×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Amerika Square’ and ‘Son of Sofia’ Bookend Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

Director Alexander Payne to receive Orpheus Award at event’s 11th edition, which runs June 7-11 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood

The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival will open with the West Coast premiere of “Amerika Square” (pictured above), Yannis Sakaridis’ tragic story set in modern Greece as the country copes with dual crises of financial collapse and overwhelming immigration.

The fest takes place June 7-11 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. It will showcase 13 features, 22 shorts, and 15 documentaries from the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Cyprus and Greece. This year’s program includes a record 40 premieres: 19 U.S., 10 West Coast, seven Los Angeles – and four world premieres.

“We carefully selected a program that embodies the 2017 festival theme, Building Bridges,” says LAGFF head Aris Katopodis. “Each title represents creating a bridge – whether it is between relationships, races or countries, and the problems and triumphs encountered in reaching the goal.”

Amerika Square,” which won the Fipresci award at the 2016 Thessaloniki Film Festival, centers on an ensemble of characters: Nakos, a racist bent on harming the thousands of refugees in his Athens neighborhood, the film’s titular Amerika Square; Tarek, a Syrian ex-military doctor looking to smuggle himself and his daughter out of Greece; and Billy, a tattoo artist at the film’s center who falls in love with Tereza, an African singer also looking to escape. As time runs out, the three stories merge.

The festival close on Sunday evening will feature the West Coast premiere of Elina Psykou’s drama “Son of Sofia,” which took the best picture prize in the international narrative feature category at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Popular on Variety

Psykou’s film is a dark fairy tale featuring 11-year-old Misha, a young Russian boy who, brought to live in Athens by his mother, is surprised to learn she has remarried. Misha’s imagination soon takes over to protect him from his new life.

The fest will also screen Nikos Koundouros’ “The Ogre Of Athens,” voted number-one film of all time by the Hellenic Film Critics’ Association. It marks a departure role for comic actor Dinos Iliopoulos, who plays a timid man embroiled in a life-and-death situation. The screening is LAGFF’s homage to the director and his works following his passing in February at age 90.

Other film include: Petros Charalambous’ “Boy On The Bridge,” a drama based on a novel by Eve Makis; Michele Poulos’ documentary “A Late Style Of Fire: Larry Levis, American Poet”; Babis Tsokas’ documentary “Our Own Maria Callas”; and the L.A. premiere of writer-director Clio Fanouraki’s first feature, “Xamou.”

In addition, fest-goers will be able to see “Swing Away,” starring John O’Hurley and Shannon Elizabeth, and Sofia Exarchou’s new feature “Park,” set in Athens’ Olympic Village ten years after the Games, where wilding youths, injured retired athletes and stray dogs roam among the ruins and decaying sports venues.

Shorts at LAGFF include Daphne Matziaraki’s Academy Award-nominated “4.1 Miles,” Giannis Ziogkase’s “Ethnophbia,” the west coast premiere of Phedon Papamichael’s dramatic short “A Beautiful Day,”co- written by Angeliki Giannakopoulos and Casey Cannon who also produce, starring James Brolin and Francis Fisher, which will screen with the U.S. premiere of Sotiris Tsafoulias’ feature crime thriller “The Other Me.”

Documentary screenings include the premiere of “Frozen Ambrosia,” from sports filmmaker Constantine Papanicolaou, about his skiing adventure on Greece’s Mount Olympus; and the premiere of George Lagdaris’ “With the Hoes and the Terrarium Forks.”

At the festival close the Orpheus Awards will honor the best of LAGFF’s feature, short and documentary films as voted by the 2017 Jury, with one film receiving the Orpheus Audience Award honor.

The festival selects one filmmaker or actor for exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry. This year, the honoree is Oscar-winning writer/producer/director Alexander Payne (“The Descendants,” “Nebraska”), who will receive the Orpheus for his contributions to worldwide entertainment and the preservation of film itself.

More Film

  • After Class

    Film Review: ‘After Class’

    Arguably the best thing about “After Class,” a purposely untidy and exceptionally intelligent dramedy about frayed family ties and academic contretemps, is writer-director Daniel Schechter’s refusal to ever let his protagonist off too easy. To be sure, lead player Justin Long’s graceless-under-pressure Josh Cohn comes across as more clueless than unsympathetic, less chronically selfish than [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    Aubrey Plaza Returning as Indie Spirit Awards Host

    Aubrey Plaza will return to the white tent on Santa Monica beach to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards for the second consecutive year. Now in its 35th year, the ceremony honoring the year’s best independent cinema will be held on Feb. 8. The 2020 celebration will broadcast live on IFC. “Like all great independent [...]

  • New Republic Pictures

    'Suspiria' Producer Bradley J. Fischer Joins New Republic as President

    Bradley J. Fischer, whose credits include “Zodiac,” “Black Sawn” and “Suspiria,” is joining Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures as president and chief content officer. Fischer has signed a multi-year pact with Paramount-based New Republic. Fischer and Oliver will produce all New Republic projects, including film, television and streaming. Fischer will continue to produce his pre-existing projects, [...]

  • Alfre Woodard

    Alfre Woodard Reflects on Her First Oscar Nomination and Her Career So Far

    When Alfre Woodard was 22, she drove from Boston to Los Angeles, only stopping in her Tulsa, Okla., hometown. The four-time Emmy winner, now 67, has been acting ever since. Woodard’s career began in theater, despite her inability to sing or dance, with help from late choreographer Lester Wilson. An early play, “So Nice, They [...]

  • Julia Fox Uncut Gems

    Saoirse Ronan, Julia Fox and More Actors Discuss the Women Who Inspired Them

    In her first film role, Julia Fox blazes into “Uncut Gems” as Julia, the ambitious but loyal mistress of Adam Sandler’s jeweler. It’s a complex character the audience can’t always read. To play Julia, Fox says she had a couple inspirations. “My younger self, for sure,” she admits. “Looking at myself retrospectively, how I survived, [...]

  • Disney's MULAN..Mulan (Yifei Liu)..Photo: Film Frame..©

    Mulan Goes to War in Disney's Action-Packed Trailer

    Hua Mulan readies to put her life on the line for her community and family in a new trailer for Disney’s live-action “Mulan.” Based on Disney’s 1998 animated classic, “Mulan” tells the story of a woman (portrayed by Yifei Liu) who poses as a man to fight in the Chinese army. The footage, dropped Thursday, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content