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Greek Films Under the Spotlight as Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes

CANNES–Five projects by Greek filmmakers were presented Monday at Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes, the Cannes Film Market’s pix-in-post industry showcase backed by the Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival. The Greek Film Center also supports this initiative.

The third edition shined a spotlight on dynamic new fiction features whose producers are currently in Cannes looking for festival premieres, sales agents and distribution. Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival general director Elise Jalladeau said the presentation built on the success of the first two editions, which launched a number of recent Greek films onto the international festival circuit.

“We continue because it works,” said Jalladeau, pointing to the strong industry turnout Monday afternoon. “It’s very good to promote the films.”

Greek cinema has enjoyed a high profile in recent years, thanks in part to the success of filmmakers like Yorgos Lanthimos, who helped launch the movement known as the Greek Weird Wave. Lanthimos’s latest feature, “The Favorite,” earned a best actress Oscar for Olivia Colman this year.

Yet Jalladeau suggested that Monday’s presentation would show the many voices of the current generation of Greek filmmakers. “We try to give a sample of the best, but also to have different trends of Greek cinema, not only the Weird Wave, but films which are a bit more classic or audience-driven,” she said.

Jalladeau also touted the success of the Thessaloniki fest’s Agora Works in Progress program. Among the projects that participated in last year’s edition were Algerian helmer Mounia Meddour’s feature debut “Papicha,” which played in Un Certain Regard this year, and French writer-director Alain Raoust’s “As Happy As Possible,” which opened Cannes’ ACID sidebar program.

 

The projects presented at Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes were:

CREDIT: Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival

*Christos Nikou’s feature directorial debut, “Apples,” follows a man in his late-30s who lives in a city grappling with an unexplained outbreak of amnesia. Leaving the apartment one morning to run errands, Aris suddenly falls victim to the mysterious malady, too. The dramedy is a Greece-Poland co-production between Boo Productions and Lava Films, with the support of the Greek Film Center, the Polish Film Institute, Greek pubcaster ERT, and Creative Europe Media.

CREDIT: Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival

*“Defunct” is the second fiction feature from director Zacharias Mavroeidis. The dramedy tells the story of a thirty-something bachelor who moves into the house of his late grandfather, a former Greek Army veteran, after falling into financial ruin. In the conservative suburb of Papagou, surrounded by former generals, he tries to begin his life anew. “Defunct” is produced by Faliro House Productions, with the support of the Greek Film Center and ERT.

CREDIT: Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival

*“The Man with the Answers” is director Stelios Kammitsis’ second fiction feature, a road-trip dramedy about a one-time diving champion longing for his lost days of glory. After his grandmother’s sudden death brings a sudden twist to his life, he sets off on a road trip to Germany with an adventurous young German who pushes him to break out of his comfort zone. The Cyprus-Greece-Italy co-production is produced by Felony, Blonde, asterisk* and 9.99 Films, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, the Greek Film Center, the Apulia Film Commission, ERT, Creative Europe Media, and IDM Südtirol.

*Director Costas Athousakis makes his fiction feature debut with “Persephone,” (Pictured) a cine-operata that stages the ancient Greek myth of the abduction of Persephone in a modern setting, before a chorus of Japanese karaoke-based dance and theater performances. The film is produced by Sisyphus Projects with the support of the Greek Film Center and ERT.

CREDIT: Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival

*“Winona” is the fifth feature from Alexandros Voulgaris. In what appears at first glance to be an ordinary outing to a remote beach for four young women, a day full of love, intimacy and grief builds toward a heart-wrenching secret that’s revealed at the very end. The film is produced by Logline in co-production with Steficon.

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