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Thessaloniki Docu Fest : One second of silence, by Sotiris Danezis

Having traveled to more than 55 countries with the War Zone crew, Sotiris Danezis has shot a considerable number of still photographs during and in-between productions of the War Zone episodes.

They say that silence is the loudest cry; that through silence one can say more than one can with words; that only through silence can one stop describing and start experiencing. Sotiris Danezis' exhibition of photographs entitled"One Second of Silence", at the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, urges us - even if we feel powerless to stop a war - to at least stop being silent when faced with human atrocity and barbarism.

Twenty-five frames (the equivalent of a one-second-long PAL television signal), in which he has captured an instant, a fragment of life, in a world that is trapped in the vortex of war, excluded from the front pages of the news, condemned by the silence of the international community.

With his camera as narrator, and his gaze aimed squarely at the victims and the culprits, Sotiris Danezis transports us to 12 countries: from insular North Korea, the military regime in Burma and the front line of battle in Afghanistan, to post-war Congo, the fortresses of the Maoist rebels in Nepal, and the cocaine jungle in Colombia.

The lens focuses on Ernesto Chavez Garcia, one of the 5.000 underage" bandilleros" in the prisons of El Salvador. "We are asking society to help us, to give us a job. We are human beings, we're not the worst that people think of us," he whispers and makes the sign of his gang with his fingers.

Twilight in the town of Altar, the last major stop-off for illegal migrants crossing into the US from Mexico. A memorial cross reminds us that for 903 people the road to the American dreamwas one of no return.

In an old Belgian goldmine in eastern Congo, men, women, and even young children are digging in the dangerous, dark tunnels, in search of specks of gold in order to provide for their families. Their faces and hands are stained with the color ofmud.

In New York, members of "Iraq Veterans Against the War", dressed in camouflage and patrolling Central Park, "come under sniper fire" on 5th Avenue and arrest suspects in Times Square, scaring passersby.

At the same time, in Afghanistan, a platoon of US soldiers is ambushed by the Taliban. This is followed by house-to-house combat. A little later, it's all over. As a soldier of the Afghan army tries to see the face of a slain Taliban, Sergeant Major Aaron Dewitt lights a cigarette. he shot the enemy from a distance of 300 meters.

Every photograph in Sotiris Danezis' exhibition is a little story, a story that turns our silence, ignorance and indifference into a synonym for crime.

March 7-16, 2008


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About Thessaloniki

Mcmahon Vanessa

Vanessa McMahon Covered the 13th and 14th, and 16th edition.
Catherine Esway has covered the 12th edition of Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Cécile Rittweger covered the  11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Christine Marik's reported from 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Past coverage from the 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival by Bruno Chatelin.

Through its tributes, it focuses both on discovering filmmakers with a unique cinematic point of view, and on the internationally recognized for their contribution to documentary.

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