank the most is my producer as this was our very first creation together. It's very challenging to hold a microphone at times like this. I would just like to remind you that all lives are of value. And because of this fact, it is crucial that I urge you all to support the call for a ceasefire," said the winner of the award, Sondos Shabayek.
The ArteKino International Award with a cash prize of 6,000 euros, was bestowed to:
Director / Scriptwriter: Alina Șerban, Producer: Ada Solomon - microFILM, Romania
The reasoning of the jury: We decided to support a project leaded by a complementary duo, combining the strength and professional experience of its producer with the energy and life experience of its young director, with already well deployed talents, proposing to use her personal journey to bring a strong story of the growing of a young woman at the first crossroad of her life.
"I apologize for being so emotional. I am standing before you as someone who has survived in order to tell a story. I made a film that means so much to me and I hope that it will build bridges between us. Even being selected here is already an award for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for choosing me. Everything I experienced here has given me strength. I really hope that one day we will celebrate this movie together" commented director Alina Serban, upon receiving the award.
The Finos Film 3,000-euro award was granted to a Greek project by Agora's ambassador, Haris Alexiou.
The reasoning of the jury: The jury was convinced by the powerful and very precise manner the writer/director presented to us her vision of a post-apocalyptic western. Set in a near future and a universe of high contrasts where nature is a protagonist too. In which love between a father and a son is a revolutionary act. The Award goes to:
Director / Scriptwriter: Isabella Margara, Production: Kyriaki Virou - AbFab Productions, Greece
"I was telling Haris when we met at the presentation that I have a 20-month-old daughter, who I put to sleep with her song 'Ki Ego San Poli'. Thank you very much," mentioned Isabella Margara, as she accepted the award.
The Producer’s Network Accreditation to next year’s Cannes Marche du Film was awarded to:
Producer Anna Szijártó from the project:
Director: Anna Korom, Scriptwriters: Anna Korom, András Soós, Producer: Anna Szijártó - Kinomoto Kft., Hungary
Producer Anna Szijártó collected the award, saying: "Thank you very much. I really appreciate this award. I am a little too emotional, I think, as this is exactly the support we were hoping for by coming here. I really appreciate your decision and your support. We will also be renewing our appointment with most of you online. Thank you very much once again."
Reasoning: The Jury hopes The Producer’s Network Accreditation for Cannes Film Market will support the brave young producer to find the allies to make this courageous film come true.
The Mediterranean Film Institute Award - Script 2 Film Workshop Scholarship was awarded to the film:
Director: Anna Korom, Scriptwriters: Anna Korom, András Soós, Producer: Anna Szijártó - Kinomoto Kft., Hungary
The reasoning of the jury: For fighting the bullying of perfection.
"Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be here. It has been a wonderful week, full of interesting meetings and a lot of assistance. And yes, I just wanted to say that in times like these in Hungary, it is really important to feel that you are a European citizen," Anna Szijártó expressed.
The Initiative Film Award - Consultations to one project was given to the film:
SO THE LOVERS COULD COME OUT AGAIN
Director / Scriptwriter: George Peter Barbari, Production: Christelle Younes - Bee On Set Productions, Lebanon
The reasoning of the jury: We’ve decided to award a powerful story told through two characters and one single location, an important testimony from the past that resonates now more than ever.
The EAVE Award - Marketing Workshop Scholarship was granted to:
Ioanna Bolomyti (Atalante Films, Greece)
"I would like to thank the jury, Angeliki Vergou and the representatives of the programme. You are doing great work. Next year you are going to be very proud," commented the recipient of the award, Ioanna Bolomyti.
The Onassis Film Award – with a cash-prize of 10,000 euros was granted to a Greek project participating in the Agora’s Works in Progress section for this year.
The reasoning of the jury: This year's Onassis Award goes to a project which stood out for its bold point of view, its aesthetic and its unique narrative world built from simple, every-day elements, and whose scenes somehow haunted us long after the screening. The award goes to the film:
Director/Scriptwriter: Daniel Bolda, Producer: Nicholas Alavanos - Filmiki Productions
Co-producer: Daniel Bolda – Edelweiss, Greece
Daniel Bolda accepted the award, stating the following: "So thank you very much. The award is really valuable for our project. Thank you very much. It's brilliant."
WORKS IN PROGRESS AWARDS
The jury of Works in Progress was composed of:
Rémi Bigot, Head of the Semaine de la Critique, France, Anna Germanidi, Director of Exhibition and Programming, Modern Films, UK, Markéta Šantrochová, Head of the Czech Film Center, Czech Republic.
Authorwave Post-Production Award - Creative Services
The reasoning of the jury: For the maturity of the director’s execution, the confident choreography of individual scenes and the authenticity with which the complex relationship of the main characters is depicted., the award goes to:
Director: Filip Peruzović, Scriptwriters: Filip Peruzović, Nikolina Bogdanović, Producer: Tena Gojić - Dinaridi Film, Croatia
Upon receiving the award, director Filip Peruzović was quoted saying: "Thank you all very much, we did not expect it, we are truly happy. Thank you for advancing our work. Special thanks to Thanos and Elena for organizing everything efficiently, and to Isabelle and Hakim for guiding us through this whole process. I also wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues, because we operate in a spirit of camaraderie and not in a competitive manner."
Producer Tena Gojić further added: "It felt really nice to be part of this creative community, since we all struggle so hard. It has been great getting to know all these great people and their upcoming films, I thank them very much as well. It's a great joy to be part of such a competition where so many remarkable projects participate. None of us expected this great honor. We are grateful to the organizers, we experienced great confidence and peace of mind during these days."
MuSou Music Group Award - Sound/music post-production services.
The reasoning of the jury: For its ambitious narrative structure, its depiction of a contemporary tragic story that feels grounded in reality, its careful attention to its characters, and the thrilling feeling to have met a new voice, the award goes to:
BONDS, ROOTS AND PASSIONS
Director: Sunay Terzioğlu, Scriptwriter: Ferit Karahan, Producer: Timur Harzadın - Denge Yapim ve Danışmanlık, Türkiye
Director Sunay Terzioğlu, the award winner, said: "Hello everyone. We are so happy to be here, this is our first festival, so this in itself is a milestone for us. First film, first festival, first award. Thank you very much. Special thanks to the people of the festival, who are the reason we are here tonight. The organization has been amazing."
The film's producer, Timur Harzadın, was quick to add: "This is my first award, which evokes very particular emotions within me. Thank you very much for everything. I love you."
119 Marvila Studios Award - Sound mixing services
For its self-assured filmmaking, the social relevance of its multi-ethnic representation and the beautiful portrayal of the growing intimacy between characters, the award goes to:
Director/Scriptwriter: Sophie Artus, Producers: Yochanan Kredo, Linor Lavi - July August Productions
The recipient of the award, Sophie Artus, had the following to share: "Thank you very much. Thank you to the Festival, thank you for your kindness. This week was something very special for me, especially after the horrible events of the war. My film is all about motherhood and I just wanted to say that my heart goes out to all the mothers suffering right now. I hope to return to Thessaloniki very soon. I also hope all hostages return safely home soon".
Asterisk* Marketing Award - Consultation on Marketing Strategy & PK Content
The reasoning of the jury: The award goes to a project that fascinated us with its strong visual identity and emotional storytelling. That is:
Director: Aristotelis Maragkos, Scriptwriters: Aristotelis Maragkos, Chrysoula Korovesi, Producer: Konstantinos Koukoulis – ΠLANKTON , Greece
Konstantinos Koukoulis, collecting the award, remarked: "Thank you all so very much. Everyone says the same thing, but it's absolutely true. I won't stop recommending the Works in Progress section. I reckon I reckon it's the best place to start, getting all the support you need for the completion of your film. Thank you so much."
The ERT Agora Works in Progress Award with a cash prize of 2,000 euros is given to a Greek project.
The reasoning of the jury: For its intimate and tender depiction of a lonesome man, its eerie, feverish and magical atmosphere in this low-fi odyssey of companionship, the award goes to:
Director/Scriptwriter: Daniel Bolda, Producer: Nicholas Alavanos, Christina Stavropoulou - Filmiki Productions, Co-producer: Daniel Bolda – Edelweiss, Greece
Award winner, Daniel Bolda stated: "I would like to express my sincere appreciation; It will really be a great help to the film. The reception of the film seems promising, these are our first steps. Therefore, thank you! Therefore, thank you."
The Crew United award was also bestowed within the framework of the section Meet the Future of Agora. According to the jury's statement, “The Crew United Prize is awarded to the writer-director Neritan Zinxhiria for the coherence, consistency and precision with which he presented to us both his work so far and the series (content, script and directorial approach), which he is currently developing. The winner receives a 5-year Premium membership subscription on Crew United, the leading online networking platform.”
"Thanks, that's amazing. Once again, thank you, Agora," noted Neritan Zinxhiria.
The 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival is held with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Partnership Agreement of the Central Macedonia Regional Operational Program 2021-2027 and the MEDIA programme. Valuable is the support of ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation), official communication sponsor of the Festival, COSMOTE TV, Grand Sponsor of the Festival, Alpha Bank, the Festival’s accessibility sponsor, MasterCard, the Festival’s official payment card, Aegean, the Festival’s official air-carrier, Fischer, the Audience Awards sponsor, and Jameson.
The actions aiming at the reinforcement of Greek cinema’s extroversion and promotion to the international scene are carried out within the framework of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan “Greece 2.0”, funded by the European Union - NextGenerationEU.