The Agora awards of the 26th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival!

The Agora of the 26th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival bestowed its awards at Warehouse C, on Wednesday March 13th. 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. 

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. The Onassis Award is bestowed to the project: 


Director: Marianna Economou, Producers: Rea Apostolides, Yuri Averof - Anemon Productions, Co-producers: Paul Cadieux, Danae Elon - Filmoption International
Greece, Canada

Reasoning: The Onassis Film Award is awarded to a documentary film, a descent into the depths of modern Greece, the contradictions of the human experience, the environmental crisis and the moral dilemmas of our reality. A profound, comprehensive, multidimensional narrative that surprised us and left us with a lot to think about. The Onassis Film Award goes to Marianna Economou's Dark Waters along with a prize of 5,000 euros towards the completion of the film.

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum awards

The International Jury of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, consisting of:

Mario Adamson, Producer, Sisyfos Films - Sweden

Sophie Duncan, Marketplace & Talent Programmes Producer, Sheffield DocFest - UK

Suzanne Nodale, Sales Agent, Cinephil - France / Israel

handed out the following awards.

The IEFTA Award for Best Documentary in Development, accompanied by a 10,000 euro cash prize, is bestowed for the first time. Gary Springer from IEFTA came on stage to bestow the award to: 


Director: Hana Elias, Producer: Asmahan Bkerat, Palestine

Reasoning: Finding home, discovering where you belong, and what that means to you is a fundamental human need. By tending to your homeland, you in turn nurture family, and the right to your home. With warmth and authenticity, this project portrays a family’s relationship with both each other and their land in an intimate way. A powerful pitch from a strong team, with an urgent story that must be championed, we present the IEFTA Best Doc in Development Award to Hana Elias and Asmahan Bkerat for If These Stones Could Talk.

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


Directors: Nina-Maria Paschalidou, Maria Louka, Producers: Mina Dreki, Iro Aidoni - Marni Films, Greece

Reasoning: Addressing systemic violence of modern societies that we never fully confront is brave and important. This team cleverly weaves together the stories of four women who are breaking the silence and joining forces to heal and overcome their trauma due to abuse and gender-based violence. The award for the ERT - Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award goes to Survivors by Nina Maria Paschalidou, Maria Louka, Mina Dreki and Iro Aidoni.

The Eurodoc Award of 1,000 euros along with a VIP membership is bestowed by Mario Adamson to the film: 


Director: Lavinia Xausa, Producer: Sam Godfried - Yalla docs, Τhe Netherlands

Reasoning: It is now more important than ever to find deeper ways to connect and support each other. Allowing us an insight into a very personal journey, this project reflects on the necessity of breaking isolation and sharing grief as a way to heal from the past. The Eurodoc Award goes to one of the best pitched projects, Mountain Cries by director Lavinia Xausa and producer Sam Godfried.

The DAE - Documentary Association of Europe Award amounts to consultation and free membership. Marion Schmidt bestowed the award to: 


Director: Lavinia Xausa, Producer: Sam Godfried - Yalla docs, Τhe Netherlands

Reasoning: This award goes to a project team which we believe would benefit greatly from the wisdom and empathy from an expert to guide the next steps. A brave lament which illustrates the strength that comes from communicating our individual and collective pain, we would like to present the DAE Consultancy Sessions Award to Lavinia Xausa and Sam Godfried for Mountain Cries.

The Aylon Productions Digital Services Award offers an hour of high quality digital transfer of archival material. Nikos Stathoyannopoulos came on stage to bestow the award to the film: 


Director: Stephanie Andreou, Producer: Adrián Gutiérrez - Astarte Films, Cyprus

Reasoning: Archives can be a make-or-break tool for many documentary projects and we all love a film which is able to bring to light stories we never knew of. By unearthing the images of a women led movement forgotten by all even in their own country, this team is celebrating the resilience of women and the power of sorority while questioning the country’s own narrative of its modern history and what is left of their resistance. The Aylon Productions Digital Services Award goes to Stephanie Andreou and Adrián Gutiérrez for Women Walk Home.

The Beldocs Networking Award, which generously offers accommodation and accreditation at the upcoming Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival, May 23-26. Mara Prohaska, Director of Beldocs came on stage to bestow the award to the film: 


Director: Nikos Ziogas, Producers: Konstantina Stavrianou & Rena Vougioukalou - Graal Films, Antigoni Papantoni - rawDOCS

Reasoning: The climate crisis and the effect it is having on the environment is a pressing global issue that cannot be ignored, and different stories must be told. With impressive imagery, this project brings to light the importance of cross border collaboration to save and heal nature for the future. The Beldocs award goes to Nikos Ziogas, Konstantina Stavrianou, Rena Vougioukalou, and Antigoni Papantoni for Lake.

The Mediterranean Film Institute Doc Award, which consists of free participation in the 2024 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. 

The award, given by Marco Gastine, is bestowed to:


Director: Nela Märki, Producer: Martin Rattini - Helios Sustainable Films, Italy

Reasoning: The Mediterranean Film Institute, MFI, SCRIPT 2 FILM workshops is an international advanced training program for script and project development. Since 2019, MFI gives an award at the Thessaloniki Doc Pitching Forum which consists of a grant to participate in its DOC LAB.The 2024 Pitching Forum selection was very rich and almost all the projects deserved the Award. Unfortunately, we can choose only one. But all the other projects are strongly encouraged to apply to our program. We chose a very strong project which deals with a moving and universal topic, a loving couple who desperately tries to have a child.

The DOK Leipzig Accelerator Award offers two Observer badges and accommodation. Nadja Tennstedt from Dok Leipzig came on stage to bestow the award to the film: 


Director: Maša Nešković, Producers: Maja Medić, Ena Bajraktarević - Marienbad film, Serbia, In collaboration with CIRCLE Doc Women Accelerator 

Reasoning: A cinematic portrayal of memories and their role in creating an intergenerational dialogue, becoming the foundation of revealing individual identities. Through a beautiful archive, this team brings to life the past whilst showing the effect it has on the present. The DOK Leipzig Accelerator Award goes to Maša Nešković, Maja Medić and Ena Bajraktarevic for Kafka in Belgrade.

The Sunny Side of Doc Award offering 2 accreditations and 500 euro towards travel expenses, given by Clemence Michalon, is bestowed to:


Director: Nikos Ziogas, Producers: Konstantina Stavrianou & Rena Vougioukalou - Graal Films, Antigoni Papantoni - rawDOCS, Greece

Reasoning: We are happy to award the SSD prize to Lake, a project bringing out the similarities of communities from three neighboring countries that have been defining themselves in opposition to each other for generations. Shedding a light on their ambition to cooperate at a local level to preserve an ecosystem bigger than their cultural quarrels, Lake is a compelling story illustrating the necessity of setting aside our differences to ensure mutual existence.

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:

Hanne Biermann, Festivals & Marketing Manager, Film Harbour - Germany / The Netherlands

Pierre-Alexis Chevit, Head of Cannes Docs, Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes - France

Kumjana Novakova, Filmmaker / Film curator, Pravo Ljudski & Medea - North Macedonia / Bosnia & Herzegovina

The 119 Marvila Studios Award for sound mixing services is bestowed to the project: 

Director: Sari Haragonics, Producers: Sára László, Inez Mátis, Marcell Gero - Campfilm, Co-producer: Boris Despodov - Arthouse Blockbusters, Hungary, Bulgaria

Reasoning: For the director’s sensitive vibration in taking on a filmic, therapeutic attempt with her own family members, using heartfelt images from then and now, the 119 Marvila Studios Award goes to Don’t Worry Sari! by Sari Haragonics.

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


Director/Producer: María Silvia Esteve - HANA Films, Co-producers: Alejandra López - IKKI Films, Radu Stancu,Cristina Haneș - deFilm, Argentina, France, Romania

Reasoning: For its courage to cinematically engage with and uncover one of the most difficult, as well as historically and socially still absent issue - the sexual abuse of women and girls - the jury gives the Two Thirty-Five (2I35) Award to Mailin by Maria Silvia Esteve.

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

Director: Eirini Vourloumis, Producer: Leonidas Liambeys - Long Run Productions, Co-producer: Eirini Vourloumis - Boulis Films, Greece

Reasoning: For the complexity of the approach in the way the mental landscape of the characters transform into a cartography of a city, the jury gives the Greek Film Centre Award to The Secrets of the Owl by Eirini Vourloumis.

The Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award is bestowed to the project: 


Director: Lucas Habte, Producer: Isidore Bethel - Alice Films, Co-producers: Lucas Habte, Juan Carlos Malavé, France, United States, Puerto Rico, Ethiopia

Reasoning: For allowing us to travel with the director on an emotional and intimate journey to his roots, illuminated by love and tenderness, the jury gives the Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award to Happy You're Here by Lucas Habte.

Agora Lab awards

Konstantinos Aivaliotis presented the Agora Lab awards inviting Iris Assimakopoulou to hand out the Crew United Prize, a five-year premium subscription on Crew United Platform to a participant in the Agora Lab, bestowed to: 

Smaro Papaevangelou 

Reasoning:  First, we would like to congratulate all the filmmakers and producers! Each project, even if in quite different development stages, has its own strengths and charm, and it feels hard to pick out just one out of them. The lines that divide generations, people, values, and ideas must fade away. And every story that narrates this procedure is redemptive and encouraging. So, we feel that the two-folded, personal yet universal, storyline of My Daughter is still very relevant and burning for the Greek – and not only – society. Our warmest wishes for all the projects!

Konstantinos Aivaliotis went on to announce the Guidance Award, sponsored by Paradiddle Pictures and given to a project participating in the Agora Lab. The award is bestowed to:


Director/Producer: Giorgos Iliopoulos, Co-producer: Sofia Exarchou, Greece

Reasoning: We often say that in 100 years no one will remember. But of course it is not so. The 18 year-old Kurdish boy Vural reminds us about this. During his unconventional journey, taking us around the island and also back in time, we understand much better our current time. Therefore the project Exile(s) has the potential to tell an important story about human relations.