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Los Angeles Greek Film Fest Wraps With Orpheus Awards

Rita Moreno presents trophy to George Chakiris

Now in its 12th year, the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival ended its 12th run on Sunday evening with Orpheus Awards handed out in several categories, plus an honorary Orpheus for Greek-American actor George Chakiris, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor Academy Award in 1961’s “West Side Story.” His costar, Rita Moreno, who scored a best supporting actress Oscar for the same film, presented Chakiris with his trophy.

The ceremony was held at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater, capping a week of screenings, seminars and social events. Stand-up comedian Anthony Steven Kalloniatis, aka ANT, opened the event, and network warm-up host Chuck Dukas served as MC.

Historical drama “Polyxeni,” directed by Dora Masclavanou, a tale of orphan girl from Istanbul unaware of the devious plan others are weaving behind her back, won the Orpheus Award for best fiction feature film. Katia Goulioni (pictured above in a scene from the film) won the Orpheus for best performance for the playing title character.

Thodoris Atheridis took home the best feature direction award for “Perfect Strangers,” in which seven friends at a dinner party play a game that compels them to reveal the content of their mobile phones as calls and text arrive, thus peeling away their secrets and threatening their relationships.

The Orpheus for best documentary went to “Dolphin Man,” by Lefteris Charitos, which tells the story of free-diver Jacques Mayol, whose life inspired Luc Besson’s cult movie “The Big Blue.”

“Golden Dawn Girls,” by Norwegian director, Håvard Bustnes, received an honorable mention for documentary. The disturbing film probes deep into the far-right Greek political party Golden Dawn.

Director Tassos Boulmetis received a special jury award for his “1968,” a documentary enhanced with re-creations that uses a championship basketball game in Athens as a prism though which we view a mashup of the history of modern Greece and the political violence of that year. The film also won the audience award for best documentary.

“Goldfish” by Yorgos Angelopoulos won for best short film.

The theme of this year’s Orpheus Awards was The Academy of Greeks, paying tribute to Greek artists who have received an Academy Award or Oscar Nomination since 1935. In addition to Chakiris, winners include Elia Kazan, Costa-Gavras, Dean Tavoularis, Vangelis, George Miller, Alexander Payne, Olympia Doukakis and Alexandre Desplat.

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