Tag Archives: Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival

One of the good Greek docs in Thessaloniki 2014

In times of recession three Greeks try to take their destiny in their own hands.
Could this crisis be our chance to re-invent ourselves and our society?
This is the theme of the feature length documentary "Gr. work in progress" (the title is indeed not so good - but the film is!) by Elena Zervopoulou which made its premier at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in March. Elena Zervopoulou the film director who also did the production is a ethnopsychologist and holds a master in documentary making from the University in Paris.
In her film she succeed to make 3 strong portraits of Greeks who took their destiny in their own hands! This is what she was thinking about her film in December 2012... "The financial crisis strikes Greece and spreads out worldwide. We are loosing our financial security and our living standard, but how much of our values, our humanity and our decency is going down with the rest? Could this be our chance to re-invent ourselves and our society?"

The three protagonists together reflect the current potential for transformation in Greece. Positive change dynamics move from the bottom up. We follow the single individual (Giorgos) who finds the strength to overcome his difficulties and rebuild his life. The film examinee Grigoris’ family as it retightens its bonds and seeks a better quality of life. Finally, the journey takes us to the activist volunteer group behind the “potato movement” (Ilias) as their activities impact the society as a whole by challenging the commercial foods supply chain and practicing solidarity and direct democracy.

Watch the trailer:


The best doc fest!

This is the letter Navina Khadib director of producer wrote after her visit to the Thessaloniki Documentary film festival. navina
Navinas film (first feature film) a wonderful documentary CASA LUZ about an children's home in Peru was part of the official selection.
Here is what she wrote to the festival after returning to Berlin.

Dear Thessaloniki Festival Team,
I can‘t tell you enough, how thankful I am for the invitation to your wonderful festival. I am still overwhelmed by your organization skills, helpfulness, good humor, the city and your passion for film. Your communication and hospitality were amazing, I even would say unique in this field.
I have attended quite a lot of festivals so far and none of them felt as perfect as yours. As I also worked for film festivals, I know how hard it is to organize and to hold a festival. All those tiny and big challenges which you simply can‘t prepare for and have to be flexible and persistent. You did such a great job on this.
In times of political instability it is even more important to overcome those tensions and borders by art and culture. Documentary films let us dive into the worlds of people and makes us empathize with them. I believe in this world empathy is the key and the answer. Your festival is a great contribution to it and it shows what can arise under the impulse of passion.
I really would like you to know that your work is special and important. Keep on this fantastic work. Thank you for everything.
Many regards,
Navina Khatib - Director and Producer / House of Light (Casa Luz)


Is this Greece’s next prime minister?


Hope on the line (Greece, 2013, 73 min.), directed by Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou, follows the leader of the Greek radical-left party Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, during the course of a year, from the campaign for the close-call June 2012 elections to the sudden shutdown of the Greek public broadcasting corporation (ERT) in June 2013. Shedding light on Tsipras' personality, political views and ambitions, the film includes insider's footage from the party, the views of militants and high-ranked members, and witnesses decision-making processes both in Greece and abroad. From the frontline man, Alexis Tsipras, up to the party's Political Bureau, strategy is being built, political lines evolve, another future for the nation is timidly being imagined. Within the political turmoil, Greek citizens seek answers to their fundamental and dramatic questioning. The very status of the country is at stake: its place in Europe, its future and destiny.

What is so fascinating about this story?

The economic crisis in Greece, as well as elsewhere in Southern Europe led public opinion to take an introverted turn and installed a sense of distrust toward traditional politicians. Thus, the center parties, as in most European countries, are struggling to stay in power, while extreme groupings and radical parties are rising in the polls. In Greece, where the crisis worsened dramatically in a very short period of time, and where democracy is expressed directly as a result of the country's electoral system, the fact that Syriza might take power becomes all the more significant. Syriza rose from 4.5% to 27% in less than three months, and became the second-largest party in Greece and the leading opposition party.

Alexis Tsipras has an intriguing personality. An ambiguous and lesser-known figure until recently, he now stands a great chance of becoming the next prime minister of Greece. He is fairly experienced despite his young age. Thus, he was able to change the political scene in the country and win the support of voters who have grown disenchanted with the old parties.

This film shows the transformation of Syriza during the month that preceded the election, also seeking to reveal the actual goings-on within the party in order to provide a better understanding of the way decisions are taken. During the last campaign, we saw the young and charismatic Alexis Tsipras emerge as a true threat to his opponents, even if he was narrowly defeated in the end because of the debate over the euro. He managed to change the way his party is perceived by centre-ground voters and got a spectacular number of votes.

Through this documentary, we focus on Alexis Tsipras' personality during a crucial historical moment. We also try to provide insight into the political views that emerge from discussions behind closed doors, inside the party, how these views evolve and how Tsipras presents these ideas to the public, as well as how he shapes public opinion and becomes a symbol of opposition to the memorandum. Our aim was to sketch the image of a political persona during this difficult political juncture in Greece at which society is trying to regain its bearings.

Read the complete interview with Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou.

Watch the official trailer.

Lets talk about KISMET

Interview with the Director Nina Maria Paschalidou about her documentary KISMETpasxalidou1
What is so fascinating about this story?
When you first watch Turkish Soap operas, or any soap operas, you cannot imagine that they can actually affect women in this way. But there are many levels to a story and one has to be open to see them. Especially when you are filming a documentary, I believe that the secret is to see beyond the obvious elements in a story and dig deeper.

How did you approach casting for your main characters?
We conducted a lot of pre-production and we spent months in Egypt and Turkey, locating our mail characters and also obtaining access to the industry and Turkish actors. We actually found many women whose lives have been affected by watching the series. Especially in Egypt, we met women, who don’ t have Egyptian role models any more, especially after the failure of the Arab Spring, they don’t even have hope in finding role models any more. This is why Turkish women, presenting a modern type of Muslim women, who are fighting for what they want and are getting it appear inspiring. In finding characters we also had a lot of help from our co-producers in the United Arab Emirates, in Bulgaria and Croatia.

What do these women have in common and what makes them different?
What these women have in common is the need for love, respect and happiness. I know it sounds cliché, but these are very common for women around the world. So the struggle for women’ s rights is common, and it spreads from the Arab World to the Balkans to the West. Look at what is happening in Spain right now on the issue of abortions. The fight never ends even in parts of the world we consider to be modern. On the other hand, we must not forget that each country has its unique characteristics. And so do the women in these countries. What divorce means to one woman is not the same to what it means for another. One can see this difference in the film, in the story of Samar, who is inspired by the series Fatmagul and breaks her marriage after 13 years of suppression and violence. It is not the same to divorce in Abu Dhabi, as it is Athens. Traditions are also very different and one has to always consider them when studying or filming women. But it is all these that make women magnificent to film, I find that women characters are complicated, and fascinating at the same time, and very intriguing to follow in a film. Being a woman also helped very much with gaining access to these women’ s lives. There are some things that a woman only tells a woman.

What was the challenge for you telling this story?
The challenge was to be sincere. And this is the challenge in every documentary. Not to fall into your own premonitions, prejudice, and to follow the story where it takes you. And I am insisting on this, because so far in Greece, the only approach to Turkish Soap operas, was negative, and they are considered Turkey’s cultural weapon.

How did you change after finishing this film?
I think I have a better understanding of myself as a woman, and also I have learned to never ignore something that can be considered “cheap” in some people’s dictionary. Even soap operas can be useful in society, and I don’ t believe in those who snob them, because I think that these are the very same people who secretly watch them when no one is around.

What is success for you?
Success is to do what you love the most. Creating documentary films is what I love, but my prime need for this comes from my wish to understand the world. Maybe this is a method to understand myself, as well as humanity. It is a lonely process, sometimes you lose yourself in the lives of others, but it is worth it.

Φεστιβαλιστής ή Καρναβαλιστής;

Το Φεστιβάλ - τι ποιο Φεστιβάλ, μα το 15ο Φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ Θεσσαλονίκης φυσικά - ξεκίνησε την Παρασκευή 15 Μαρτίου 2013 με πολύ ενδιαφέρον πρόγραμμα. Η ταινία έναρξης ήταν το βραβευμένο ντοκιμαντέρ Πρώτη θέση (First Position) της Μπες Κάργκμαν (Bess Kargman) που μας ξεναγεί στον εντυπωσιακό κόσμο του επαγγελματικού μπαλέτου. Την ταινία λήξης την επιλέγει το κοινό και προβάλλεται μετά την τελετή λήξης, το τελευταίο Σάββατο (φέτος 23/3) του φεστιβάλ.
Η «Αθήνα» συνηθίζει να ανεβαίνει στη Θεσσαλονίκη κατά την Τετάρτη – εκεί είναι το φόρτε της ιστορίας.
Μου αρέσει πάρα πολύ η φετινή αφίσα του φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ, με το σαφές της μήνυμα: ένα πρόβατο με καλυμμένα τα μάτια. Την υπογράφει η εταιρεία Freelance (Β. Ανδρεάδης, Ι. Γκιζώτης Ο.Ε.) από την Πυλαία Θεσσαλονίκης – πολύ καλή δουλειά.

Είναι και το Pitching Forum του EDN το Σαββατοκύριακο, Σάββατο και Κυριακή 23 και 24 Μαρτίου το πρωί: 21 ντοκιμαντέρ εν δημιουργία θα παρουσιαστούν εκεί, αναζητώντας χρήματα και συμπαραγωγούς. Επί μια εβδομάδα υπάρχει και το σχετικό training από την ομάδα του EDN (European Documentary Network) που κάνει τους επίδοξους ξεφτέρι, ώστε σε 7 λεπτά, συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του τρέιλερ παρουσίασης του project, να καταφέρουν να κινήσουν το ενδιαφέρον των Commissioning Editors που έρχονται από διάφορα Ευρωπαϊκά τηλεοπτικά κανάλια με σκοπό να επιλέξουν ντοκιμαντέρ για να χρηματοδοτήσουν.
Αν δεν έχετε παρακολουθήσει αυτές τις παρουσιάσεις, γίνονται το Σάββατο και την Κυριακή από τις 10 το πρωί στην αίθουσα Παύλος Ζάννας – μόνο, πηγαίνετε στην αρχή και καθίστε μέχρι το διάλλειμα για μεσημέρι γιατί δεν είναι ευγενικό κάποιος να πολεμάει να πείσει δημόσια για την αξία της δουλειάς του και να ανοιγοκλείνει η πόρτα γιατί διάφοροι περίεργοι περνούσαν και μπήκαν. Αν ασχολείστε με το ντοκιμαντέρ και δεν είστε μέλη του EDN, του μεγαλύτερου Επαγγελματικού Δικτύου Ντοκιμαντέρ στην Ευρώπη, με έδρα την Δανία, συνιστώ να γίνετε. Στη Θεσσαλονίκη μπορείτε να δείτε από κοντά την δουλειά τους – την Παρασκευή το απόγευμα μάλιστα, γίνεται και η βράβευση του EDN, στο ισόγειο του ξενοδοχείου Ηλέκτρα Παλλάς.

Το 15ο ΦΝΘ συνεχίζει και φέτος - από τις 17 έως τις 23 Μαρτίου 2013 - το εξαιρετικά επιτυχημένο πρόγραμμα Κουβεντιάζοντας, ένα φόρουμ επικοινωνίας και συζήτησης που προσφέρει την ευκαιρία σε επαγγελματίες του ντοκιμαντέρ από την Ελλάδα και το εξωτερικό να γνωριστούν προσωπικά, να ανταλλάξουν απόψεις και να μοιραστούν τις εμπειρίες τους. To Κουβεντιάζοντας θα διεξάγεται 16.00–17.30, στην αίθουσα Excelsior, στο ισόγειο του Electra Palace, και οι συζητήσεις θα γίνονται στα αγγλικά.

Μια νέα διοργάνωση του φεστιβάλ είναι φέτος το Docs in Progress, για ντοκιμαντέρ στο στάδιο της παραγωγής από χώρες της Μεσογείου, της κεντρικής και Ανατολικής Ευρώπης. Η διοργάνωση είναι ανοιχτή μόνο για επαγγελματίες, και συμμετέχουν σε αυτή αγοραστές, διανομείς και παραγωγοί. Πιο πολλά θα σας πει η Αγγελική Βέργου που το χειρίζεται (vergou@filmfestival.gr). Φέτος, για πρώτη φορά στο Docs in Progress θα απονεμηθεί βραβείο σε υπηρεσίες post-production αξίας 15.000 ευρώ, από την εταιρεία Authorwave.

Με το κατάλληλο πάσο και η είσοδος στο Doc Market του φεστιβάλ, όπου μπορεί κανείς να δει ντοκιμαντέρ σε υπολογιστές – booth που βρίσκονται στον ημιόροφο του Electra Pallas. Νωρίς το πρωί ή αργά το απόγευμα έχετε περισσότερες πιθανότητες να βρείτε θέση γιατί τα booths προορίζονται κυρίως για αγοραστές και διανομείς που ψάχνουν να βρουν ενδιαφέρουσες ταινίες. Στο Doc Market διατίθενται και δύο πολύ χρήσιμα έντυπα – το Industry Guide, με ονόματα, φωτογραφίες, διευθύνσεις και περιγραφή των επαγγελματιών που θα βρίσκονται στη Θεσσαλονίκη για το φεστιβάλ, καθώς και το Doc Market Guide, με όλες τις ταινίες που βρίσκονται διαθέσιμες στο Market.

Σημαντικές είναι τέλος οι εκδόσεις του φεστιβάλ, που είναι πάντα προσεγμένες. Όπως η δίγλωσση έκδοση με αφορμή το αφιέρωμα στον χιλιανό ντοκιμαντερίστα Πατρίσιο Γκουσμάν (Patricio Guzmán), έναν από τους σημαντικότερους εκπροσώπους του είδους παγκοσμίως, ο οποίος δυστυχώς επειδή έσπασε το πόδι του, δεν θα βρεθεί στη Θεσσαλονίκη για να μοιραστεί τις ταινίες του με το κοινό.

Καινοτομία Αγοράς - Πρακτικός οδηγός για ντοκιμαντερίστες
20-22 Μαρτίου 2013, 17:30-18:00, Electra Palace, Αίθουσα Excelsior
Η Αγορά Ντοκιμαντέρ, στο πλαίσιο του 15ου ΦΝΘ, συνεχίζει για δεύτερη χρονιά την επιτυχημένη σειρά συζητήσεων Market Talks, όπου διακεκριμένοι επαγγελματίες του κινηματογραφικού χώρου θα δώσουν χρηστικές πληροφορίες και πρακτικές συμβουλές στους Έλληνες και ξένους ντοκιμαντερίστες. Στις ημίωρες αυτές συζητήσεις, αγοραστές, παραγωγοί και διανομείς θα αναπτύξουν συγκεκριμένα θέματα, βασισμένοι στην προσωπική τους εμπειρία. Ειδικότερα, στα φετινά Market Talks θα μιλήσουν, μεταξύ άλλων, η υπεύθυνη προγράμματος του καναλιού ARTE, Μadeleine Avramoussis (Σάββατο 22/3/2013), η οποία θα εστιάσει στις δυνατότητες για συμπαραγωγές, η σύμβουλος ευρωπαϊκών χρηματοδοτικών προγραμμάτων, Ελένη Χανδρινού (Τετάρτη 20/3/2013), καθώς και ο Luke Moody, υπεύθυνος επιχορηγήσεων του Britdoc Foundation, ο οποίος θα επικεντρωθεί στις χρηματοδοτήσεις (Πέμπτη 21/3/2013).

Κοιτάξτε επίσης, εκτός από το αναλυτικό πρόγραμμα των ντοκιμαντέρ που πρόκειται να προβληθούν στο Φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ, την κατηγορία Ντοκιμαντέρ για παιδιά, που περιλαμβάνει 16 μικρού μήκους ταινίες, σε ειδικές προβολές που θα πραγματοποιηθούν για σχολεία την Παρασκευή 15/3 και από την Τρίτη 19 ως και την Παρασκευή 22 Μαρτίου 2013, στην αίθουσα Φρίντα Λιάππα (Αποθήκη Δ, Λιμάνι – ώρες: 9:00-11:00, 11:00-13:00), ελεύθερη είσοδος, και τέλος το πρόγραμμα Masterclass (στην αίθουσα Τζων Κασσαβέτης την Πέμπτη 21/3, 17.30-18.30), καθώς και τις παρουσιάσεις που τρέχουν ως παράλληλες εκδηλώσεις του 15ου Φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ της Θεσσαλονίκης.

Be an observer at “Docs in Thessaloniki 2013”

March 20-24, 2013 in Thessaloniki, Greece

Docs in Thessaloniki is an international pitching forum and workshop organized by EDN in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival-Images of the 21st Century.
I have been an observer myself many times at Docs in Thessaloniki.
It's really a great experience and I warmly recommend it!

Docs in Thessaloniki consists of a five-day program, where 21 selected documentary projects will be developed, re-written and pitched.
The first three days are focusing on development.
The participating project teams work on their projects’ structure, style and focus of the content as well as the presentation and pitching techniques.
The 21 projects are divided in 3 or 4 small groups under guidance from international experts and through highly informative seminar sessions. At the end of the workshop each project is re-written and presented to the participating financiers in a 2-page presentation.

During these 5 days before the pitching of the weekend the seminar prepares everybody with a project how to make a better pitch. Many times you see trailers being changed, and the synopsis and pictures of them reshaped so that they reach the financiers. And it makes a difference!
You watch the progress of the treatments during these 5 days and you can literally see the projects develop and get in shape for the pitching following. You hear the feedback from other people, other cultures, and mentalities and its wonderful for the networking, one of the most important things in that business. Here you will develop, pitch your project and network with European colleagues and financiers in a relaxed and constructive atmosphere.

During these 5 days there are also interesting guests' talks about distribution, festivals, the art of pitching and other issues that are important for filmmakers and producers.

It's a hard-core pitching training and it's really worth watching it and participating, especially without a project because then you can really absorb and enjoy the seminar.
You can only win by being an observer.

When participating as an observer you will take part in all sessions on equal terms with the pitching participants. Only exception is not having a concrete project developed and pitched. Observer participation fee is 200 Euro. To apply for an observer seat please send a short motivation for your participation to Hanne Skjødt.

In addition to the five-day pitching-session programme, the participation fee includes all lunches and coffee breaks, dinner on the first evening and a festival pass for the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.