Opening Ceremony: Different, this time

59th THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL [1-11/11/2018] || 1-11/11/2018

Opening Ceremony: Different, this time

A novel, special opening ceremony inaugurated the 59th Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Thursday 1st November in a stacked Olympion theatre.

After a short event organized by TIFF’s volunteers, who set the tempo being the first to take the Olympion stage, the opening ceremony and the cinema screen became one: a short film directed by Periklis Pilidis and produced by George Siniosoglou. In this video, clips from the films consisting this year’s event alternated with words by the Minister of Culture and Sports Myrsini Zorba, the Deputy Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Katerina Notopoulou, the Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas and the Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris. And of course with snapshots of the movie theaters, the festival venues, our guests, and TIFF’s audience that for 59 consecutive years supports Greece’s biggest cinema celebration.

In the beginning of this short film, TIFF’s General Director Elise Jalladeau and the Artistic Director Orestis Andreadakis summed up this year’s event: 253 films, of which 92 are Greek, 7 tributes, more than 350 guests in Agora -“TIFF’s most vigorous part”, as they noted-, 8 venues, independent filmmakers from all over the world, experimental voices, longest films -up to 14 hours-long-, an exhibition and many parallel events.

Consequently, the Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, took the stage of the Olympion and welcomed the audience to this great celebration of the city and culture. “The Film Festival is contributing actively to giving prominence to the Region of Central Macedonia as the country’s most open region, and to Thessaloniki as Greece’s capital of openness”, he said. Mr Tzitzikostas noted that a Film Office will be established soon in the Region’s offices aiming at attracting film production in Macedonia, thus showcasing the region and its special traits. Mr Tzitzikostas also referred to TIFF’s particularly important developmental nature, which creates jobs and gives institutions the opportunity to promote the advantages of the Region and the city of Thessaloniki in culture, tourism, entertainment and art. “Our goal in the following years is for the Festival to grow even more, attract even more foreign visitors and at the same time assume an educational role for the young generations as to art and culture”, he concluded.

Consequently, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris made a brief mention to TIFF’s history. He referred to Pavlos Zannas and the 60s, the great Greek auteurs Theo Angelopoulos and Nikos Koundouros, and their films  The Travelling Players and The River, the 90s, when TIFF became international, as well as to Francis Ford Coppola and Abbas Kiarostami, “this Iranian film director who launched his career here”, as Mr Boutaris said; both have visited the Festival in the past. He also noted, among other things, Thessaloniki’s chance to become a centre for film production. “TIFF’s future is the fruit of the current management’s work. A Festival even more open, that can attract professionals who come here to buy films, and gradually make films”.

Consequently, the Deputy Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Katerina Notopoulou referred to the Festival as an integral part of Greek cinema history, and noted that the State is trying hard to support it, integrating it in the new ROP of the NSRF for Central Macedonia. She also spoke about the contract with the Thessaloniki Port Authority for the concession of Warehouses C and A for TIFF’s needs. Mrs Notopoulou noted that the motives for foreign and Greek productions are the most attractive and added that “we make efforts for the Festival and work for it, because we love it”.

The Minister of Culture and Sports Myrsini Zorba spoke immediately after, noting that: “The Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s asset is its openness, its connection to the international and the Greek audience and of course with the city itself. Us cinephiles are expecting controversial films, ones that will strike a chord with us and show us what happens all over the world. We are expecting the Greek scriptwriters and film directors to boldly reveal to us the Greek reality. Cinema is an art which is being born by creative partnerships, a global range industry, and I wish for many synergies to be born, through which future cinema will emerge”, she said, wishing the event good luck.

The short film in the opening ceremony of the  59th TIFF began and ended with the twin brothers Anestis and Michalis Kontis, two of the most distinctive figures of the city and the event itself. Both were present in Olympion theatre and were applauded by the audience.

Consequently, Mrs Jaladdeau and Mr Andreadakis took the stage, thanking the contributors to this short film who worked for free, as well as the supporters, sponsors, media sponsors, distributors and all those who support this year’s event. Mr Andreadakis made a short mention to the opening film of the 59th TIFF, Shoplifters , by the Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-Eda. The film, last winner of the Cannes’ Palme d’Or, is about to be screened in theatres by the distributing company One from the Heart, “is about the pariahs of our society, those who live on the fringe of our normalcy and yet manage to give lessons of humaneness and strip puritanism of its cover”, Mr Andreadakis noted. The ceremony concluded with a video message by the film director Hirokazu Kore-Eda who, after thanking TIFF and wishing its audience to enjoy the screening, spoke about the year 2004, when he first took part in it with his film Nobody Knows, as well as his unexpected meeting in Thessaloniki with one of his favorite film directors, the Spanish Victor Erice, who was also TIFF’s guest at the time.

The contributors to the short film of the 59th TIFF:
Direction-Script: Periklis Pilidis
Production: Media World Production
Producer: George Siniosoglou
Production Director: Zafiro Tsotra
Cinematography: Tassos Kikidis
Editor: Antonis Stamoulis
Assistant: Konstantina Kastoriadou
Sound Design: Vaggelis Pontikis
Voiceovers: Vassiliki Delaporta
Assistant Director: Annie Stefanidou
Second Assistant Director: Vassilis Dinas
Secretary: Despina Strantzali

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