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Thessaloniki International Film Festival



Dailies from the Thessaloniki international Film Festival

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival was concluded with great success, receiving the audience’s love in every possible way. More than 80,000 viewers and movie industry professionals watched the films and attended the Festival’s online events, whereas a large number films of were sold out. Agora, the Festival’s development branch, also achieved a great attendance, offering support to Greek cinema through a series of new initiatives, actions, and awards.

The 61st Festival hosted a series of exhibitions and visual art events, within the framework of TIFF’s main concept, “Intimacy: a modern tyranny”. Works of art, video mapping, as well as The Glasshouse Project installation adorned the city streets and squares, as well as the Port of Thessaloniki, offering glimpses of joy and hope to the city’s residents, who had the chance to enjoy a touch of art during their scarce walks for exercise, groceries and the covering of basic needs, amidst these hard days we’re experiencing. The goal is for these exhibitions to remain in the city’s public space even after the Festival. 


 


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The awards of the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival

61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival took place 5 - 15/11/2020  

 

61st TIFF: THE AWARDS

 

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival was concluded with great success, receiving the audience’s love in every possible way. More than 80,000 viewers and movie industry professionals watched the films and attended the Festival’s online events, whereas a large number films of were sold out. Agora, the Festival’s development branch, also achieved a great attendance, offering support to Greek cinema through a series of new initiatives, actions, and awards.

 

The 61st Festival hosted a series of exhibitions and visual art events, within the framework of TIFF’s main concept, “Intimacy: a modern tyranny”. Works of art, video mapping, as well as The Glasshouse Project installation adorned the city streets and squares, as well as the Port of Thessaloniki, offering glimpses of joy and hope to the city’s residents, who had the chance to enjoy a touch of art during their scarce walks for exercise, groceries and the covering of basic needs, amidst these hard days we’re experiencing. The goal is for these exhibitions to remain in the city’s public space even after the Festival.

 

For the first time in Greece, two online fully accessible screenings took place, of the Greek films A Crazy, Crazy Family by Dinos Dimopoulos and Morning Patrol by Nikos Nikolaidis. The movies were screened with an audio description for the blind and sight-impaired and with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

 

We renew our appointment with actions scheduled to take place soon, as well as with the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, for which further information will be announced within the following days.

The list of awards:

 

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

 

The International Jury of the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival comprised of:

 

Melika Foroutan, actress, Iran

 

Teona Strugar Mitevska, director, North Macedonia

 

Vanja Kaludjerčić, director of the Rotterdam Film Festival, Croatia

 

Yorgos Tsemberopoulos, director, Greece

 

Björn Viktorsson, sound designer & sound mixer, Iceland

 

 

Bestows:

 

THE AWARDS

 

Best Full-length Feature Film Award - Golden Alexander “Theo Angelopoulos” (15,000 euros)

 

IDENTIFYING FEATURES

 

By

 

FERNANDA VALADEZ, Mexico-Spain

 

Reasoning:

 

In a cruel world of heartbreaks, tragedy and survival, a story of unexpected bond is born. The Jury was impressed by the directorial approach to the cinematic form, a form that never overpasses the natural flow of the story, but constantly elevates it to a higher and deeper stance and proposition. It starts slowly and classically to then develop into visual darkness, or hell, just as the story does. The film stands a reminder of the limitless space artistic expression can take.

 

 

Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander (8,000 euros)

 

DIGGER

 

By

 

GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS, Greece-France

 

Reasoning:

 

In a very simple personal way through a father-and-son story, this skillful film enters with cinematic force inside the woods and Nature, to dig-in in a transforming rural community of people, so local and yet so universal. 

 

 

Special Jury Award for Best Director - Bronze Alexander (3,000 euros offered by COSMOTE TV, the Festival’s Grand Sponsor)

 

ANDERS ØLHOLM & FREDERIK LOUIS HVIID  

 

For

 

SHORTA, Denmark

 

Reasoning:

 

Directed with precision, this brisk and nerve-wracking thriller couldn't be more relevant for our times. Unraveling excessive police brutality, social unrest and systemic racism, the directors are cleverly confronting us with fiery topical issues of stigma and hatred in our society.

 

 

Best Actress Award

 

JOANNA SCANLAN

 

For

 

AFTER LOVE by Aleem Khan, United Kingdom

 

Reasoning:

 

Joanna Scanlan’s performance is powerful in many different ways. Her acting is precise, intelligent and surprising, a joy to watch. She depicts Fahima/Mary away from the usual stereotypes and graces her character with a remarkable dignity that requires true contemplation and mastery of her art.

 

 

Best Actor Award

 

ARIS SERVETALIS

 

For

 

APPLES by Christos Nikou, Greece-Poland-Slovenia

 

Reasoning:

 

A quiet and subtle, yet powerful and memorable performance. Aris Servetalis’ expressive face, his intelligent sense of humor and his full control of the body, gives us a tragically funny impersonation of a man suffering from amnesia.

 

 

Best Artistic Achievement Award

 

NIGHT OF THE KINGS

 

By

 

PHILIPPE LACÔTE, France-Ivory Coast-Canada-Senegal

 

Reasoning:

 

A film of survival against all odds, baroque and abundant in style. Drawing from the cultural inheritance of his origin, the director pushes us to view the world colorfully in spite of the harshness of the circumstances the characters are in. The carefully choreographed scenes are masterfully filmed with radiance and freshness, increasing our emotional charge. The director’s audacity to propose a different kind of storytelling gives us a film that provokes and animates on all levels.

 

 

 

 

 

MEET THE NEIGHBORS COMPETITION SECTION

 

The jury of the Meet the Neighbors competition section, comprised of Joana Hadjithomas, director and visual artist, Michael Paleodimos, director of photography, and Svetla Tsotsorkova, director, bestows the awards:

 

Best Full-length Feature Golden Alexander award - Meet the Neighbors (5,000 euros)

 

200 METERS

 

By

 

AMEEN NAYFEH, Palestine-Jordan-Qatar-Italy-Sweden

 

Reasoning:

 

The jury awards the Golden Alexander Award to 200 Meters for the powerful manner in which the filmmaker portrays the everyday life of a Palestinian man and his family, in a tremendously tense surrounding, where even the simplest of tasks transforms into an epic journey. 

 

As we navigate through all the humiliating hurdles that our protagonist faces, the other characters also desperately try to exist and survive in a collective madness that surrounds them.  Ameen Nayfeh manages to bring out character tension, without however getting overly political, and successfully crafts a film that stays on point with a reserved approach all the way to the film’s final scene.

 

 

Special Jury Award - Silver Alexander Meet the Neighbors (3,000 euros)

 

SHOULD THE WIND DROP

 

By

 

NORA MARTYROSIAN, France-Armenia-Belgium

 

Reasoning:

 

The jury awards the Silver Alexander Award to Should the Wind Drop for its subtle yet powerful portrayal of hope and acceptance in a region of the world that needs to be more understood.

 

With characters that are sincere and relatable, Nora Martirosyan manages to very poetically blend the landscape, the story, the conflictual history of the region and the internal conflicts of its characters.  It underlines the human side of a region that is usually portrayed in very different light, resulting in a beautifully crafted film with constraint, discipline and a great cinematographic approach.

 

 

Special Jury Award for Best Director - Bronze Alexander

 

200 METERS

 

By

 

AMEEN NAYFEH, Palestine-Jordan-Qatar-Italy-Sweden

 

Reasoning:

 

Ameen Nayfeh manages to bring out character tension, without however getting overly political, and successfully crafts a film that stays on point with a reserved approach all the way to the film’s final scene.

 

 

Special Jury Award ex aequo

 

SPIRAL

 

By

 

CECÍLIA FELMÉRI, Hungary

 

and

 

LUXOR

 

By

 

ZEINA DURRA, Egypt-United Kingdom

 

 

Reasoning:

 

Both Spiral and Luxor for us show, very successfully, the healing process of two people who are trying to overcome their terrible pain - in a truly cinematic and pictorial way. We felt it wrong to single one out, and as such decided both were equally worthy of the “Special Jury Award”.

 

Spiral is a film with beautiful cinematography and solid performances that explores human grief with great restraint and sensitivity.  Although normally a hard film to strike a balance with, where the antagonist and the protagonist are the same person, Cecília Felméri works the metaphors of grief and loss, of couple relations and life, with great finesse.

 

In Luxor, the director escapes clichés and orientalist shortcuts in a surprising way, with an enchanting pace, delivering a film that keeps the audience intrigued throughout.  A beautiful portrait of a woman, which echoes the city of Luxor.  A city which in turn helps the protagonist by reconnecting her to the location’s timelessness, to accept a possible rebirth through love.

 

 

MERMAID AWARD

 

The Mermaid Award is bestowed to the best LGBTQI-themed film of the Festival’s program. The jury, comprised of Angel Cheng (producer & international publicity manager at the Doha Film Institute), Mihai Chirilov (film critic & artistic director of the Transylvania International Film Festival) and Vasilis Kekatos (writer & director), grants the award to:

 

DAYS

 

By

 

TSAI MING-LIANG, Taiwan

 

Reasoning:

 

With a powerful subtlety that takes you deep between isolation and connection, this film is a beautiful, quiet rumination on the troubles of body and soul, and the possibility of love and tenderness - even if only for a fleeting moment. The emotional eloquence of stillness and wordlessness replaces spoken language in a precarious physical and emotional bond between two men. For its profound portrayal of impermanence and the preciousness of existing only in the moment, we present the Mermaid Award of the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival to Days by Tsai Ming Liang.

 

 

FIPRESCI AWARDS

 

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) jury comprised of:

 

Elli Mastorou, Belgium

 

Lisa van der Waal, The Netherlands

 

Kostas Konstantinidis, Greece

 

Bestows two awards:

 

 

For a film in the International Competition to:

 

SHORTA

 

By

 

ANDERS ØLHOLM & FREDERIK LOUIS HVIID, Denmark

 

 

For a film in the Greek Film Festival 2020 section (premiere) to:

 

TAILOR

 

By

 

SONIA LIZA KENTERMAN, Greece-Germany-Belgium

 

 

HUMAN VALUES AWARD

 

The jury of the Hellenic Parliament TV Channel, comprised by Aris Fatouros (program consultant), Kostas Dimos (program coordinator) and Vassilis Douvlis (film director), bestows its award to the film of the International Competition section:

 

GHOSTS

 

By

 

AZRA DENIZ OKYAY, Turkey-France-Qatar

 

Reasoning:

 

Equipped with a fresh and pervasive look, the film unveils a society ripped by extreme contrasts, riots, brutality and violence, while mapping out, through narrative mastery, the pathways of different female characters, who stand up to the oppressive conditions they’re experiencing.

 

 

ERT S.A. (HELLENIC BROADCASTING CORPORATION) AWARDS

 

One award, accompanied by a 3,000-euro cash prize, is bestowed to the Greek film that won the FIPRESCI Award. The award goes to:

 

 

TAILOR

 

By

 

SONIA LIZA KENTERMAN, Greece-Germany-Belgium

 

 

One award, accompanied by a 2,000-euro cash prize, is bestowed to the Greek project that awarded within the framework of the Agora Lab - Works in Progress. The award goes to:

 

 

18

 

By

 

VASSILIS DOUVLIS, Production: Panagiotis Kakavias (Kfilms) & Katerina Beligianni (KaBel Productions), Greece

 

 

GREEK FILM CENTRE AWARDS

 

The Greek Film Centre (GFC) jury, comprised of Athena Kalkopoulou (Director of promotion - Hellas Films), Venia Vergou (Director of the Hellenic Film Commission) and George Angelopoulos (GFC Director of development and production) bestows two awards:

 

One award, accompanied by a 5,000-euro cash prize, to a Greek debut film that premiered at the 61st TIFF:

 

GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS

 

For

 

DIGGER, Greece-France

 

Reasoning:

 

By unanimous decision, the members of the GFC jury bestow the award to a debutant director, whose directorial maturity left us impressed, as he crafted a world of full-blown characters, shedding light to the 21st century man vs. nature conflict, with a remarkable perceptiveness.

 

The Best Location Award by GFC’s Hellenic Film Commission (1,500-euro cash prize) to a location manager (or director, in case there is no location manager in the film’s crew) to a Greek debut feature by a first-time director that premiered in the 61st TIFF:

 

VASSILIS DINOPOULOS

 

For

 

KALA AZAR, The Netherlands-Greece

 

Reasoning:

 

By unanimous decision, the members of the GFC jury bestow the award to a location manager, who served the film’s director vision to the fullest by selecting locations of rich narrative power, capable of implying their own rough stories.

 

 

THE “J.F. COSTOPOULOS FOUNDATION” AWARD

 

The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, celebrating 40 years of presence in the realm of culture, instituted the “J.F. Costopoulos Foundation” Award in 2019, with the aim of further promoting Greek film production. The members of this year’s judging panel are: Yannis Zoumboulakis (journalist & film critic), Eva Stefani (filmmaker & professor at the University of Athens) and George Frentzos (cinematographer).

 

The 3,000-euro cash prize for a film in the Greek Film Festival 2020 section goes to:

 

DIGGER

 

By

 

GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS, Greece-France

 

Reasoning:

 

Starting off from a typical “bridge building” story between a lonesome father and his son, and set against the backdrop of a part of the Greek landscape we rarely see in Greek fiction films, director Georgis Grigorakis “wedded”, in an almost spontaneous way, realism and poetry, passionately speaking about the two-faceted aspect of nature, both human and as a whole. Refraining from the easy solutions of an ethography or a straightforward ecological denunciation, Digger focuses on the tireless effort of a man to protect his tortured land. The outcome is a movie that casts a deep ethnographic glance, as if made out of mud, branches and water, nevertheless technically sound in all aspects. Last but not least, the two ambiguous lead characters of the film are portrayed by a duo of extraordinary actors, who convey their realism to the viewer in a quasi-surreal way.    

 

 

WIFT GR AWARD

 

The WIFT GR Award is granted by the Greek Chapter of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) to a film from the Festival’s International Competition section or Meet the Neighbors section for the best woman’s contribution and presence in front or behind the camera. The members of this year’s committee are: Antoinetta Angelidi (filmmaker) Manina Zoumobulaki (writer & screenwriter) and Effie Scrobolas (creative producer) and bestows the award to: 

 

GHOSTS

 

By

 

AZRA DENIZ OKYAY, Turkey-France-Qatar

 

Reasoning:

 

For its acute glance at a world immersed in darkness, for the narrative and cinematic depiction of otherness, and its courageous stand against the forces of corrosive patriarchy.

 

 

YOUTH JURY AWARDS

 

The Youth Jury, comprised by students of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Macedonia, bestows its awards to two films in the Greek Film Festival 2020 section (premiere):

 

Best Feature Film Award:

 

DIGGER

 

By

 

GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS, Greece-France

 

Reasoning:

 

As the breathtaking Greek mountainous landscape casts its shadow, a modern-day western, of awe-inspiring humility, unfolds. Man’s conflict against nature and himself provides food for thought, as we watch a ruptured relationship between father son being built, shattered to pieces, and rebuilt from scratch. Α film of few words that finds the way to convey everything that remains unspoken. A sublime musical score, outstanding performances, and a well-written screenplay, with pinches of humor and a subversive finale, which immerses us in the feeling of hope. A hope so bright precisely because it springs out of the darkest ground.

 

Special Youth Jury Award:

 

TAILOR

 

By

 

SONIA LIZA KENTERMAN, Greece-Germany-Belgium

 

Reasoning:

 

Outlining the portrait of a contemporary Greek society with an out-of-the-ordinary romantic touch, this Tailor lets us inside his world, inviting us to share his passion for creation, for adventure, for love… for everything that wιnks at us, but we choose to turn aside, putting on a smile. The film’s direction, music and set design craft a mesmerizing aesthetics, within a context where innocence battles cruelty, where kindness and restraint flirt with risk and challenges. A tender coming-of-age story that reminds us that the world is still out there, waiting for us, provided that we are brave enough and ready for it.”

 

 

FISCHER AUDIENCE AWARDS

 

For a film in the International Competition section to:

 

DIGGER

 

By

 

GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS, Greece-France

 

 

For a film in the Greek Film Festival 2020 section  - “Michael Cacoyannis” Award to:

 

VASY’S ODYSSEY

 

By

 

VASILIS PAPATHEOCHARIS, Spain

 

 

For a film in the Meet the Neighbors Competition / Balkan Survey section to:

 

DANIEL ’16

 

By

 

DIMITRIS KOUTSIABASAKOS, Greece

 

 

For a film in the Open Horizons section to:

 

 

MY TENDER MATADOR

 

By

 

RODRIGO SEPÚLVEDA, Chile-Argentina-Mexico

 

The 61st online Thessaloniki International Film Festival was held with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the NSRF - ROP of Central Macedonia 2014-2020, and the MEDIA program. Valuable support was also offered by ERT, COSMOTE TV, the Festival’s Grand Sponsor, Alpha Bank, accessibility sponsor, Mastercard, the official payment card, Aegean, the official Festival’s air-carrier, and Fischer, sponsor of the Audience Awards, the Greek Film Center, the Greek National Tourism Organization, EKOME, the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation and Jameson.

 
 

 

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About Thessaloniki International Film Festival


Industry: CROSSROADS Co-Production Forum,AGORA, script-development BALKAN FUND. Competition for directors with 1st or 2nd films. Golden Alexander Prize 37.000 €

Coverage by Vanessa McMahon, Laurie Gordon


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