Preliminary Round-Up

The curtain fell on the 5th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century with the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 9. This year, the Festival introduced a number of firsts: a duration of ten days, for more screening days, the advancement of Greek documentaries through a competition section and the Panorama, awards giving the Greek creator an opportunity to develop his work.

165 films were screened at the 5th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, 87 of which came from 30 foreign countries and the other 78 from Greece, seen by a total of 17.500 people in 259 screenings (205 at the Olympion Renault and 54 at Apothiki 1 at the harbour).

Film Details: In the International Programme, the number of films screened per section were: i. Stories to Tell: 15 ii. Views of the World: 13 iii. Habitat: 9 iv. Portraits-Human Journeys: 7 v. Recording Of Memory: 5 vi. Music on the Screen: 6 vii. Late at Night: 7 viii. Current Issues – Palestine: 9 ix. Spotlight - Nicholas Philibert: 5 x. Spotlight – Margaret Smilow: 6 xi. Retrospective – Michael Moore: 5

In the Greek Programme, the number of films screened per section were: i. Competition Section – In Competition: 17 ii. Competition Section – Out of Competition: 5 iii. Greek Panorama: 17 iv. Spotlight – Yannis Smaragdis: 11 v. Spotlight – Maria Hadjimihali Papaliou: 5 vi. Spotlight – Apostolos Krionas: 5 vii. Greek Informative Section: 18

There were 459 accreditations (directors, journalists, producers, buyers and Pitching Forum Participants) and 365 guest from Greece and abroad. This year’s Festival activities were covered by 13 foreign journalists (Canada, Britain, France, Croatia, USA, Denmark, Spain and Turkey) and 80 Greek journalists ( 61 from Thessaloniki and environs and 19 from Athens).

The Awards

A. Greek Competition The jury of the Greek Competition Section made up of: Lakis Papastathis, director, Penny Panayotopoulou, director, Stelios Kouloglou, journalist, Miltos Papanikolaou, university professor, and Nikos Yannopoulos, director of production meted out awards to the following films:

The 5th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century First Prize, accompanied by the sum of 12.000€ was awarded ex equo to the films Men At Sea by Katerina Patroni and Are there Lions in Greece? by Irina Boiko. The second prize, accompanied by the sum of 6.000 € was awarded to the film They tell me not to Love You by Yorgos Zervas and the third prize, accompanied by the sum of 3.000 € was awarded to the film Freddy by Thodoros Kalesis.

Honourable mentions were awarded equally to the films: Times and writers: Andreas Embirikos by Tasos Psaras, Earthquake by Yuri Averof and The Sponge Divers’ Dance by Vassilis Vasiliadis.

Fipresci The members of the FIPRESCI jury, Stratos Kersanidis (Greece) Necati Sonmez (Turkey) and Anette Olsen (Denmark) awarded prizes to the films: Ford Transit by Hany Abu-Assad “because it gives an ironic, humorous and at the same time analytical picture of Palestinian daily life, in the form of an unusual road movie” and The Road to the West by Kyriakos Katzourakis “for the way in which he handles a contemporary problem: the uprooting of people, through an innovative blend of fiction and poetic style with which he presents the lead character”. 

DEWAR’S Audience Award The Dewar’s Audience Award, accompanied by the sum of 3.000 € was given to the film Nine Good Teeth by Alex Halpern.

International Doc Market 2003

The International Documentary Market, organized for the fifth time this year by the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in collaboration with ERT A.E., was attended by 38 buyers from 18 countries and included 321 films. The total number of viewings that took place in the private screening booths reached the number of 1118. Pitching Forum 2003

The Pitching Forum

Pitching Forum was attended by 28 new and more established producers from Greece and other countries and 70 proposals were submitted, 21 of which were accepted and presented by 25 pitchers. The commissioning editors present were: Christian Popp (SFB, ARTE, Germany), Martin Pieper (ZDF/ARTE, Germany), Bill Binnemans (RTBF, Belgium), Eleni Vlachou (ERT, Greece), Dimitris Sofianopoulos (GFC, Greece), Rada Sesic (Jan Vrijman Fund, Holland), Ger van Dongen (NCRV, Holland), Leena Pasanen (YLE Teema, Finland), Ronnie Griens (RVU, Holland), Evangelia Antansioti (ERT, Greece), and Jenny Westergard (YLE FST, Finland).


A conference – open forum on the subject of “ Palestine: Children and War”, was held at the Museum of Ancient Byzantine and Meta-Byzantine Musical Instruments amphitheater, which was sold out. The conference was part of the special section: “Contemporary Issues: Palestine”, of the 5th International Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century.

The discussion was moderated by the journalist Stelios Kouloglou and the panel was comprised of Teresa Shaloufi from Israel, head of the Build a Better World non-governmental organization, the 15 year old Palestinian Nidal Alayasa, who is a participant in the Build a Better World programme, the directors Ram Levoy from Israel and Hany Abu Assad from Palestine, who participated in the Festival with their films Gaza, Closed Closure, and Ford Transit respectively, in the section “Focus On: Palestine”, Kostas Papaioannou, head of the organization “Medecins Sans Frontieres” of Greece, and the journalist for the newspaper “Eleftherotypia” Dina Vagena, who specializes in reportage from the Middle East.


 The 5th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, on the occasion of the spotlights on three Greek documentary makers, presented three comprehensive publications edited by Dimitris Kerkinos, on Yannis Smaragdis, Maria Hadzimihali Papaliou and Apostolos Krionas.


The work of famous American photographer Andres Serano, whose subjects span religion, death, life and sex and his continuous critique on them, was presented in Greece for the first time. The solo exhibition will continue until March 14 at the Gallery Kalfayan. Vangelis Ioakimidis is curating the exhibition.

Regional Activities

For the fifth year, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century traveled to Alexandroupolis, from Tuesday, March 11 to Thursday, March 13, with nine selected documentaries which were screened at the Ilisia Alpha Odeon cinema. The regional activities are incorporated in the Thessaloniki Film Festival’s efforts to expand its scope to the peripheries of the country.

The films screened were: The Road to the West, 65’, by Kyriakos Katzourakis, French Kissing, 15’ by Aneke de Lint von Weingarten, Nobody Someday, 95’, by Brian Hill, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, 80’, by Eugene Jareky, 48 Hours in Ramallah, 26’, by Patrick Sobel, After Jenin, 52’ by Jenny Morgan, The Friendship Village, 51’, by Michelle Masson, American Masters: Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note, 115’, by Susan Lacy, Fellini, I’m a Born Liar, 105’, by Damien Pettigrew. The screenings took place with the help and collaboration of the Evros Local Council, the municipality of Alexandroupolis and the Alexandroupolis Film Society.