The 55th edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival is dedicated to Greek cinema and its people. After 100 years of a rich, diverse and continuous cinematic production, Greek cinema has many reasons to celebrate: in recent years, the steady course which Greek films have been following, garnering acclaim in the competitive international film festival circuit, despite all difficulties; the increasingly strong bond of trust which is being forged between contemporary Greek films and Greek and foreign audiences; and the disarming way in which talented young Greek filmmakers persist in forging on and making new films filled with truth – these are some of these reasons.
At the same time, our precious cinematic heritage, the films of the past, never cease to stand as an inspiration and point of reference for Greek filmmakers, while at the same time providing endless entertainment to viewers throughout the years.
This year, for the first time, the task of selecting the program was given to the public. It is the public, after all, which is the starting point and the final recipient of each film. It is the public which supports, questions, promotes, interprets and eagerly anticipates new Greek cinema. From a list of 200 films (from 1914 to 2014), which left their mark on the course of Greek cinema, viewers were asked to vote, on the Festival’s website, for the film that they loved best and wished to see again on the big screen. The final results were not without surprises, among many old time favorites. The most vital part of the Festival, i.e., its audience, actively participated in this process, underscoring its dynamic relationship with Greek cinema, a relationship which has had its ups and downs but which always remains interactive and constructive.
Of course, present-day cinema could not be absent from such a grand celebration. For this reason, contemporary Greek films will be shown in a special segment of the tribute, with an aim to showcase in the best and most comprehensive way possible, this year’s crop to Greek and foreign filmgoers.
Screening in parallel to Greek Films 2014 will be a selection of new films premiering at Thessaloniki as they set out on their auspicious cinematic journey. This year’s program has a decidedly youthful slant, with an emphasis on works by young filmmakers, flanked by established directors with a weighty presence and a distinctive mark both in Greek cinema and the Festival.
Finally, the 55thTIFF’s Agora places a clear emphasis on Greek productions, focusing more so than in other years on promoting Greek screenplay projects and works in progress.
A constant and urgent priority for theThessaloniki International FilmFestival is to keep consistently and effectively developing its structures so that, besides showcasing Greece’s rich cinematic heritage, it also contributes fundamentally to the promotion of contemporary Greek films on an international level. The 100th anniversary of Greek cinema is not only an occasion to remember and honor, but also a chance formeaningful interaction and dialogue in the field of cinema, an opportunity for introspection, which will function as a starting point for new ideas and exciting cinematic journeys.
Greek Program Coordinator