“Smyrna My Beloved,” a tale weaving together tragic refugee stories of the past and present on the island of Lesbos, and “Holy Emy,” portraying the lives of two Filipino sisters living in Athens who are beset by mysterious forces (pictured above), will serve, respectively, as opening and closing night presentations at the 16th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF), set to unspool on May 9-15.

LAGFF returns live this year following a pandemic hiatus in 2021 and 2020. “We’re thrilled to physically welcome back filmgoers and filmmakers,” says artistic and festival director Aristotle Katopodis. “We received over 250 film submissions this year, many reflecting exceptional creativity and diversity. While the pandemic effect was evident in the number of films produced, the perseverance of the filmmakers is astounding.”

The fest will open May 9 with a reception hosted by UCLA’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture at the James Bridges Theater, along with the L.A. premiere of the aforementioned “Smyrna My Beloved,” directed by Gregory Karadinakis.

Theatrical screenings will continue from May 10 to May 15 at LA Live Regal Cinemas, DTLA. On May 11, Power Muse + LAGFF will present a Hollywood Scene and Be Seen Bash. A Filmmakers’ Breakfast will take place May 14 featuring a tribute to the late Olympia Dukakis (“Moonstruck,” “Steel Magnolias”), presented by her brother, Apollo Dukakis.

Director Araceli Lemos’ “Holy Emy” will screen on May 15 – the same evening as the presentation of LAGFF’s signature Orpheus Awards and related festivities at the Pacific Design Center’s Silver Screen Theater in West Hollywood.

In addition to the live program, virtual screenings, webinars and workshops will take place from May 12 to 29.

LAGFF’s Gold Patron Sponsors are AT&T, West Coast Investors, and G.P. Kolovos & Associates. Other support comes from HFPA, Elios Charitable Foundation, and ELMA. Over the past 15 years, LAGFF has screened over 520 films and hosted over 500 filmmakers.