The 8th edition of Beyond Borders, the International Documentary Film Festival of Kastellorizo, will take place on August 20-27, 2023, featuring world and Greek premieres, film and art workshops, masterclasses, tributes, a Pitching Lab, panel discussions, books, music and more. The full program was recently announced at a Press conference.

Beyond Borders – Kastellorizo

Established in 2016, the festival’s objective is to promote the most important documentary productions worldwide that focus on history, culture, politics and other social subjects.

Beyond Borders focuses on documentary films that deal with historical events and personalities, with socio-political issues, with the promotion of human rights and with any transnational issue that reflects the concerns of contemporary cinematic art. This year the festival received 835 submissions from 93 countries and has included in its screening program 30 world, international and national premieres.

The festival is held by the Hellenic History Foundation, in collaboration with Écrans des Mondes and the Region of South Aegean; it is held under the auspices of H.E. President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and supported by the Greek Film Center, the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (ΕΚΟΜΕ), the Hellenic Parliament, the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Ministry of the Interior, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, the Municipality of Megisti (Kastellorizo), and other institutions.

Kastellorizo (or Kastellorizo, officially named Meyisti/Megisti) is Greece’s remotest island, but carries on it a unique heritage, along with sites of great beauty as well as historic or geological interest.

2023 lineup & jury

In its 8th edition, the festival will feature three sections, each at a different screening venue: The Official Competition Section, which includes 18 documentary features and featurettes; the μICRO Competition Section, which includes 24 short documentary films; and an out-of-competition program which will take place at the Panorama Stage, with different film tributes every day.

The main competition section will feature the following films:

  • When Spring Came to Bucha, by Mila Teshaieva & Marcus Lenz, Germany-Ukraine 2022, 66’
  • We Will Not Fade Away, by Alisa Kovalenko, Ukraine-France-Poland-USA, 2023, 100’
  • Underdog, by MariëMe Faber, Netherlands, 2022, 71’, (International Premiere)
  • Uncanny me, by Katharina Pethke, Germany, 2022 45’, (Greek Premiere)
  • Theo Angelopoulos – Nikos Panagiotopoulos: To each their voice, by Antonis Kokkinos & Yannis Soldatos, Greece, 2022, 76’The Soldier’s Opinion by Assaf Banitt, Israel, 2022, 57’, (Greek Premiere)
  • The hidden children of colonization, by Dominique Regueme, France – Belgium, 2022, 58’, (Greek Premiere)
  • Scenes with My Father, by Biserka Šuran, Netherlands, 2022, 47’, (Greek Premiere)
  • Roofless Dreams, by Sotiris Danezis, Greece, 2022, 83’
  • Radji, by Georg Götmark & John Erling Utsi, Belgium-Norway-Sweden-Croatia-Lithuania, 2021, 70’ , (Greek Premiere)
  • What Remains on the Way, by Jakob Krese & Danilo Do Carmo, Germany-Brazil- Mexico, 2021, 93’
  • Hours of Ours, by Komtouch Napattaloong, Thailand, 2023 84’, (Greek Premiere)
  • Holy Dilemma, by Julianna Ugrin & Márton Vízkelety, Hungary, 2022, 81’, (Greek Premiere)
  • Her Tobacco, by Stathis Galazoulas, Greece, 2023, 39’
  • Grief – Those who remain, by Myrto Pasalidou & Maria Louka, Greece, 2023’, 71’
  • Dead Weight, by Francesco Del Grosso, Italy, 2022, 87′, (Greek Premiere)
  • Audrey Napanangka, by Penelope McDonald, Australia 2022, 84’, (Greek Premiere)
  • A Tale of Four Minorities, by David Deri, Israel, 2023 95’, (International Premiere)

A total of 11 prizes are awarded at the two competition sections: three awards for Best History, Social and Political Documentary, all sponsored by ERT, an award for Best Greek Documentary sponsored by the Greek Film Centre, a Special Award of Mediterranean Friendship sponsored by EKOME, a Special “Odysseus” Award sponsored by the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, the FIPRESCI Award bestowed by the International Federation of Film Critics, the #ThisisEU European Values Award sponsored by the Representation of the European Commission in Greece, and Gold, Silver and Bronze Phoenix Awards for the μICRO Section, sponsored by the German channel Phoenix/ZDF and ERT.

This year’s jury of the official competition section consists of Wolfgang Bergmann (Managing Director of ARTE Germany, President of the Jury), Eva Stefani (Film director/Academic), Karin Jurschick (Film director/Academic), Stavros Papageorgiou (Film director/Artistic Director of the Cyprus Archaeological, Ethnographic & Historical Film Festival) and Jordan Paterson (Film director/Producer). The FIPRESCI jury includes the critics Senem Erdine (Altyazi, Turkey), Davide Magnisi (CineCritica, Italy) and Thodoris Koutsogiannopoulos (ALPHA TV, LIFO), while the μICRO jury consists of: Peter Arens (Head of History and Science Progr, ZDF, President of the Jury), Pelin Esmer (Film Director), Marcin Malatynski (Academic/Producer), Afroditi Kairaki (Academic) and Panos Dendramis (Film Director/Cinema Professor).

The festival’s Opening Ceremony will feature a screening of Alan Gilsenan’s award-winning documentary The Laughing Boy (Ireland, 2023), telling the story behind a song originally written for the iconic revolutionary Michael Collins and subsequently translated in Greek, set to music by renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis and made famous as an anthem of defiance against the Greek military junta (1967-74). The Closing Ceremony will feature a screening of Jordan Paterson’s film “Tricks on the Dead” (Canada, 2014), chronicling the first mass migration of Chinese workers to Europe.

Panels, workshops & other events

In continuation of the festival’s tradition of guests of honor, ZDF, Germany’s largest public-service television broadcaster, is this year’s Media of Honor, while the University of Television and Film Munich (HFF Munich) is the academic institution of honor and the Cyprus Archaeological, Ethnographic & Historical Film Festival is the festival of honor. This year the institution of a country of honor is introduced, with the first one being Canada.

The “Critics’ Corner”, chaired by FIPRESCI’s General Secretary, Klaus Eder, will take place daily during the screenings: three distinguished members of FIPRESCI will speak with professionals and the audience about the films screened the previous night in the competition sections of the Festival.

This year also sees the introduction of “Beyond Storytelling”: a filmmaking workshop with the participation of students from the collaborating network of film schools, which will each year focus on a central theme related to Kastellorizo and will “initiate” its members to all stages of film production, from development to post production, producing a short documentary film. This year the workshop will be held in collaboration with Tel Aviv University and Queen’s University of Canada, under the guidance of academic Uri Cohen and film director Danae Elon.

As every year, the program also features master classes by leading figures from the film and television industry, while two-day Audiovisual Pitching Lab, will also take place, with 10-12 projects from around the world screened and discussed with leading professionals from the film industry.

Side events

The festival’s program also features a series of side events, such as musical interludes by from the world of Argentine Tango and Valse Musette as well as the musical traditions of Greece and the Balkans. Workshops for adults and children will be held, including the experiential film workshop “Cin(e)perception in the classroom”, a macramé (knotting technique) workshop for creating objects and jewels, a pasta-making workshop, a presentation of traditional Greek dances and even a marine litter cleanup project by the environmental organization iSea.

Parallel to the festival, an art exhibition by Georgianna Dalara will be hosted at the island’s open-air market as well as a sculpture exhibition by Alexandros Zygouris; journalist and writer Pavlos Methenitis will coordinate daily afternoon book presentations on history, literature and cinema topics.

The festival’s central book presentation will be that of the new publication by the Hellenic History Foundation in collaboration with the University of Geneva, which approaches the Asia Minor Catastrophe through the perspective of Western sources, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne. The presentation’s panel will include academics Matteo Compagnolo, Irini Sarioglou (Director of the Beyond Borders’ Festival), Peter Arens and the Managing Director of ARTE Germany, Wolfgang Bergmann.

Read also via Greek News Agenda: Kastellorizo: Greece’s remotest islandFilming Greece | “BEYOND BORDERS” International Documentary Festival, Castellorizo: From the edge of the Aegean to the world

N. M. (Taken from the festivals official Press release; images from the 7th Beyond Borders Festival of 2022, from the festival’s official website)