The annual celebration of Short films, which offer a glimpse of promising features to come by new directors and are proud platforms of successful works as is the case with Vassilis Kekatos who was the first short film director to win both the Short Film Palme d’ Or and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival, is here again: The 42nd edition of the national short film Festival, the Short Film Festival in Drama, will take place 15-21 September, 2019, at the “Olympia” cinema hall and the Municipal Auditorium, with Andonis Papadopoulos as its artistic director. A total of 199 films from 64 countries will be screened at the Festival, which dozens of young filmmakers choose every year for the nationwide premiere of their films, while hundreds of visitors, mostly young people, fill the Festival venues.
“The Weight of Sea”, (2019), dir. Kostis Alevizos
THE GREEK COMPETITION SECTION
Of the 240 Greek films submitted this year (a new record for the festival), 60 films will claim the 42nd edition awards. Of these, 6 are documentaries, 3 are animation and 10 are films by students. Twenty two directors, about a third of the total, are women, while there is also a significant number Diaspora Greeks (16). Many newcomers and old friends of the festival who have been awarded in the past will also be taking part. Vasilis Kekatos will also be there, making his Greek premiere in Drama, with his awarded in Cannes film “The Distance between Us and the Sky”.
This year’s Greek competition section will feature a total of 21 films by Greek film-makers who have shot their films in foreign languages: 14 of them in English, 2 in French, 2 in German, while there also films in Italian, Arabic and Kurdish.This year’s nominated films, lasting from 4-29 minutes, are in their majority independent productions, while some have been funded by the Greek Film Centre, ERT, Cosmote and Onassis Culture.
The refugee crisis, war and their consequences on children, poverty, unemployment and the collapse of young people’s dreams in contemporary Greece form the subject matter of many of the films. Moreover, issues dealing with loss, helplessness and old age, family ties, teenage sexual awakenings, queer and straight love stories, all add to the landscape of this year’s competing films. Other films are based on events from the civil war, or tell stories relating to criminality, drugs and cyber porn in modern day Athens.
The members of the Greek Competition Jury are Film critic Dimitris Haritos (President), Director Maria Lafi, Animation Director and 3D animation assistant professor Spyros Siakas, Director and artistic director of Olympia Film Festival Dimitris Spyrou, and Cinematographer Yannis Fotou. Film historian Gianna Athanasatou will be Grand Temoin (commentator) of the Greek programme.
“Violent Equation” (2019), dir. Antonis Doussias
THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
The festival, which marks its 25th anniversary this year, will feature 67 films from 60 countries around the world, from the Ivory Coast, South Africa and Andorra to Qatar, Vietnam, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.
The following Greek films were selected to participate in the International Competition:
“The Distance between Us and the Sky”, directed by Vassilis Kekatos, “Cloud”, dir. Michalis Dimitriou, “Postcards from the End of the World”, dir. Konstantinos Antonopoulos, and “Confession” directed by Andreas Sieitanis from Cyprus)
The International Competition Jury is presided by Ovidiu Georgescu, director, professor of film directing and Dean at the UNATC University of Rumania. Members of the Jury are Jacques Kermabon, film critic and editor in chief of Bref magazine, France, Nikolas Khabbaz, film director and head of audiovisual studies dept of the Notre Dame Univeristy of Beirut in Lebanon, Diomidis Nikitas, director, producer and Cyprus representative at Eurimages. University Professor, film critic and historian Manuela Cernat will be Grand temoin of the international Competition Programme.
“The Distance between Us and the Sky” (2019), dir. Vassilis Kekatos
DRAMA PITCHING LAB
The Drama Festival continues to support the production of short films and educate new directors. As part of its educational platform DRAMA MINI TALENT LAB, it will once again hold a workshop for the presentation of short audiovisual projects to producers and sponsors and offers them the opportunity to present their project to major prospective sponsors and producers from Greece and abroad (Pitching Forum). The workshop will feature 14 projects. Drama Pitching Lab trainers Barbara Doukas (director) and Georgina Kakoudakis (dramatist) will be joined this year by Tony Watts from London, who will train pitchers and offer a masterclass for young filmmakers titled “Cutting Through the noise”. Tony Watts is a producer and programmer, founder of the Thames Film Festival and the Sci fi Film Festival in London and, among other things, worked as a programmer for the Thessaloniki Festival and the Rotterdam Festival, while being a programme director at the Toronto Festival. He has worked for Robert Redford at the Sundance Festival and for three major film studios (Celestial, Fox and Universal).
“In the Room” (2019), dir. Georgia Sotirchou
The Festival programme also includes: The 5th Balkan Panorama which features a selection of films that have competed in festivals in neighbouring countries and includes two sections: 1. Balkan Student Panorama with recent productions of the most important film schools in the Balkans and 2. Focus on Slovenia, SHORT MATTERS! 2018 Special programme with the 2018 European Film Academy Awards (EFA awards) candidates, EU and me: seven short films inform us about a number of issues related to the European Union (such as mobility, sustainability, entrepreneurship etc), 10 Corti: A programme of ten Italian short films that inaugurates the cooperation of the Drama Film Festival with Instituto Italiano di Cultura and the Italian Embassy in Athens, Comic book exhibitions by Greek and Italian comedians will also be held as part of the 1st Comic Drama Festival on September 8-22, Literary afternoons (17-21/9), organized and presented by writer-journalist Pavlos Methenitis. This year’s program includes Alexis Panselinos, Vasilis Gourogiannis, Nikos Chrysos, Stavroula Papaspyrou, Stargia Kavalou, Nikos Theodosiou, Vaggelis Lydikos and Eftihia Alexandra Loukidou, A discussion between contesting directors and the audience. Daily Q&A in the atrium of the Festival offices, The Kid’s programme includes films for children, an animation laboratory, special screenings and a program of films made by pupils and art exhibitions, Radio Production Laboratory “We Are Playing Radio!” with radio producer Anna Paschalidou, Αrt exhibitions in collaboration with independent artists and local actors.
The films awarded at the Festival will be screened in Athens in October (10-16/10) at the “Trianon” movie theatre. The “Short Film Festival in Drama travels” program will continue to travel to even more destinations. Last year, the Greek films of the Festival travelled to 83 cities and 9 countries, highlighting the dynamics of Greek cinema within and outside Greece.