Three fiction features and two documentary films were presented to an industry audience at the Cannes Film Market as part of its Thessaloniki Goes to Cannes, the Cannes Film Market’s Works-in-Progress showcase, on May 23.
Described as a movie about obsession, madness and loneliness, “Panellinion” is the debut documentary feature of Spyros Mantzavinos and Kostas Antarachas.
The film is named after a coffee-house for passionate chess players in the heart of Athens, which has become a refuge for those who suffocate in modern life. Giannis, the owner, hates chess, but has a fatherly affection for his regulars. Through footage shot in Super8 and black and white, an eclectic crowd that includes scientists, artists and pensioners tell the story of the place which will soon be a memory of the past as Giannis prepares to retire.
Producer Leonidas Konstantarakos (“Homes,” “X Apartments”) of Athens-based Alaska Films told Variety: “We want to use the Super8 segments to dive deeper into the personalities’ characters. The rest will be in black and white to give that sense of timelessness because the place truly is of another era.”
Konstantarakos is looking for partners to close the film’s funding gap and expects to complete it by fall.
“Lesvia: the Herstory of Eressos”
“Lesvia: the Herstory of Eressos” (working title) marks Greek photographer Tzeli Hadjidimitriou’s debut documentary feature.
Mixing footage she shot over the past decade with archive videos and photographs, it chronicles four decades in the small farming village of Eressos on the island of Lesbos, where lesbian women from around the world have been gathering since the late ’70s.
Describing herself as “a double lesbian, who grew up on Lesbos and is a lesbian by choice,” she told Variety “this is the film I want to leave behind, for the Lesbian community, for women around the world who don’t have a safe place, don’t accept themselves because society doesn’t accept them. It’s my mission.”
“Guest Star” by Vasilis Christofilakis – fiction dramatic-comedy
“Guest Star” is a dramatic comedy by Vasilis Christofilakis (“Too Much Info Clouding over My Head”), who also produces, writes and stars in the film.
It tells the story of Loukianos, the only son of two famous actors who suffers from agoraphobia and lives alone and broke in his tiny apartment, cut off from the world. His life takes a swift turn when he receives an unexpected offer from a major TV network to become the new host of their successful “Late Show.” He has one month to lose weight and fix his social image by pretending to be in a relationship with eccentric pop-singer and influencer Jenna. It’s the start of a healing journey of self-acceptance.
Currently in post-production, “Guest Star” is co-produced by Teta Apostolaki, with funding from the Greek Film Fund, ERT.
The titular “New Continent” is the metaphoric place the women in the main character’s life go after leaving him. The story of a violent alpha male who fails in love, “New Continent” is Pandelis Pagoulatos (“Sweet Dreams”)’s sophomore feature and is described as a dead-end love story in the MeToo era.
“Our main character is the typical alpha male, extremely abusive in the relationships he has with these two girls. In the end, they both dump him. They try to stand on their own feet, live a new life, build a new continent, where they won’t be a part of this toxic relationship,” explains assistant producer Evi Gavrilidou (Bad Crowd).
Produced by Nikos Moustakas’ Athens-based Bad Crowd (“Kerr,” “Sideway”), in co-production with Bandur Films and Arizona Productions and with the support of the Greek Film Centre and National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication, the film will be completed in 2023.
“Octopus Skin” (“La Piel Pulpo”)
Directed by Ana Cristina Barragan Carrion, “Octopus Skin” tells the story of twins Iris and Ariel, who live with their mother and older sister on a rocky island covered with mollusks and birds, in a intimate sibling relationship. One day, Iris decides to go alone to the city for the first time. The quest for an absent father and the separation from her family mark her journey towards recognizing the importance of her love for her brother, her sister and her identity, linked to their island.
A co-production between Ecuador, Greece, Mexico, Germany and France, the film reunites Carrion with producers Konstantina Stavrianou, Rena Vougioukalou (Graal) and Isabella Parra (Caleidoscopio Cine), with whom she made her debut feature “Alba,” which picked up the Lions Film Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2016. Co-producers are Titus Kreyenberg (“Benidorm”) and Santiago Ortiz Monasterio (“Bloopers,” “Building the American Dream”). The film will be completed this year.