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Martin I. Petrov

Cine-voyeur. Festival traveller currently based in Glasgow, UK. 

Festival director at WoFF: World of Film International Festival Glasgow. 

Festival Coordinator at MIAFF: Montreal International Animation Film Festival 

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Thessaloniki IFF 2015: Open Horizons Programme


The Section Open Horizons of the 56th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which takes place November 6 - 15 November 2015 is for another year a first class selection of films that marked huge success in the film festival circuit and beyond. With titles including the Cannes' most discussed trilogy Arabian Nights, Michel Franco's (After Lucia) second feature Chronic, starring Tim Roth in a magnificent performance, Joachim Trier's (Oslo, August 31st) Louder Than Bombs, the 2016 Open Horizons will keep audiences entertained for the entire duration of the festival, starting in less than a month.

Read Full Press Release and all titles in the Open Horizons' section below:

November 6-15, 2015
The Open Horizons section of the 56th Thessaloniki International Film Festival highlights the most recent trends in worldwide independent production, featuring thematically original and aesthetically challenging films. Running in parallel, the Special Screenings section presents the newest additions in the work of renowned auteurs.
The Open Horizons section includes a variety of films, directed by filmmakers who have already established themselves in the independent film scene, as well as promising newcomers. Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and David Strathairn star in Louder Than Bombs by Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st), who skillfully dissects a dysfunctional American family whose estranged male members reunite after their wife/mother’s death. Another English-language debut, Chronic by Michel Franco provides an in-depth and intense study on mortality and grief, featuring as central character a dedicated nurse, remarkably played by Tim Roth, who works with terminally ill patients. The 25-year odyssey of Eva Peron's embalmed body inspires Pablo Aguero’s Eva Doesn’t Sleep, a three-segment film with experimental hues that moves between dream and reality, featuring Gael Garcia Bernal and Denis Lavant in the main roles. Arabian Nights by Portuguese director Miguel Gomes is an ambitious, bold cinematic work divided in three-parts that ponders over the impact of the financial crisis in Portugal in a truly imaginative cinematic way.
Female characters in crucial moments of their life take centre-stage in many of the section’s films. The charismatic actress Elisabeth Moss portrays a deeply traumatized woman in Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth, a powerful and balanced exploration of the female psyche, sanity and friendship, centered on two women who attempt to find peace of mind in a lake house. Another woman in descent is the protagonist in Trey Edward Shults' psychological thriller Krisha (Grand Jury Award, Audience Award, SXSW Film Festival), a gripping character study that traces the return of the titular heroine to her family, as the black sheep who can’t escape her dark past. Santiago Mitre’s latest film Paulina (Critics Week Grand Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes Film Festival) masterfully uncovers the complex impact of a rape on a woman’s everyday life, personal beliefs and family relationships.
A coming-of-age story that dwells on female nature and the conflict between Mayan traditions and western modernity is highlighted in Jayro Bustamante’s brilliant first feature Ixcanul Volcano (Alfred Bauer Award, Berlin Film Festival). On a lighter tone, Marielle Heller’s daring, frank debut film The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury, Berlin Film Festival) is about a teenage girl who discovers her sexual and emotional identity by having an affair with her mother’s boyfriend, the latter two played by Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, respectively. Three teenagers who face life-changing challenges are the protagonists in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s generous, bittersweet debut Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival). Jason Schwartzman stars in Bob Byington’s 7 Chinese Brothers, a comic character study about a loser who refuses to grow up and never seems to get a break, but only because it seems he doesn’t care to. Based on the well-known novel by Algeria-born Albertine Sarrazin, Brigitte Sy’s black-and-white period piece Astragal, starring Leïla Bekhti and Reda Kateb, follows the author’s adventurous life from her imprisonment, prostitution and gangster days to the great love of her life, Julien. The so-called “black decade” of Algeria’s 90s civil war is explored in Salem Brahimi’s powerful debut Let Them Come, through the story of a family who struggles to overcome fundamentalism and barbarity in a ravaged country. Refugees from the Middle East claim asylum by going on hunger strike in Bénédicte Liénard’s and Mary Jiménez’s Rising Voices (world premiere), a captivating story about human dignity and endurance.
Some of this year’s most anticipated films will be screened as part of the Special Screenings section. In his latest work Francofonia, Aleksandr Sokurov pays a virtuosic homage to the Louvre Museum, through the story of two remarkable men, Louvre director Jacques Jaujard and Nazi Occupation officer Count Franziskus Wolff-Metternich, who cooperated in protecting Louvre’s art collections during World War II. The same period becomes the setting for newcomer’s László Nemes exceptional debut Son of Saul (Grand Prize of the Jury, FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes Film Festival), whose main character, a Jewish prisoner forced to assist the Nazis in exterminating camp inmates, reflects the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust. Based on actual events, Fever at Dawn (world premiere), the new film by acclaimed Hungarian filmmaker Péter Gárdos, unfolds a love story born in the strangest of circumstances between two long-suffering survivors of the Holocaust.

Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi drives a taxi through the busy streets of Tehran and listens to the passengers’ stories, thus illustrating the contemporary Iranian society in his film Taxi Tehran (Golden Berlin Bear, FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin Film Festival). Moving to present-day Romania, Corneliu Porumboiu delves into the past and the present of his homeland, blending humour and social realism with a fairytale touch in The Treasure (Un Certain Regard-A Certain Talent Prize, Cannes Film Festival). Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s allegoric and dreamy Cemetery of Splendour takes place in a memory-filled clinic inhabited by comatose soldiers who suffer from a mysterious sleeping sickness. Family relationships are observed in an elegant, sensitive manner in the female-dominated drama Our Little Sister by Hirokazu Kore-eda, starring three sisters who welcome home their younger half-sibling. Human relationships are also highlighted in Naomi Kawase’s An, a moving portrait of three people whose paths intertwine and reveal universal truths about the meaning of life.
The Currents section returns with a selection of experimental offerings, set in several parts of the world. The raw friendship drama Hopefulls by Ives Rosenfeld focuses on a young, ambitious Brazilian footballer whose hopes for a better future are crushed by a harsh reality. Pietro Marcello’s contemporary fairytale Lost and Beautiful is a poetic journey through Italy that oscillates between dream and reality. Where There Is Shade by Nathan Nicholovitch unfolds the story of a middle-aged crossdresser who discovers fatherhood in the streets of Phnom Penh. Carlos M. Quintela’s The Project of the Century portrays with realism and dark humor three generations of working class Cuban men who live in Electro-Nuclear City, an ambitious, never completed Soviet-Cuban project of the 80s. 55-year-old Sam Klemke, a man who filmed his life for 35 years, is the protagonist in Matthew Bate’s Sam Klemke's Time Machine, a docu-hybrid that ponders over time, memory and what it means to be human.
Important note: please make sure to inform us at your earliest convenience should you want to interview any of the guests mentioned in this press release
(Open Horizons section).
THE FILMS (the full list will be announced at the Festival’s press conference, date TBA):
Open Horizons
VICTORIA, 2015, 140’, Germany, Sebastian Schipper
THE SECOND MOTHER /QUE HORAS ELA VOLTA?, 2015, 111’, Brazil, Anna Muylaert
GOAT/KOZA, 2015, 75’, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ivan Ostrochovský
BODY / CIALO, 2015, 90’, Poland, Malgorzata Szumowska
LA TIERRA ROJA, 2015, 100’, Belgium,  Argentina, Diego Martínez Vignatti
BLUE BLOOD / SANGUE AZUL, 2014, 119’, Brazil, Lírio Ferreira
KRISHA, 2015, 83’, USA, Trey Edward Shults
IN YOUR ARMS / I DINE H ÆNDER, 2014, 88’, Denmark, Germany, Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm
IXCANUL VOLCANO / IXCANUL, 2015, 91’, Guatemala, France, Jayro Bustamante
QUEEN OF EARTH, 2015, 90’, USA, Alex Ross Perry
CHILDREN / DETI, 2014, 100’, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Jaro Vojtek
SONG OF SONGS / PESN PESNEY, 2015, 75’, Ukraine, Eva Neymann
CHRONIC, 2015, 93’, Mexico, France, Michel Franco
PAULINA /LA PATOTA, 2015, 103’, Argentina, Brazil, France, Santiago Mitre
THE HERE AFTER / EFTERSKALV, 2015, 102, Sweden, Poland, France, Magnus von Horn
RISING VOICES /LE CHANT DES HOMMES, 2015, 90’, Belgium, Bénédicte Liénard & Mary Jimenez
LAST CAB TO DARWIN, 2015, 123’, Australia, Jeremy Sims
LAND OF MINE /UNDER SANDET, 2015, 100’, Denmark, Germany, Martin Pieter Zandvliet
STRANGER /ZHAT, 2015, 105’, Kazakhstan, Yermek Tursunov
ASTRAGAL / L'ASTRAGALE, 2015, 96’, France, Brigitte Sy
7 CHINESE BROTHERS, 2015, 76’, USA, Bob Byington
A VERY ORDINARY CITIZEN / YEK SHAHRVAND-E KAMELAN MAAMOULI, 2015, 100’, Iran, Czech Republic, Majid Barzegar
DRIFTERS / TJUVHEDER, 2015, 92’, Sweden, Peter Grönlund
TIKKUN, 2015, 120’, Israel, Avishai Sivan
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, 2015, 105’, USA, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
ONE BREATH /EIN ATEM, 2015, 110’, Germany, Greece, Christian Zübert
LOOKING FOR GRACE, 2015, 100’, Australia, Sue Brooks
LET THEM COME /MAINTENANT ILS PEUVENT VENIR, 2014, 95’, France, Algeria, Salem Brahimi
SABALI /LE COEUR DE MADAME SABALI, 2015,79’, Canada, Ryan McKenna
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, 2014, 102’, USA, Marielle Heller
MADAME COURAGE, 2015, 90’, Algeria, France, Merzak Allouache
LOUDER THAN BOMBS, 2015, 109’, Norway, France, Denmark, Joachim Trier
FRENCH BLOOD / UN FRANÇAIS, 2015, 98’, France, Diastème
SUMMERTIME / LA BELLE SAISON, 2015, 105’, France, Catherine Corsini
ARABIAN NIGHTS / AS MIL E UMA NOITES, 2015, Portugal, France, Germany, Switzerland, Miguel Gomes
NEON BULL /BOI NEON, 2015, 101, Brazil, Uruguay, Netherlands, Gabriel Mascaro
MOUNTAIN / HA'HAR, 2015, 83’, Israel, Denmark, Yaelle Kayam
VERY BIG SHOT / FILM KTEER KBEER, 2015, 107’, Lebanon, Qatar, Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
EVA DOESN'T SLEEP /EVA NO DUERME, 2015, 85’, France, Argentina, Spain, Pablo Aguero
LIGHT YEARS, 2015, 85’, United Kingdom, Esther May Campbell
Special Screenings:
THE TREASURE / COMOARA, 2015, 89’, Romania, France, Corneliu Porumboiu
FRANCOFONIA, 2015, 90’, France, Germany, Netherlands, Aleksandr Sokurov
CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR / RAK TI KHON KAEN, 2015, 122’, Thailand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Malaysia, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
SON OF SAUL / SAUL FIA, 2015, 107’, Hungary, László Nemes
FEVER AT DAWN / HAJNALI LÁZ, 2015, 110’, Hungary, Sweden, Israel, Péter Gárdos
TAXI, 2015, 82’, Iran, Jafar Panahi
IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN /L'OMBRE DES FEMMES, 2015, 73’, France, Switzerland, Philippe Garrel
AN, 2015, 113’, Japan, France, Germany, Naomi Kawase
OUR LITTLE SISTER / UMIMACHI DIARY, 2015, 128’, Japan, Hirokazu Kore-eda
THE PROJECT OF THE CENTURY / LA OBRA DEL SIGLO, 2015, 100’, Argentina, Cuba, Germany, Switzerland, Carlos M. Quintela
HOPEFULS / ASPIRANTES, 2015, 71’, Brazil, Ives Rosenfeld
MIRINDA, WHERE THERE IS SHADE / DE L'OMBRE IL Y A, 2015, 105’, France,Nathan Nicholovitch
LOST AND BEAUTIFUL / BELLA E PERDUTA, 2015, 87’, Italy, Pietro Marcello
SAM KLEMKE'S TIME MACHINE, 2015, 94’, Australia, USA, Matthew Bate

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