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Thessaloniki Doc Competition Triumphs Regardless of “Violence, Intolerance”

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Thessaloniki Doc Competition Triumphs Regardless of “Violence, Intolerance”

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The Thessaloniki Worldwide Documentary Competition is coming off a profitable — and at instances turbulent — 26th version, wrapping “amidst an explosive ambiance with episodes of violence and intolerance.”

In a post-festival report, TiDF says 66,000 spectators and guests participated within the occasion this 12 months, a rise of 16 % over 2023. The pageant ran from March 7-17 in Greece’s second largest metropolis, nestled in a gulf of the Aegean Sea.

“This 12 months’s TiDF hosted a large number of premieres, thrilling talks and particular occasions, and welcomed the internationally acclaimed artist Dimitris Papaioannou,” the pageant famous in its report. “Furthermore, it bestowed honorary Golden Alexanders to the Academy Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba and the Greek movie director, screenwriter, writer and translator Panayotis Evangelidis.”

TiDF hosted greater than 300 in-person screenings at a number of venues, in addition to showcasing 133 documentaries by the pageant’s on-line platform. The concurrent AGORA movie market performed host to the Thessaloniki Pitching Discussion board and the Docs in Progress sidebar.

Yorgos Krassakopoulos, head of programming for TiDF

Head of Programming Yorgos Krassakopoulos

TiDF

“The pageant has been going from energy to energy lately, so we couldn’t be happier,” TiDF Head of Programming Yorgos Krassakopoulos tells Deadline (he’s additionally head of programming for the separate Thessaloniki Movie Competition, a narrative-oriented occasion that takes place in November). “We had been hesitant after we began if we must sacrifice the standard as a way to get premieres and stuff like that. However the quick reply was no.”

Krassakopoulos provides, “By way of the years now we have made fantastic discoveries by movies that had been blindly submitted to us from people who we’d know from shorts or which have handed by different channels of the pageant like and the AGORA applications… I really feel that our competitors sections are fairly nice.”

'Stray Bodies'

Stray Our bodies

Jungle Movie

As Deadline beforehand reported, Iranian filmmaker Farahnaz Sharifi’s My Stolen Planet received the Golden Alexander – the pageant’s high prize — robotically qualifying the movie for Oscar consideration. Forest, directed by Lidia Duda, claimed the Silver Alexander.

Stray Our bodies received two Particular Mentions after inflicting an uproar on the pageant. Greek filmmaker Elina Psykou directed the movie, “a street film about unvoluntary journeys of ladies crossing EU borders to evade the restrictive legal guidelines of their dwelling nations, the place faith and politics have extra say over their physique than themselves.” Abortion, IVF therapies and assisted suicide are among the many companies being sought by protagonists of the movie.

'Stray Bodies' poster

‘Stray Our bodies’

TiDF

Proper-wing protesters and the Greek Orthodox Church expressed outrage over the documentary. Native authorities referred to as in riot police to go off the potential for violent demonstrations across the movie’s premiere. The Stray Our bodies poster, depicting a pregnant Virgin Mary-like determine nailed to a cross, additionally offended some conservatives. The director instructed Selection, “With the movie, we wish to open a dialogue. And we thought, with the poster, we may open a dialogue. However now, there’s no dialogue. There are solely monologues.”

The Olympion Theatre in Aristotelous Square

The Olympion Cinema in Aristotelous Sq.

Matthew Carey

Thessaloniki and the pageant had been rocked by a separate incident on March 9 when a crowd of about 150-200 youths harassed a nonbinary couple within the metropolis’s Aristotelous Sq., chasing the couple right into a restaurant after hurling bottles at them. TiDF expressed “anger and repugnance” over the incident that came about within the plaza that borders the Olympion Cinema, the pageant’s largest venue. The next night time, Aristotelous Sq. full of maybe a thousand individuals who condemned the Saturday night time assault and expressed assist for the LGBTQ group.

Spiritual and political conservatives in Greece have been roiled by rising acceptance of LGBTQ rights. In February, simply three weeks earlier than the pageant started, Greece authorized similar intercourse marriage, a primary for a majority Orthodox Christian nation. Krassakopoulos, the top of programming, instructed us TiDF’s program mirrored these main developments in Greece.

A sign for the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival

An indication for the Thessaloniki Worldwide Documentary Competition

Matthew Carey

“Certainly one of our fundamental tributes was in queer documentaries,” he observes. “And this type of got here to us from what was taking place in Greece with the regulation that simply handed about same-sex marriage… one thing that was being mentioned in society quite a bit in current months — for a 12 months or so. It was like a sizzling subject round us, and we wished to do one thing about it, and we thought that we must always touch upon that. And that is how the thought of programming and planning a tribute to queer documentary took place.”

He continues, “In a manner, you by no means program otherwise you by no means work in an echo chamber. So, you at all times are influenced by issues which might be taking place round you.”

Moments of unrest however at this 12 months’s TiDF, Krassakopoulos says each festivals in Thessaloniki are identified for his or her convivial ambiance.

The Thessaloniki waterfront

The Thessaloniki waterfront

Matthew Carey

“The sensation that you just get if you find yourself there’s a nice feeling. We actually love what we do and this comes throughout and our greatest, let’s say ‘publicists’ or ‘advertisers’ are the people who have come to Thessaloniki,” he feedback. “I do know it’s going to sound like an enormous cliche, however Greek hospitality, it’s one thing that we don’t [force], however it comes naturally.”

He says the pageant takes specific care to make sure a optimistic expertise for filmmakers. Even Psykou, the director of Stray Our bodies, whose premiere came about within the shadow of protest, referred to as TiDF “the perfect pageant on this planet.”

“Realizing that it’s their first time that their movies will meet with an viewers, it’s one thing that we take actually severely, and we attempt to set a platform that they may have the perfect publicity, but in addition a spot the place they may have an important screening and they’re going to meet an viewers that can be appreciative,” Krassakopoulos explains. “We pleasure ourselves on our Q&As… Persons are actually all in favour of what you’re exhibiting them. They wish to know extra, not like what number of days did that take to shoot, however deeper. And Thessaloniki can also be a really hospitable metropolis, and the meals is superb and that doesn’t damage.”

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