“In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director” – Alfred Hitchcock

There is a worldwide debate about documentaries. The genre keeps expanding and new forms emerge. It is indeed difficult to classify documentary films or measure their impact, because they evolve as rapidly as their driving force: reality itself. So, what is documentary today? The answer lies in the films. The 19th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (3-12 March, 2017) invites us to talk about documentaries and watch some of the most powerful offerings of the latest international documentary production that will be screened in this year’s edition.

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best documentary festivals in Europe and it was recently ranked 2nd in London’s Raindance Film Festival top10 documentary film festivals from all over the world list. Its main program focuses on documentaries that explore the social and cultural developments in the world. The festival’s side events host exhibitions, master classes, round-table discussions, publications, concerts and parties.


International Competition: documentaries we won’t easily forget

19th TDF is hosting a new International Competition section with first and second films from all over the world, discovering the filmmakers of tomorrow. The 12 films that are included in the International Competition section are: Deltas, Back to Shores (Charlie Petersmann, Switzerland), Dream Empire (David Borenstein, Denmark), Its Not Yet Dark (Frankie Fenton , Ireland), Machines (Rahul Jain, India-Germany-Finland), Memory Exercises (Paz Encina, Paraguay), Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World (Catherine Bainbridge , Alfonso Maiorana, Canada), Sacred Water (Olivier Jourdain , Belgium), Shingal, Where Are You? (Angelos Rallis, Greece-Austria-Belgium), Stories Our Cinema Did (Not) Tell (Fernanda Pessoa, Brazil), The Extra Mile (Victoria Vellopoulou, Greece), Transitioning: Transgender Children (Roser Oliver i Olivella, Lluis Montserrat i Satorre, Spain), Village Potemkin (Dominikos Ignatiadis, Greece)

Greek auteurs and their gaze on the world around us

Politics, human rights, refugees, as well as personal stories, food and art, are the main topics of this year’s Greece’s rich documentary production:  64 Greek -feature and short- films will be screened during the 19th TDF. 3 of these participate in the International Competition section. 31 are included in the various International Program sections and 30 in the Greek Panorama section.

Food vs. Food

The 9 documentaries of the “Food vs. Food” section focus on the various aspects of food; Food as pure delight but also as means of oppression and exploitation, food as a valuable good in abundance or shortage, but they also concern food production and distribution,  gastronomy and food culture.

A gastronomy contest with inspiration from the great culinary tradition of Thessaloniki will take place on the occasion of the new section. For one month, 20 restaurants in the city will create and propose one course dedicated to the TDF. This course will be included in the restaurants’ menus; the public, as well as a jury committee, will vote for the best course and bestow their awards.

More highlights and tributes

The “Minorities” tribute presents 5 documentaries of recent production that shed light on various aspects of a topic that has always been to the forefront of public discussion.

Documenta 14, the world-renowned modern art exhibition, present a special tribute to the work of the acclaimed Italian avant-garde filmmakers Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi.

19th TDF hosts a special tribute that honors the iconic late British art critic, author and painter John Berger (1926-2017), a highly influential, multifaceted intellectual whose legacy will be cherished. The tribute presents two documentary films:The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe, Christopher Roth and Bartek Dziadosz andJohn Berger: the Art of Looking by Cordelia Dvorák. In addition, anexhibition titled“John Berger – A Radical Humanist” with original artwork by John Berger that will be presented for the first time since his passing, will take place at the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki (Warehouse B1, Thessaloniki Port).

Vitaly Mansky, one of the most distinguished and uncompromised European documentary filmmakers, is honored in the 19th TDF with a special tribute to his work. The Ukraine-born Russian director will attend this year’s edition to present his films and share with the audience his experience in making documentaries that challenge people, politics and society in the modern world.

The Doc Market, an inseparable and invaluable part of the Festival, has become established as a locus where filmmakers from all over the world meet with representatives of TV channels, with a view to promote and sell their films, while European Documentary Network is holding its annual pitching forum.

More Reviews: KathimeriniCineuropaVisit Greece; See also: Press Releases; Screening Schedule; The screening schedule is also available in .pdf format; You Tube Feed