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Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes, Bringing Greek and Balkan Talents

Five films from established and emerging directors to appear in works-in-progress showcase

Five projects by filmmakers from Greece and the Balkans will be unveiled May 14 at Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes, the Cannes Film Market’s pix-in-post industry showcase supported by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Greek Film Center.

The selection includes both emerging talents and established directors, giving a “fresh look” at the region’s filmmakers, according to Yianna Sarri, head of Agora, the Thessaloniki festival’s market.

“Greek cinema is blooming these last years,” she says, with the Cannes showcase offering “the best way to show film professionals from all over the world [the films] that will hit festivals and cinemas next year.”

Acclaimed Greek director Giorgos Panousopoulos returns after a 14-year hiatus with “In This Land Nobody Knew How to Cry,” an off-beat comedy about a French politician, a young economist, an Italian architect-turned-teacher and a Greek widow who meet by chance on the Aegean island of Armenaki, which has the magical ability to change people’s lives. It’s the eighth feature for the veteran cinematographer, director and screenwriter. His 1985 film “Mania” was selected for the Berlinale, while “Love Me Not?” (1989) screened in Venice.

Albania’s Florenc Papas arrives in Cannes with “Open Door,” a road-trip drama about a pregnant woman who returns from Italy to Albania, where she sets off with her sister on a long journey to the village of their strict and traditional father. “Open Door” is Papas’ first feature.

Greek director Marianna Economou will present “Seeds of Columbus,” a documentary about a small farming village in central Greece, whose villagers try to revive its dying fortunes by exporting the tomato seeds that local women have cultivated for 500 years. Economou’s last documentary, “The Longest Run,” about two teenage refugees who meet while awaiting trial in a Greek juvenile prison, traveled to more than a dozen film festivals.

Greece’s Steve Krikris will make his feature debut with “The Waiter,” a neo-noir, existential mystery story about a lonely waiter whose life gets turned upside-down when his neighbor goes missing. A veteran producer, scriptwriter, stage director and actor, Krikris spent seven years bringing his first feature to the big screen.

Finally, Greek director Dimitris Athiridis presents “Where Art Thou?”, a documentary that delves into the efforts of Adam Szymczyk, artistic director of Documenta 14, to organize the prestigious contemporary art exhibition in Athens and Kassel, Germany, in 2017. Examining the artistic, logistic and financial challenges that faced Szymczyk, the film is Athiridis’ third documentary.

“Greek cinema is flourishing with talent in both fiction and documentary films,” says Sarri, “and we are doing our best to promote it worldwide.”

THESSALONIKI GOES TO CANNES, MAY 14

“In This Land Nobody Knew How to Cry,” Giorgos Panousopoulos (Greece)

“Open Door,” Florenc Papas (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia)

“Seeds of Columbus,” Marianna Economou (Greece)

“The Waiter,” Steve Krikris (Greece)

“Where Art Thou?”, Dimitris Athiridis (Greece)

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