Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2018 Overview

The 20th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

March 2-11

The notable Greek nonfiction event celebrates its anniversary milestone with approximately 165 new and recent features, in addition to retrospective programming.


The sophomore year of the fest’s International Competition includes: Gürcan Keltek’s METEORS, an artful look at the struggles of Turkey’s Kurdish minority population; Neary Adeline Hay’s ANGKAR, a personal confrontation with Cambodia’s tragic Khmer Rouge years; Evangelia Kranioti’s OBSCURO BARROCO, an exploration of Rio through the experience of a local trans legend; Nicolas Wagnieres’ HOTEL JUGOSLAVIJA, which examines history through the site of a Belgrade landmark; and Jiawei Ning’s AWAKEN, an experimental portrait of a Chinese fishing village.


Among the titles in Kaleidoscope, which offers contemporary stories from around the globe, are: Melissa Elizondo Moreno’s THE SOWER, about a teacher in Chiapas; Yeliz Shukri’sMISSING FETINE, following a woman’s search for her long-lost Muslim Cypriot relative; Menelaos Karamaghiolis’ THE RETURN, about a theatre program in a juvenile prison; Stratis Chatzielenoudas’ BACK TO THE TOP, about a paraplegic’s attempt to climb Mount Olympus; Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt’s THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT, on the controversial role playing between a white man of Nazi descent and his African-American wife; Christos Kapatos’ ANTONIS’ VOICE, a portrait of the filmmaker’s father after he suffers debilitating strokes; and Melody Gilbert’s SILICONE SOUL, a look at people in relationships with lifelike dolls.


Among this year’s thematic sections are new strand Brave New World, focused on science topics, including titles like Rossella Anitori and Darel Di Gregorio’s THE TIME OF THE BEES, a portrait of beekeeping friends, and Rafel Duran Torrent’s CYBORGS AMONG US, profiling individuals who have integrated technology within their bodies; >>Film Forward, which includes Scott Kirschenbaum’s THESE ARE MY HOURS, which follows a midwife as she gives birth, as well as several retrospective titles; and Music, with films like Luis Lanchares Bardají’s SOUNDS OF KIBERA, about a music collective in the slums of Nairobi; and Christine Franz’s BUNCH OF KUNST: A FILM ABOUT SLEAFORD MODS, following an English punk band over two years.


The Human Rights strand includes: Anneta Papathanasiou and Angelos Kovotsos’ EUROPE, THE DREAM, which looks at the aspirations of three teenagers; Lucas Paleocrassas’ CITIZEN XENOS, profiling several people impacted by the migration crisis; Alina Skrzeszewska’s GAME GIRLS, a portrait of homeless women and girls on Skid Row; and Ovidie’s EVERYTHING’S BETTER THAN A HOOKER, which explores bias against sex workers in legal matters. In Memory/History, which explores the collective impact of memory, titles include: Kostas Follas’ A TREE REMEMBERS, about a Czech village destroyed by Nazis; Xenofon Vardaros and Yannis Xydas’ ATHENS RESISTANCE (1941-1944), a reflection by those who served in the Resistance during the Nazi Occupation; and Andreas Hadjipateras’ THE LAST PARTISAN, a portrait of a Greek folk hero and the oldest member of the European Parliament.


Two sections explore our connection with the natural world – Habitat includes films like Alexandros Ikonomidis’ A SEED FOR CHANGE, following the filmmaker as he reconnects with growing food during the economic crisis; Werner Boote’s THE GREEN LIE, an exposé of corporate, unsustainable “green” products; and Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar’s UP DOWN & SIDEWAYS, a musical profile of Indian rice growers; while Food vs Food offers Kieran Kolle’s EXPIRED, which follows Norwegian activists as they spread awareness about food wastefulness; and Marc Pierschel’s THE END OF MEAT, a survey of efforts to embrace a vegetarian/vegan worldview.


Finally, in addition to the various Greek titles included within the event’s many sections, Thessaloniki also highlights national cinema via the Greek Panorama, with world premieres such as: Dimitra Kofti’s CRACKS IN THE WALLS, about the rise and fall of an industrial Bulgarian city; Simos Korexenidis’ TONGUE TWISTERS, an exploration of the titular linguistic stumbling block; Thomas Sideris’ THE NOOSE, about Turkey’s abuse of human rights; and Christos Pitharas’ THIS IS SOPI, a poetic profile of a Greek village during the harvest.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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