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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. 



'Jean Gentil' as Bronze Alexander

Laura Amelia Guzmán and Israel Cárdenas' film Jean Gentil (2010) is the story of a Haitian immigrant living in the Dominican Republic and his daily life as he struggles to survive alone in the world of hard work and increasing solitude. The film uses Cinema Novo/Neo Realism reminiscent style of on location shooting, hand held camera and a barrenness of stripped production as its advantage to give increasing sense of the isolation, poverty and many times hopeless feelings of the main character as he faces the world alone.


At times one may feel restless and impatient while watching this film as it fuses documentary with cinema verite style and sometimes seems to have little in the way of story; however, as it follows the monotonous and wearisome daily life of a poor man alone in search of meaning, God, love, self worth and survival in hostile uncaring world, the lacks of in the filmmaking techniques and obvious storytelling formula, prove in effect the film's great merit for true artistic innovation. Jean Gentil is indeed a moving film that gives all that cinema can do to evoke the feelings of an immigrant's fight in an inhospitable world.


The film won a special jury award at the 51st Thessaloniki Film Festival for Originality and Innovation. They received a bronze Alexander statue, ‘so heavy' the proud filmmaker team announced, ‘we don't know if we will fit it in our suitcase'. The film is a Dominican-Mexican co-production, as Cárdenas is Mexican, while Guzmán is Dominican.


The film was shot in Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince and stars a Haitian actor, Jean Paul Presimé and Dominican actor Yanmarco King Encarnación and is distributed by Gael García Bernal's and Diego Luna's company Canana Films.

Written by, Vanessa McMahon Dec 12, 2010







Special Jury Award for Originality and Innovation - Bronze Alexander
(5.000 euros)

LAURA AMELIA GUZMAN & ISRAEL CARDENAS, Producers Pablo Cruz, Bärbel Mauch, Israel Cardenas, Laura Amelia Guzman, Screenwriters Israel Cardenas, Laura Amelia Guzman, Mexico/Dominican Republic/Germany, 2010


see trailer here:



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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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