Despina Mouzaki spotlights Greek films

The selection process: Our basic criterion is — as far as our International Competition Section is concerned — that it be the director’s first or second film. From there, the selection of films is, not for the most part, centered on a thematic axis, but on the freshness of vision, the exploration of the language of cinema by young filmmakers, (and) on the understanding of human existence in its daily confrontation with the social problems that surround it.

Balkan cinema: Thessaloniki has promoted Balkan cinema and filmmakers ever since it became an international film event. It created a special section dedicated exclusively to Balkan cinema, titled Balkan Survey, in 1994 (that) is the oldest section of its kind in the world. … As a discovery festival, Thessaloniki has discovered and supported many filmmakers from the region; this has led to a deep, almost emotional, bonding between the festival and the filmmakers. Not only do we support filmmakers from the region but they support us, too.

The Greek film industry: The festival and the local film industry share a bond that goes back 48 years. The national cinema scene, for the duration of the festival, stays in Thessaloniki and assumes an active, energetic part at the screenings, meetings, talks and deals that take place here. … (In) the last two years, since I was appointed director, a wide range of new development activities, such as Crossroads, Agora and Salonica Studio, and the reinforcement of existing ones such the Balkan Fund (all under the auspices of the Industry Center), have placed Greek filmmakers in the advantageous position of being able to share their recent or in-the-works projects with their local and foreign counterparts, while providing opportunities for funding and/or co-productions.

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