“Pari,” the story of an Iranian mother’s search for her missing son in Athens, directed by Siamak Etemadi, an Iranian who lives in Greece, won the top feature film prize at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, an annual showcase for Greek cinema that wrapped its fifteenth edition on May 30.
“Parontes,” under its English title “Being Present,” a penetrating look at the COVID-19 crisis in Greece (pictured above), directed by Yorgos Avgeropoulos, took home LAGFF’s documentary honor.
The waning pandemic once again prevented LAGFF from holding its traditional red carpet closing night and Orpheus Awards Gala, but it didn’t dampen the international enthusiasm for the virtual event, which reached a global audience via the internet and spotlighted features, shorts, documentaries and – for the first time this year – animation. It also presented a series of webinars as well as live and prerecorded Q&As.
Artistic and Festval Director Aristotle Katapodis expects that LAGFF will have a physical presence next year with a “return to our beloved and iconic Egyptian theater [in Hollywood] and its marvelous courtyard,” but he also wants to retain the virtual component, making some of the films available via streaming to, say, fans of Greek cinema in Denver or Florida or even Redondo Beach who cannot make a daily trek to Hollywood.
Jury members selecting the Orpheus winners included Eugene (Gino) Brancolini, Gérard Dessere, Ruah Edelstein, Marlon Johnson, Andreas Manolikakis, Carla Marcantonio, Adam Montgomery, Mohamed Saïd Ouma, Brenna Sanchez, Aliki Theofilopoulos, Geri Ulrey and Masha Vasilkovsky.
LAGFF sponsors include West Coast Investors, G.P. Kolovos & Associates, Demos and Carol Anagnos and The Aris Anagnos Foundation, Daphne Valentina, ELMA, and Getty.
The complete list of winners:
Best Fiction Feature: “Pari,” directed by Siamak Etemadi
Best Performance: Nikolas Kisker in “Daniel ’16”
Special Jury Award for Best Performance: Melika Foroutan in “Pari”
Best Director: Janis Rafa for “Kala Azar”
Best Documentary: “Being Present,” directed by Yorgos Avgeropoulos
Special Jury Award: “Passage to Europe,” by Dimitra Kouzi
Best Short Film: “Iskioma,” by Kostas Gerampinis
Best Animation: “Parrot Lady,” by Michalis Kalopaidis
Special Jury Award: “Lazy Dragon,” by Fokion Xenos and Joan Zhonga