The Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Greek cinema are so closely linked, that the rhetoric surrounding them has always flourished. At the same time, their relationship has been tried in many ways, has known trends and different eras, and continues, constantly and fortunately, to evolve. Of course, the fact remains that (at the risk of sounding clichéd): there is no better place for the promotion of Greek cinema than the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
It is based on this rationale that we chart our course, our strategy and our decisions; that we determine our future. However, this thought leads us to a second and equally justifiable question: if the Festival is the best place for the promotion of Greek cinema, then what should be its salient feature? The answer lies in its usefulness. As Despina Mouzaki has very rightly said: “The Greek segment must, above all, be useful. Useful to its creators, useful to the public, useful to the film industry that chooses the Festival as its professional tool.” So then, useful…
“Useful” means that we place Greek cinema, i.e., the directors and their films, at the center, and the Greek Films of 2008 that are being screened in the segment by the same name are strongly representative of Greece’s annual production. It means that we honor its timelessness in a deserving way, while at the same time giving impetus to its younger generation – the retrospective of Manos Zakharias’ oeuvre and the new segment entitled Greece: Generation Next span most eloquently the distance between yesterday and today. It means that we try to locate the alternative expression that is often moving outside the center of Greek Cinema, and DigitalWave08 comes along once again, bringing to the fore films that would not easily have access to an audience such as that of Thessaloniki.
But for us, the meaning of usefulness does not end here. It means more. It means that we hone even further the mechanisms at our disposal for the better promotion of films, while at the same time making them easily understood and accessible to all film professionals. It means that terms such as Industry Center, Crossroads, Balkan Fund, and Agora are transformed into valuable tools in the hands of filmmakers and producers. It means, in conclusion, that we care about and for Greek films after the Festival is over; after all, what is a film festival – any film festival – if not a springboard from which a film starts out?
The foundations of this springboard were firmly laidmany years ago.We have maintained it and, at this moment, we are trying to add an extension to the edifice standing upon it. Already, new initiatives for the promotion of Greek cinema abroad are being planned and will be implemented during the Festival’s 49th edition, in conjunction with the Festival departments and the help of institutional organizations and representatives of the film industry. It is my hope, therefore, that the Greek segment of the 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival will be one thing above all else for Greek cinema: useful.
Head of Greek Program