Change gives new director extra time to prep event

LONDON — The Thessaloniki Film Festival has pushed back its dates by two weeks, to Dec. 3-11, to give new director Dimitris Eipides extra preparation time.

Eipides, who has long worked with the fest — introducing the New Horizons section in 1993 and in 1999 founding the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival — was appointed by Greek minister of culture Pavlos Geroulanos. He replaces Despina Mouzaki.

Exec is well known on the international fest circuit. He has been the senior international programmer for the Toronto Film Festival since 1988 and program director of the Reykjavik Film Festival for 15 years.

Fest’s date shift has been made with the approval of international fest body FIAPF.

Eipides takes over at a critical moment, with Greece the focus of international financial concerns following the European Union and Intl. Monetary Fund’s $975 billion loan guarantee deal to bail out the country’s ailing economy.

Core fest favorites, including the international competition section, Independence Days and the Balkan Survey sections will be retained, fest organizers said on Monday, along with industry initiatives including the Balkan Fund and the Crossroads co-production event.

Born in Athens, Eipides studied English literature and theater at San Francisco U. and stage direction at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and the London School of Film.

In 1971, he and Claude Chamberlain founded the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema, of which he was director for 14 years.

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