Evia Film Project, the green initiative launched by Thessaloniki Film Festival last year aiming to offer support to Northern Evia following the devastating 2021 wildfires, is returning enhanced and more dynamic, showcasing a rich and fully rounded film program. The films of the 2nd Evia Film Project, both classics and recent hits, feature films and documentaries, which raise awareness, inform, incite to action, unveil the repercussions of human-driven activities, praise nature’s magic, and bring forth mankind’s relation to the environment, will be screened at the open-air movie theaters Apollon in Edipsos and Elymnion in Limni. Apollon, abandoned for decades and renovated last year by the Festival, in collaboration with the Municipality of Istiea-Edipsos, operated as an open-air cinema during the entire summer of 2022. Within the framework of this year’s edition, a special screening of the multi-awarded documentary When Tomatoes Met Wagner will be held at the central square of Agia Anna, attended by the film’s director Marianna Economou, who will have an extended Q&A with the audience after the screening.
Edipsos (ciné Apollon)
Tuesday June 20th, 21:00 (opening film)
USA, 2017, 135’
Downsizing is laying out a wild scenario to counterbalance the explosion of the planet’s population: what would happen if some Norwegian scientists found a way to shrink the dimensions of an ordinary man. The master of lowkey and reachable narratives, Alexander Payne, is focusing on a story of a couple (performed by Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) that wishes to become a part of a community of tiny people that want to live in environmentally friendly micro-communities. The film is a biting comment on the utopias dreamt by ordinary common people and the stress that they put on the environment. Downsizing puts climate change and humanity under the microscope, while exploring the human-nature relationship.
Wednesday June 21st, 21:00
Switzerland-Germany-Georgia, 2021, 91’
A powerful and anonymous man has developed an unusual hobby. He buys century-old trees, some as tall as 15-story buildings, from communities along the Georgian coast and has them excavated to collect them for his private garden. An ode to the rivalry between men and nature, and at the same time a whimsical investigation of “uprootedness” as a metaphor, the film portrays the needs and values of today’s Georgian society, while reflecting on forced movement and willing stasis in an ever-changing planet.
Thursday June 22nd, 21:00
France-Austria, 2014, 110΄
A modern odyssey, a dizzying, science fiction-like journey into the heart of Africa. At the moment when Sudan, the continent’s biggest country, is being divided into two nations, an old “civilizing” pathology re-emerges – that of colonialism, the clash of empires, and yet new episodes of bloody (and holy) wars over land and resources. The director of Darwin’s Nightmare takes us on this voyage in his tiny, self-made flying machine out of tin and canvas, leading us into the most improbable locations and into people’s thoughts and dreams, in both stunning and heartbreaking ways. Chinese oil workers, UN peacekeepers, Sudanese warlords, and American evangelists ironically all find common ground in this documentary.
Friday June 23rd, 21:00
Greece, 2023, 19’
The documentary captures the life rhythms of the residents of Northern Evia, following the fire that devastated the area in 2021. At first, the existing (problematic) situation is presented through the perspective of the people who live in the area. Then, the productive sectors and the local economy that have been affected and are under recovery are thoroughly scrutinized, aiming at building a model of sustainable development that can be implemented through spatial planning. The film ends with the local residents sharing their love of this place and their reasons to continue to live there.
Tibor Bánóczki & Sarolta Szabó
Hungary-Slovakia, 2023, 111΄
In the near future, there are no more animals or plants on Earth and the remaining humans are living under a plastic dome. The price for their continuing survival is very high: at the age of 50, they are implanted with a special seed that turns them into a tree which will provide oxygen and food for the community. A young man, Stefan, accepts this system – until the day his wife Nóra decides to give up her life and undergo voluntary implantation. Driven by his love for her, Stefan decides to break the rules of society in order to save her. Animation duo Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó created their dystopian epic using rotoscoping techniques. The screenplay was developed with contributions from geologists, botanists and meteorologists, thus providing its fantasy-laden story with a solid, scientific grounding. A deeply moving eco-fantasy that deals head-on with the climate apocalypse threatening life on Earth, imbued with the melancholy of those most aware of how close humankind is to extinction. However, as is the case for the couple at the center of this beguiling love story, this burden is lightened by their keen sense of the world’s beauty.
Limni (ciné Elymnion)
Wednesday June 21st, 21:15
Brad Allgood & Graham Townsley
USA-Paraguay-Norway-Brazil, 2015, 84΄
Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster strikes their country, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. A thrilling testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.
Thursday June 22nd, 21:15
Brazil-Italy, 2008, 104΄
Marco Bechis’ Birdwatchers is taking us to Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil, where landowners live in luxury, spending their nights with the tourists who visit the area for birdwatching. Meanwhile, just outside their properties, the agitation of the indigenous people who were once the legal owners of this land is increasingly burning. Exiles in reservation sites, with no prospect other than working as modern-day slaves on sugar plantations, many young members of the indigenous community are driven to suicide. One such incident will spark the flame of resistance, when a Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous group sets camp outside of a property, asking for what is theirs. But apart from rage, the conflicting sides experience feelings of charm and curiosity for the “Other” standing before them. A curiosity that will trigger a profound bond between a young Saman student and the daughter of a landowner – a relationship that becomes a beacon of hope and faith in the power of the universe, providing us with an alternative definition of climate activism.
Friday June 23rd, 21:15
Alejandro Loayza Grisi
Bolivia-Uruguay-France, 2022, 87΄
Somewhere in Altiplano – the tableland that opens between the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes mountains, and one of the most important wildlife areas on the planet – an elderly indigenous couple leads a daily life full of adversities but in harmony with nature. The woman walks kilometers to find water and then carries it in buckets back home hut, where there is no electricity. The epic beauty of the landscape, the light on the wrinkled stoic faces, the warmth of the palette – they all turn the lights on the real protagonist: the earth. The cinematic language will talk about what is hidden below and above the surface of this arid and sunburnt expanse.
Saturday June 24th, 21:15
Malta, 2021, 94΄
A young Maltese fisherman goes out to sea every day in his traditional fishing boat, struggling to make enough to feed himself, his wife, and their new baby. But working conditions are worsening as overfishing and black marketeering now set the rules in the island’s limited, highly competitive fishing trade. A real, urgent environmental issue – overfishing and illegal fishing – meets social realist cinema, with Mal- tese-American debut director Alex Camilleri finding in the rough figure of local fisherman Jesmark Scicluna a revelational lead, who won the Special Jury Award for acting at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021.
Agia Anna (local community - central square)
Friday June 23rd, 21:15
Greece, 2019, 72΄
With humor and originality, two cousins and five women from a village in the region of Thessaly in central Greece, confront the globalized economy with a tomato at hand. With a little help from Wagner, whose music they play on the speakers they set in their fields, as well as the stories they tell to build strength, they attempt to break into the market by organically growing an aged tomato seed. Marianna Economou seems to know the recipe for a documentary that makes you cry and laugh while recognizing the parallel paths of the people who live in the turmoil of a universal ecological and social crisis, in the country’s official submission at the 95th Oscars.
The movie will be followed by an extended Q&A with the director Marianna Economou.