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Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Dailies from the Thessaloniki international Film Festival

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival was concluded with great success, receiving the audience’s love in every possible way. More than 80,000 viewers and movie industry professionals watched the films and attended the Festival’s online events, whereas a large number films of were sold out. Agora, the Festival’s development branch, also achieved a great attendance, offering support to Greek cinema through a series of new initiatives, actions, and awards.

The 61st Festival hosted a series of exhibitions and visual art events, within the framework of TIFF’s main concept, “Intimacy: a modern tyranny”. Works of art, video mapping, as well as The Glasshouse Project installation adorned the city streets and squares, as well as the Port of Thessaloniki, offering glimpses of joy and hope to the city’s residents, who had the chance to enjoy a touch of art during their scarce walks for exercise, groceries and the covering of basic needs, amidst these hard days we’re experiencing. The goal is for these exhibitions to remain in the city’s public space even after the Festival. 




















53rd TIFF: Opening Ceremony (11/3/2012)


The curtain rose on the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival on Friday, November 2, 2012 with a simple ceremony. The opening ceremony took place at the packed Olympion Theater, with the jazz and swing rhythms of the band Milky Lady & the Cookies and the lindy hop Jitterbugs dancers.

Dimitri Eipides, director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival noted in his welcoming speech: “ The festival is completing its 53rd year, and I believe that this year will be its best, in spite of the difficulties we are facing. I personally feel very proud that 65% of the budget of this year’s edition comes from European funds and doesn’t burden the national budget. I feel deeply satisfied that we have a total of 150 films from 48 countries and 4 tributes to beloved independent cinema directors, Aki Kaurismaki, Bahman Ghobadi, Andreas Dresen and Cristian Mungiu. I would also like to include our tribute to the memory of the great Greek director Theo Angelopoulos”.

Then, Mr. Eipides spoke about Costa Gavras, who was present at the Opening Ceremony. “At this point I would like to welcome our own internationally renowned director Costa Gavras, and to thank him for trusting the Greek premiere of his latest film Le Capital to the Festival”. The TIFF director added: “Tonight I would like to announce that we will have the pleasure of inaugurating the Thessaloniki Cinematheque tomorrow, an initiative which seeks to strengthen the cinematic education of the city. It is a dream we have been pursuing for a long time, and I am happy that it is happening during the celebration of the centenary of Thessaloniki’s liberation. It is a life’s work, and I hope that it will belong to eternity”. Mr. Eipides thanked the European Regional Development Fund, the IMA of Central Macedonia 2007-2013, the MEDIA European Programme, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, ERT and: “all our sponsors who, in difficult times, continue to support us”. He added: “The Festival is a collective effort and the result of hard work and very capable colleagues. I wish to publicly express a very big thank you to all of these people”.

Then Mr. Eipides called Mr. Yiannis Boutaris to the stand, the Thessaloniki Mayor and President of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival Board of Directors. He announced the commencement of the 53rd TIFF by saying: “Both I and the municipality of Thessaloniki support the Film Festival in all ways, and we will continue to do so. This is why I accepted to take on the position of president, so that we can show the extent of our support. We recognize the contribution it has made to promoting the city and shaping its contemporary image”. He noted that culture is the most important capital that both the city and the country have: “Aside from the culture we have inherited from our ancient forefathers, there is also contemporary culture. New directors need a place to express themselves and our support, and we need their voice and their viewpoint. The Festival provides this to directors, it produces culture, strengthens and promotes the other face of Greece which makes us proud, that of a dynamic, modern Greece which persists and creates”. Mr. Boutaris also noted that the Festival has had an important history and has matured, adding that “the conditions needed to redesign its future and demand financial autonomy and unification of its functions have also matured. It is able to manage and plan its actions, limit its dependence on state financing and build on the momentum it has gained over the years, to become a part of the city which is completely intertwined with its functioning. In short, to make full use of the results of the efforts of all those who have dedicated their souls to it”.

Mr. Boutaris added: “During these ten days, Thessaloniki is transformed. Tributes, parallel events, concerts, discussions, the Cinematheque, training programmes, meetings and collaborations in the Market section… Important directors, new trends and pioneering voices meet in Thessaloniki. The city must make it its aim to have an independent Film Festival, a piece of and a tool of the city”. In closing, Mr. Boutaris thanked Mr. Eipides, the members of the Board of Directors, all of the contributors, the Ministry of Culture for its financial support, as well as the directors who are participating in the 53rd TIFF with their films.

In his written message, Costas Tzavaras, deputy minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, who could not attend due to other obligations, noted: “In spite of the fact that the Festival has established itself in the international film arena for years, it does not rest but continues to open roads to film creation. Steadily focused on quality, renewed in terms of programme and events and open to independent voices, it gives directors a venue in which to promote their work and creates the conditions necessary for a fertile creativity. In a difficult time for Greece, the Festival shows us a good way to overcome the crisis, which is the indefatigable desire for creativity. A creativity which inspires, moves and feeds thought and action. At the same time it shows us how even in difficult times, with continuous cut-backs and limited budgets, the support of artistic works by state agencies can continue with unlimited interest. In spite of the limited available funds in the field of cinema, the Festival retains its glamour and brilliance to the maximum. Because art doesn’t speak using financial values, but aesthetic ones. It is not a matter of economy and numbers, but mainly a matter of inspiration, daring and direction. I wish the Festival great success, and hope that its collaborators continue their creative work, opening new paths to film expression and creating a strong cultural capital”.

Then followed the screening of the film Holy Motors by French director Leos Carax, a film homage to the human soul and the freedom of cinema, riveting and independent, featuring great performances by the chameleon Denis Lavant, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue and Michel Piccoli.


The Open Horizons section, the tributes to Theo Angelopoulos, Aki Kaurismaki, Bahman Ghobadi, Cristian Mungiu and Andreas Dresen, the Greek programme in its entirety, the Cinematheque events as well as the Market of the 53rd Festival are financed by the European Union – European Regional Development Fund, part of Central Macedonia IMA 2007 – 2012.




TIFF Director: Dimitri Eipides


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About Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Industry: CROSSROADS Co-Production Forum,AGORA, script-development BALKAN FUND. Competition for directors with 1st or 2nd films. Golden Alexander Prize 37.000 €

Coverage by Vanessa McMahon, Laurie Gordon



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