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LAGFF Shines Spotlight on Women

Female filmmakers and female-driven stories dominate the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

From the opening night film through the Orpheus Awards, which will close the event on June 9, women are front and center at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, taking place this week at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Fest opener “Meltem,” a feature directed by Greek-French helmer Basile Doganis, examines the refugee crisis through the eyes of a young woman played by Daphne Patakia (pictured above). And opening night short “Patision Avenue,” directed by Thanasis Neofotistos, looks at a day in the life of a young mother in Athens.

Another feature screening at the fest, “Pause,” helmed by Cypriot director Tonia Mishiali, explores the margins of femininity as the heroine defies expectations and stereotypes.

“I Am Mackenzie,” an American short by Artemis Anastasiadou, tells the coming-of-age story of a teenage girl growing up in rural Texas. And short “37 Days,” from Nikoleta Leousi, tackles themes of pregnancy and the right to work.

“Her Job,” LAGFF’s closing night film, directed by Nikos Labot, deals with a middle aged woman’s subtle empowerment in the face of crisis and poverty.

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In addition to those associated with the above films, other female creators abound at this year’s event, including Koula Sossiadis Kazista, Evi Karampatsou, Evangelia Kranioti, Maria Lafi, Jacqueline Lentzou, Karina Logothetis, Aliki Theofilopoulos, Ioanna Tsinividi and Oliwia Twardowska.

At the closing festivities on June 9, Greek-American casting director and producer Valorie Massalas will receive an Honorary Orpheus Award. Massalas co-produced and cast “Gods and Monsters,” nominated for three Academy Awards, including Ian McKellan for best actor, Lynn Redgrave for best supporting actress and Bill Condon for best screenplay. For “Chaplin,” Massalas cast Robert Downey Jr. who received an Academy Award nomination. And for NBC’s “Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story,” produced by Barbara Steisand and Glenn Close, Massalas won an Artios Award, the Casting Society of America’s highest honor.

“It seems like a strike of chance that we have so many female creators and films about women this year,” says LAGFF co-founder Ersi Danou. “But it cannot be just chance. I think it is a sign of something greater, of a global movement that has turned attention to women and their issues. It is as if women from all corners of life have stepped into the sunlight for everyone to see.”

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