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Curtain Fell on Athens Film Fest, Pingpongkingen wins best

September 17 – 28, 2008

All good things must come to an end and the curtain fell on the 14th Athens International Film Festival CONN-X on September 28 after a screening of Mike Lee’s ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’ and an unforgettable party with loads of music, drinking and dancing.

It’s been a great ten days. Over 140 short and feature length films, at least 20 sold out screenings, more than 50,000 viewers, workshops, an animation masterclass by Bill Plympton, open discussions and masterclasses on punk ideology, modern sports and the future of indie cinema, press conferences with the directors and producers of some of this year’s most discussed films and parties with exclusive dj sets and live gigs were just some of the goodies Festival fans got to enjoy during the ten Festival days from September 17 to 28.

The Prize Ceremony and Closing Gala were hosted at the ATTIKON Cinemax Class theatre on Sunday, September 28. This year, thirteen films in the International section and eight music documentaries in the Music and Film section competed for the Golden Athena and the Music and Film Golden Athena awards, courtesy of Zolotas Jewellery.

As always, the winning films in the International section were selected by a European Jury Panel, comprised of nine film school students from all over Europe. The winners of the 14th Athens International Film Festival were:

Golden Athena for Best Film: Pingpongkingen by Jens Jonsson.
An original and witty coming-of-age tale, Pingpongkingen was selected as this year’s best film. The Golden Athena for Best Film, which comes with a €10,000 cash prize, was received by the film’s producer Jan Blomberg on behalf of the director Jens Jonsson.

Best Director Award: Veit Helmer for Absurdistan
An original take on Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, Absurdistan’s idiosyncratic filmmaking and witty script did not fail to impress the Jury Panel and audiences alike. The film’s script was written as part of the Mediterranean Film Institute MFI Script Workshops program. The Award was received by the screenwriter Zaza Buadze.

Best Script Award: Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley
The Best Script Award for this year went to Sita Sings the Blues, a tongue-in-cheek rendition of the classic Ramayana epic by animator Nina Paley. Sadly, the director couldn’t attend the ceremony due to ill health, but kindly sent a letter of thanks.

Audience Award: Rumba by Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel
As always, Festival fans get to vote for their favorite film by completing a special ballot at the end of each screening. The winner for this year was the Belgian film Rumba, a moving, humorous look at the darker side of life, by Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel. Apart form the Audience Award, which comes with a €6000 promotional sponsorship to the distribution company buying the rights to the film for Greece, Rumba also received the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute Award, granted to Festival audience’s favorite European production, which comes with a €2000 cash prize. Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel were there to receive both awards and their appearance on stage was followed by a standing ovation by enthusiastic audiences.

Eight musical documentaries competed for the Music and Film Golden Athena in this year’s Music and Film Competition section. The winner was selected by an international jury panel, comprised of the highly acclaimed Hollywood Reporter film critic Kirk Honeycutt, French musician Kid Loco, musician and Shortbus star Jay Brannan, Swiss director Jacob Berger and Greek musician Konstantinos B.

The winner of the Music and Film Golden Athena was Largo, an original documentary about the legendary Los Angeles music club, by Andrew van Baal and Mark Flanagan. The award, which comes with a €10,000 cash prize was received by director Andrew van Baal, who thanked audiences on behalf of his co-director Mark Flanagan.

The Prize Ceremony was followed by a screening of Mike Lee’s latest film, the stubbornly feel-good Happy-Go-Lucky. We believe that the 14th Athens International Film Festival couldn’t end on a more cheerful note. At this point, we would like to thank all those whose continuous efforts made the Festival possible and, of course, our audiences, whose continuous love and support made it all worthwhile.


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