The 23rd Athens International Film Festival Opening Nights is here for twelve nights of cinema premieres, special screenings, events and parties. Opening Nights was founded by the Athens Film Society (a Non-Profit Organisation) with the intention of highlighting lesser-known aspects/genres of independent cinema, introducing audiences to some of the best productions of the year and establishing itself as the opening of the upcoming film season.
This year’s edition will take place from the 20th September to the 1st October at DANAOS 1& 2, ODEON OPERA 1 & 2 and IDEAL cinemas as well as the ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE and the Athens Concert Hall. The programme includes 108 full feature films, 57 short films and 3 competitive sections:
The International Competition section includes 10 films each of which constitute the filmmaker’s first or second directorial effort, and all of which will be competing for the Golden Athena Award.
The Music & Film Competition section contains 8 music documentaries which shed light on the lives and careers of notable artists and examine various music genres and trends that defined global music culture. The winner is awarded the Golden Athena Best Music & Film Award by an international jury made up of noteworthy representatives of the field. This section runs parallel to the Music & Films – Out of Competition section.
The Greek Short Stories competition will host 44 short films, chosen out of almost 200, to compete for the 6 prizes in the section.
In keeping with the tradition of recent years, the Athens International Film Festival will be organizing the Best Newcomers Award Ceremony for Greek filmmakers and actors, which will take place on Monday 25th September at DANAOS 1.
In the context of its collaboration with Animasyros International Animation Festival + Agora, Opening Nights festival has organised a special screening of the animated film My entire highschool sinking into the sea, an adult animated allegory about American modern-day society, with the voices of Susan Sarandon and Jason Schwartzman, as well as a screening of a multidimensional artistic event titled BLU to take place at the Onassis Cultural Centre. ETHNOFEST.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the renowned anthropologist and major representative of ethnographic film, Jean Rouch, Ethnofest and the Athens International Film Festival will present the film “Hunting the Lion with Bow and Arrow”, 50 years after its first screening, now to be presented in a digitally remastered version. The film will be introduced by anthropologist Konstantinos Aivaliotis.
“Nothing About Us Without Us”, Cinema and Disability
For the second time since the beginning of the Festival, the 23rd Athens International Film Festival will be including a special section titled “Nothing About Us Without Us”, Cinema and Disability in collaboration with the Movement of Artists with Disabilities to take place at the Onassis Cultural Centre from 21st to 24th September. All screenings will be accessible and entry will be free of charge. Four classic films about disability with Freaks (1932) by Tod Browning among them, as well as four films never before screened in Greece. The screenings will be followed by open discussions with concurrent interpretation in the Greek Sign Language and Lip Reading.
“The Geography of Lust” – a Claire Denis Retrospective
The Festival audience will have to opportunity to familiarize itself with the work of French filmmaker Claire Denis. The retrospective will feature 12 of the director’s films including her most recent film titled “Let the Sun Shine In” with Juliette Binoche, which will be screened 29th September and attended by actress Sandrine Dumas.
“Beautiful Losers: The anti-hero films of John Huston” Tribute
The tribute will include 11 films by the great American filmmaker in digitally remastered versions and 35 mm presentation.
Screening of Vanessa Redgrave’s Sea Sorrow, attended by the director herself.
The proceeds from this screening will be given to the humanitarian organisations “Doctors Without Borders” and “Safe Passage”.
The Festival’s opening film is Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes, considered a favourite in the upcoming Academy Awards. The premiere of the film will take place Wednesday 21st September at the Athens Concert Hall.
Aki Kaurismäki’s The other side of hope, winner of the Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Festival, will be the closing film of the Festival, preceded by the short film 8th Continent by Georgios Zois in attendance of the cast and crew.
Other festival sections include Stranger than fiction Documentary and After Hours, featuring a series of suspenseful, late night screenings among which horror film IT, directed by Andrés Muschietti, based on Stephen King’s novel.
Loveless, (2017), Andrey Zvyagintsev
This section is made up of both undiscovered films as well as international productions, which have earned awards at major festivals and have garnered the attention of filmgoers around the world including You were never really here by Lynne Ramsay, who will attend the screening, Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Happy end by Michael Haneke, Mother! by Darren Aronofsky and Call me by your name, by James Ivory.