Greek cinema is one of the main protagonists in the 57th Thessaloniki International Film Festival. 15 films produced in Greece and in co-production with other countries will have their Greek premiere in Thessaloniki, while 11 films which have already had their Greek premiere will also be screened in this year’s edition. In addition, 5 Greek short films that were screened and awarded in prominent international film festivals will be presented in the 57th TIFF, as well as 21 award-winning films of the 2016 Short Film Festival in Drama. A Beautiful Day, the latest short film by the Greek-born renowned cinematographer and film director Phedon Papamichael will also be screened at the festival. Last but not least, a special premiere of the documentary 90 years PAOK – Nostalgia for the Future, the last film directed by the late Greek filmmaker Nikos Triantafyllidis (1966-2016) about the Thessaloniki-based PAOK FC, will also take place in the 57th TIFF.
TIFF brings Greek cinema to the spotlight by organizing a series of new activities and initiatives, with the purpose to promote even more the Greek films of this year’s edition, as well as to enable Greek filmmakers to benefit further from the professional opportunities offered by the festival’s Agora Industry.
The 15 Greek films (in alphabetical order) that will have their premiere in Thessaloniki, three of which will participate in the International Competition section:
Afterlov by Stergios Paschos: Nikos invites his ex-girlfriend Sofia at a friend’s house while he is away. He will not allow her to leave this place, until the finds out why they broke up. A poignant, alternative romantic comedy about modern love (“Filmmakers of the Present” Award, Festival del Film Locarno).
Amerika Square by Yannis Sakaridis: Athens provides the backdrop for this harsh, yet delicate at times, social realism drama, whose characters struggle with xenophobia, intolerance and alienation (Agora Industry Crossroads, 49th TIFF).
Boy on the Bridge by Petros Charalambous: In a seemingly idyllic Cypriot village, twelve-year-old Socrates finds himself in the centre of a murder investigation that exposes a dark family secret and changes his life forever (World premiere).
Common Ground by Penny Bouska: In a deserted place, the pumps work hard to prevent the flood disaster. When a group of refuges comes to the village, locals are disrupted and things inevitably change.
Istanbul Story by Fotini Siskopoulou: Katia’s unexpected journey to Istanbul traps her in a chain of adventures enacted on the front of her disrupted childhood. She discovers her mother’s secrets and faces her own inner desires and dilemmas.
Kissing? by Yannis Korres: Just before turning thirty, Danny and Stella often feel lost and disorientated. This is the chronicle of their relationship that reveals the portrait of their generation with sarcastic humour and sincerity.
“Love, Love, Love” by Costas Zapas: A love story of extreme tension; desperate and explosive like its four leading characters – two women and two men who will claim their right to be loved no matter the cost.
Park by Sofia Exarchou: Youth hopelessness and dirty passions define this gripping coming-of-age story about a group of teenagers who spend their days roaming at the abandoned decaying sport venues of the Athens Olympic Village (New Directors’ Award – San Sebastián Film Festival, CNC and Initiative Film Awards – Agora Industry Crossroads, 53rd TIFF).
The Other Me by Sotiris Tsafoulias: A lonely criminology professor attempts to solve the mystery behind five murders by decoding the puzzle of five Pythagorean theorems, in a crime story that features renowned French actor François Cluzet in a key-role.
The Story of the Green Line by Panicos Chrysanthou: A story set in the Green Line in Nicosia, Cyprus, where a wall divides a country. Two soldiers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, decide to embark on a secret journey that is dangerous no matter which side you are at (Agora Industry Crossroads, 50th TIFF).
Thread by The Boy: Film director and musician The Boy (aka Alexandros Voulgaris) presents a fantasy thriller with two main characters (both played by actress Sofia Kokkali); Niki is a resistance fighter living in a nightmarish dictatorship in Athens, 1972, and Lefteris is her son, who will be forced sooner or later to cut the thread that binds them together (Agora Industry Works in Progress, 55th TIFF).
Χamou by Clio Fanouraki: “Xa mou” means “to do whatever I feel like” in the Cretan idiom. Johnny, the film’s main character, is a French man who lives in Crete. He unexpectedly loses his job, but he is reborn when he discovers the small pleasures in everyday life.
The segment “Greeks of Diaspora”, part of the Greek Film Festival section, features 3 films by Greek filmmakers of the diaspora. These films will also have their Greek premiere in the 57th TIFF:
In Christina Kallas’ 42 Seconds of Happiness, a circle of friends reunite to celebrate the same-sex wedding of a member of their group; however a series of surprise plans, unexpected arrivals and exposed secrets lead to an inevitable explosion (European premiere).
Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Sotiris Dounoukos traces a true tragic story that happened a few years ago in Australia, when a young mentally ill law student decided murder her boyfriend and to kill herself.
The autobiographical film Tracktown by Jeremy Teicher & Alexi Pappas centres on a young long distance runner preparing for the Olympics, played by the Greek-American long distance athlete and co-director Alexi Pappas
11 Greek films that have already had their premiere will be screened at the 57th TIFF as part of the Greek Film Festival section (in alphabetical order):
Ashes by Stratos Tzitzis: Five people gather in a house, totally unable to decide about the burial of their friend who just passed away. Their microcosm resembles the city outside, bursting with chaos and disorder.
Bliss by Christos Pitharas: The post-it messages of a stranger push Anna to her limits, shattering her mental health. A tragicomic glance at the life of a young woman, viewed through a distorted perception of reality.
Cloudy Sunday by Manoussos Manoussakis: In Thessaloniki, 1942, the forbidden love between a Jewish girl and a Christian boy unfolds through the eyes and the music of the prominent Greek compositor Vassilis Tsitsanis.
Interlude: City of a Dead Woman by Angela Ismailos: A former opera singer, a priest and a bullfighter meet on the island of Patmos, seeking redemption; their encounter will affect each other’s lives irrevocably.
Mythopathy by Tassos Boulmetis: Young Stavros’ coming-of-age story spreads from the 60s to the 80s Greece, unfolding a fascinating journey through history, myths, truths and numerous love stories.
Nocturne by Konstantinos Fragkopoulos: Three tortured souls in an underground parking lot; a little girl arrives; a crime is committed and tension keeps rising in this claustrophobic psychological thriller.
Onslaught by Vassilis Vafeas: A taunting look at contemporary Greece centered on Aris, a young film director who tries to find balance between two worlds; the society of the spectacle and a society in turmoil.
Pedro Noula by Karolos Zonaras: Following a traffic accident, a young man loses his memory and identity. Soon he will embark on a nightmarish adventure, confronting his darkest side.
Short Fuse by Costas Skiftas & Andreas Lambropoulos: Time is running out for Aris, who wakes up in an unknown place belted with explosives, delving into a marathon of survival between police and criminals, in this suspenseful action film.
Suntan by Argyris Papadimitropoulos: Kostis, a middle-aged doctor working at the clinic of the small island of Antiparos, becomes obsessed with a young and restless tourist, Anna (Agora Industry Works in Progress Award, 55th TIFF).
Worlds Apart by Christopher Papakaliatis: Three love stories between Greeks and foreigners thrive under difficult circumstances in contemporary Greece. What divides and what unites these people?
5 short Greek films screened and awarded in international film festivals:
Flowers and Bottoms by Christos Massalas (Official Selection Locarno Filmmakers Academy, Festival del Film Locarno)
Fox by Jacqueline Lentzou (Best International Short Film, Festival del Film Locarno)
Limbo by Konstantina Kotzamani (Semaine de la Critique, Cannes Film Festival)
Manodopera by Loukianos Moshonas (Official Selection “Pardi di Domani” Shorts Competition, Festival del Film Locarno)
Sandy Beach by Thanos Papastergiou (Shortcuts Program 03, Toronto Film Festival)