The awards of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

The awards of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival


The 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival came to an end. This year’s successful edition was a hybrid event with online screenings in March (4-14/3), tributes and educational screenings during the spring and with online and on-site screenings from June 24 to July 4, 2021. Cinephiles and filmmakers met again, one and a half year later, in cinemas, the natural space for a Festival, in a state of anticipation, joy and emotion. During the ten days of the festival, 92 films were screened at nine open-air theaters and 142 films were screened online.


In the open-air theaters the screenings had a capacity of 75% and 80 screenings took place, compared to 300 screenings that took place during the 21st Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, in March 2019. In total, 48,000 viewers watched the screenings of the hybrid 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. At the same time, 3,500 people from all over the world listened to the podcasts that participated in the new section of the Festival. In the context of Agora Docs, 310 meetings took place online and on-site with cinema professionals from Greece and abroad. Significant agreements for future film projects were made during these meetings.


We would like to thank the filmmakers and talents who participated in the Festival, as well as the juries. It is with great pleasure that we announce the awards of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.




The Festival’s International Competition section includes twelve films with a duration over 70΄.


The jury of the International Competition Feature Length section of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival comprised by:


Yuri Averov, producer, writer, editor

Katerina Patroni, director

Iva Radivojević, artist, filmmaker




The Golden Alexander award accompanied by a cash prize of 15,000€ to the documentary:


Magaluf Ghost Town by Miguel Ángel Blanca (Spain, France)


The Special Jury Award accompanied by a cash prize of 5,000€ to the documentary:


Luchadoras by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim (Germany, Mexico)




New directors, through their debut or sophomore documentary, try to portray reality with their own unique set of tools. For the first year, the Newcomers Golden Alexander is renamed to “Golden Alexander - Dimitri Eipides”, as a homage to the founder of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, who taught us to see the Festival with a different pair of eyes.


The jury of the International Competition Newcomers of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival comprised by:


Nikos Mengrelis, journalist and director

Anneta Papathanasiou, actress, co-founder of the Eliart independent theater, documentary filmmaker

Blaine Reininger, composer and co-founder of the band Tuxedomoon, actor




The Golden Alexander Dimitri Eipides award, accompanied by a cash prize of 10,000€, to the documentary:


On the Other Side by Iván Guarnizo (Colombia, Spain)


Τhe Special Jury Award accompanied by a cash prize of 3,000€ to the documentary:


Sediments by Adrián Silvestre (Spain)





The competition section of >>Film Forward showcases the work of new and daring directors who question our relation with reality, attempting to renegotiate it beyond the conventions imposed by film genres.


The jury of the International Competition >>Film Forward of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival comprised by:


Maria-Thalia Carras, visual arts curator, co-founder of the non-profit contemporary arts initiative locus athens and the project space TAVROS

Bernard Cuomo, architect

Christos Karakepelis, director




The Golden Alexander »Film Forward award, accompanied by a cash prize of 3,000€ to the documentary:


Landscapes of Resistance by Marta Popivoda (Serbia, France, Germany)


A Special Mention to the documentary:


The Oleanders by Paola Revenioti (Greece)




The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival presents for the first time in its history a new competition section, focusing on the digital audio files that have conquered the planet.


The jury comprised by:


Calliope Alpitsi, chief executive officer of elc productions, director of ελculture

Lefteris Charitos, director, lecturer at SAE Creative Media College, founding member of

Nadja Drakoula, journalist, writer, documentary producer, radio producer at Best 92.6


Bestows the podcast award, accompanied by a 2,000 euro cash prize, to the podcast:


Enallax by Danai Dimopoulou, Elpiniki Papadopoulou (Greece)


Jury’s reasoning:


"We singled out this project as we believe that it brings together virtues and elements that characterize a wholesome and original podcast. Among them are productive completeness, research, artistic intention and narrative structure, originality in the content and style, and balance between the emotional stimulation of the listener and the freedom of information processing".


A Special Mention to the podcast:


Maid in Hell by Line Fabricius, Anna Steen Hansen (Denmark)


Jury’s reasoning:


The podcast “deals with an issue that concerns the human history to this day, that of modern slavery, through particularly interesting narratives and a multifaceted approach”.




The Mermaid Award is presented by the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival to the best LGBTQI-themed film from the Festival’s official selection. The jury comprised by:


Maxim Cirlan, director, scriptwriter, co-founder of the Queer Voices festival

Marina Danezi, director, producer

Alexandros Diakosavvas, editor-in-chief of LiFO magazine


Bestows the Mermaid award to the documentary:


Colors of Tobi by Alexa Bakony (Hungary)


"for the depiction of non-binary identity and its search in absolutely current terms, for the sensitive cinematography and because it is a strong voice for LGBTQI + rights, in the European country where they may be violated more at the moment".


A Special mention to the documentary:


The Oleanders by Paola Revenioti (Greece)


"for the bold, old-school, nostalgic recording of trans experiences and sex work by three iconic figures of the Athenian underground".




The TV station of the Hellenic Parliament bestows its long-established “Human Values” award to a film of the Newcomers International Competition. The “Human Values Award” (presented by the Hellenic Parliament) Jury consisted of:

Aris Fatouros, founding member of the Hellenic Parliament TV station, program consultant, producer, director

Vassilis Douvlis, head of program, film director of fiction and documentary films

Kostas Dimos, program coordinator


Awards the best film in the Newcomers International Competition section to:


On The Other Side by Iván Guarnizo (Colombia, Spain)

Jury’s reasoning:


“The Hellenic Parliament TV Station bestows the Human Values award to a film in the Newcomers Competition Section, narrating the shocking journey of two siblings as they trace the path of their mother who was taken hostage in the jungle during the civil war, finding reconciliation and forgiveness in the face of her jailer and savior”.







The ERT Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation bestows:


One award accompanied by a €3,000 cash prize to the Greek documentary over 50΄ that wins the FIPRESCI Award, which goes to:


Golden Dawn A Public Affair by Angélique  Kourounis (Greece)


The award ERT - Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, accompanied by a 2,000 euros cash prize, which goes to:


Secrets of the Owl

Direction: Eirini Vourloumi, Production: Leonidas Liampeis - Long Run Production, Eirini Vourloumi, Greece





Within the framework of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the Greek Film Centre bestows its award to a debut documentary film over 50΄ that premieres in the Greek Program section.


The jury, comprised by:


Eleni Chandrinou, vice-president of the Board of the Directors of the Greek Film Center, producer

Athina Kalkopoulou, director of Promotion (Hellas Films)

Iliana Zakopoulou, head of Promotion & International Cultural Events (Hellas Films)



bestows the award to the documentary:


Memento by Nikos Ziogas (Greece)


The award is accompanied by a €3,000 cash prize.


Jury’s reasoning:


“A film where the personal story crosses paths with collective experience, present meets memory and grief joins music. A cinematic journey into the mountains of Epirus that reminds us of what is fundamental and meaningful.”


A Special Mention is given to the film:


A Beautiful Day by Danis Karaisaridis, Yorgos Paterakis (Greece, Germany)


Jury’s reasoning:


The documentary "demonstrates that when kids grow up as future citizens, we can hope for a society of mutual respect and acceptance, where every human being is given the vital space to blossom as a part of the whole, and the whole evolves along with each one of us".



The Amnesty International Jury consisting of:


Effie Voutira (Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Macedonia, Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Programme of the University of Oxford),

Aris Dimokidis (journalist, writer),

Gerasimos Kouvaras (General Director of ActionAid Hellas, MBA, PhD Candidate in Management at the Business School of City University of London),

Marianna Leontaridou (Member of Amnesty International Greece); and

Giannis Haritidis (director, producer).


Awards the best film to:

Dying to Divorce by Chloe Fairweather (UK, Norway, Germany, Turkey)


The FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Jury consisting of:


Isabelle Debuchy (Luxembourg)
Jan Storø (Norway)

Kostas Zaligkas (Greece)


Awards the best film of the International Competition Feature Length section to:


Luchadoras by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim (Germany, Mexico)


Jury’s Reasoning:


Luchadoras is a powerful statement of how some women in Ciudad Juárez on Mexico's border to the USA are dealing with their lives. They are single mothers - and female fighters. Lady Candy, Baby Star and Mini Sirenita are all generously inviting us into their lives - telling us about how they combine fighting, a regular job, and motherhood. Directors Paola Calvo, Patrick Jassim have had a warm and wise hand on the camera and the editing.”


FIPRESCI also awards the best Greek film participating in TDF’s international program sections to:


Golden Dawn A Public Affair by Angelique Kourounis (Greece)


Jury’s reasoning:


“There is no doubt that the verdict that was announced on the 7th of October 2020 in Athens, after a lengthy trial, of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn being a criminal organization, is pivotal and historic for the future of democracy in Greece and Europe.

With that in mind, director Angélique Kourounis, managed to capture the many aspects of that lengthy trial, giving the audience all the important details that they should know. It’s a film of important historic value, one that you watch breathlessly, made by a woman who has dealt with the Golden Dawn in the past, with the camera in her hand and knows exactly what she’s talking about”.




The Greek Association of Film Critics awards, as every year, the Best Greek Film that is screened in the official selection of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. The decision is made by the General Assembly of the members that have attended the Festival.


The award goes to the documentary:


Back to Earth by Chryssa Tzelepi, Akis Kersanidis (Greece)


“for the creative composition of film images and sounds with a tangible work of art in progress, which comes out of the earth and returns to its origin, transforming the landscape into a public sculpture, as if made by nature's own hands”.



The WIFT GR Award is bestowed by the Greek Chapter of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) to a woman filmmaker of a film selected from the official program of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.


The members of this year’s committee are:


Rea Walldén, film theorist

Polly Vlachou, filmmaker

Marina Stylianou, financial director


The award goes to:


Eva Stefani for Days and Nights of Demetra K.


“for its daring and tender gaze, which – transcending both prejudice and identification, and without smoothing out contradictions – draws the portrait of a woman, of a profession, and ultimately of Greek society”.



The World Wildlife Fund Greece presents an award to the best film of environmental interest.


The jury comprised by:


Andrea Bonetti (photographer, photoreporter)

Iasonas Kantas (Head of Communication & Engagement)

Joakim Odelberg (Explorers Club Fellow, awarded photojournalist)


Bestows the award to the documentary:


Silence of the Tides by Pieter-Rim de Kroon (The Netherlands, Germany,



Jury’s reasoning:


“A documentary of forceful and smooth cinematography, whose narration went beyond the power of the image. Achieving balance and harmony, it unfolds the co-existence between human and nature in one of the most vital wetland systems of the world”.




Youth Jury Supervisor: Apostolos Karakassis, Assistant Professor at the School of Film Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The Youth Jury, comprised of Stefanos Evangelopoulos, Lina Kountoura, and Andrianna Mastrosavva, students of Thessaloniki Universities, bestows the Best Film Award to:


A Beautiful Day by Danis Karaisaridis, Yorgos Paterakis (Greece, Germany)


Jury’s reasoning:


"The documentary introduces us to two self-organized preschool educational projects, two precious shelters in the heart of an inadequate system. "The Little Tree" and "Little World" projects are founded on self-organization and direct democracy, and bring forth the change instead of waiting for it to happen. The directors, in harmony with the credo of the two projects, lower the camera at the height of the children, and record their opinions and experiences as equal, reaffirming their role as well-rounded and active members of our society. We hope this documentary gives way to many more beautiful days”.


The Special Jury Award to:


Golden Dawn A Public Affair by Angélique Kourounis (Greece)


Jury’s reasoning:


“Our jury's special prize goes to the film Golden Dawn A Public Affair, which serves as a pivotal document of modern history. A documentary in which rage is transformed into courage, and courage paves the way for a clear headed recording and study of a trial that marked our times. Through  blood-curling parallelisms and shocking testimonies, it reminds of our common responsibility to resist against fascism".



Four Audience Awards are awarded to two Greek and two international films (over and under 50 min. accordingly.


The Fischer Audience Award "Peter Wintonick" for an international film over 50 min. is awarded to:


Luchadoras by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim (Germany, Mexico)


The Fischer Audience Award for an international film under 50 min. is awarded to:


Stranger than Rotterdam, with Sara Driver by Lewie & Noah Kloster (USΑ)


The Fischer Audience Award for a Greek film over 50 min. is awarded to:


Through the Glass, Three Acts by Christos Barbas (Greece)


The Fischer Audience Award for an international film under 50 min. is awarded to:


Zabeta by Elissavet Sfyri, Sofia Sfyri (Greece)



The tutors of the Agora Lab:

Cecilie Bolvinkel, consultant, producer, Rough Cut Service – Denmark

Eleni Chandrinou, producer – Greece

Gregoris Rentis, editor, director, BYRD - Greece

Antigoni Papantoni, consultant, CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator, Greece (tutor and program coordinator)


bestow the Guidance award by Paradiddle Pictures - Denmark to:


Station Athens

Director: Yolanda Markopoulou

Producers: Yolanda Markopoulou - Polyplanity Productions, Daphne Kalafati - SAVEFRAG


“for its fresh visual approach on dealing with trauma and its inspirational stories of empowerment through art”.


You can find the Agora Docs awards here:


The 23rd TDF was  feasible through the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the NSRF program of the ROP Central Macedonia 2014-2020, and the MEDIA program. Also, of great value was the support offered by ERT S.A., COSMOTE TV, the Festival’s grand sponsor, Alpha Bank, our accessibility sponsor, Mastercard, the Festival’s official payment card, Aegean Airlines, TIFF’s official air carrier, Fischer, sponsor of the Audience Awards and VELMAR, mobility sponsor. We thank the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT), the Greek Film Center, the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME) and the Municipality of Thessaloniki. Enjoy the screenings!