Greek films, feature length as well as shorts, will been making waves in the international film festival circuit this summer, claiming audience attention and distinctions at the festivals of Locarno, Sarajevo and Venice. These three international events will provide an essential platform for Greek filmmakers to gain recognition, secure distribution deals for their films and strengthen the ties with the European audience and international cinema professionals.

Still from “My Mother Is A Saint” film, directed by Syllas Tzoumerkas

According to a statement by the Greek Film Centre (EKK) “the selection of seven Greek films -three feature length and four short- in the competition section of three international film festivals, is indicative of the extroversion of modern Greek film production – which is one of the fundamental aims here at the Greek Film Centre – and of the confidence international stakeholders have in Greek cinematography. As far as Greek participation at the Locarno and Sarajevo festivals is concerned, we should note that it is thanks to participation Greek producers participate in three international co-productions”.

Greek films’ presence at international film festivals is a testament to the creativity and talent of Greek filmmakers. With each new generation of filmmakers pushing the boundaries of Greek cinema, the future looks bright for this vibrant and growing industry.

76th Locarno Film Festival (2-12.8.2023)

Animal: Sofia Exarchou’s much anticipated second feature film world premieres at the Locarno Film Festival, opening the festival’s international competition program. “Animal” takes place under the scorching Greek sun as a group of entertainers at an all-inclusive island resort prepares for the busy tourist season; as the summer intensifies and the pressure builds, the sultry Mediterranean nights turn violent. The film has been financed by the Greek Film Centre and produced by Maria Drandaki and Maria Kontogianni (Homemade Films).

Still from “Animal” film, directed by Sofia Exarchou

My Mother Is A Saint: Syllas Tzoumerkas’ short film world premieres in the international competition program Pardi di Domani – Cordi d’autore, which selects works by established directors from around the world. In the film the meeting of a son with his mother at her hometown, takes an unexpected turn. “My Mother Is A Saint” was commissioned and produced by “2023 Elefsis Cultural Capital of Europe” in collaboration with Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Scorched Earth: Markela Kontaratou’s student film, with which she graduated from the London Film School, participates in the Pardi di Domani international competition program. In “Scorched Earth” it’s summer in Greece and Stela escapes the Athenian heat to her summer house. Procrastinating while writing her thesis she spies on her neighbour and his girlfriend – and soon she gets suspicious that he has committed an atrocious murder.

The Invisible Fight: The feature film by Estonian director Rainert Sarnet, a kung-fu comedy set in an Orthodox Monastery in 1970s Soviet Union, is in the running for an award in the festival’s international competition program. The film is co-produced by Amanda Livanou (Neda Film).

Still from “Scorched Earth” film, directed by Markela Kontaratou

29nth Sarajevo Film Festival (11-18 8.2023)

Medium: The second feature film by Christina Ioakeimidis world premieres in the international competition program of the Festival and is in the running for a prize. “Medium”, based on a novel by Giorgos Sibardis, follows 16-year-old Eleftheria, who escapes suffocating reality of countryside to visit her pregnant sister in Athens where she embarks on a journey to discover ferocity of love. The film has been financed by the Greek Film Centre and is produced by Ch. Iokeimidis, Louizos Aslanidis and Giorgos Nousias (EKSO Productions).

Animal: Sarajevo is the second festival stop for Sofia Exarchou’s film.

Pigeons Are Dying, When the City Is on Fire: The short film by Stavros Markoulakis is in the running for an award at the Festival. The film is produced by Heraklis Mavroides and Nikos Sbiliris (Blacktree Productions) and co-produced by the Greek Film Centre.

Still from “Ready” film, direced by Erini Vianelli

Ready: Directed by Erini Vianelli, and in the running for a prize at the Festival, ‘Ready’ is a stop-motion animated short film offering a peek into the unseen world inside the grand Greek Parliament building and the people who work there, finding the comedy in mundane, bizarre, hilarious every day, and throwaway, moments. Production is by Danai Spathara (Heretic) and the Greek Film Centre is a co-producer.

My Mother Is A Saint: Sarajevo is the second festival stop for Sylla Tzoumerka’s film, also claiming an award here.

Day of the Tiger: The feature film by the Romanian director Andrei Tanase, which has been included in the Minority Co-production Program of the Greek Film Centre, is in the running for a prize in the competition program of the Festival. It is a co-production of Romania, France and Greece (Graal). In “Day of the Tiger”, 31-year-old Vera is a vet in a small-town zoo veterinarian in Transylvania, who after losing her new-born baby, becomes obsessed with giving him the proper Eastern Orthodox burial ritual.

Requiem to the Hot Days of Summer: The documentary by the Georgian director Giorgi Parkosadze participates in the corresponding competition program of the Festival. The film portrays the innate unbreakable bond between mother and son, defined by the invisible burden of care, silence and solitude in an isolated mountainous gorge in Georgia. The film is a co-production between Georgia and Greece (Angelos Tsaousis, Filmografik).

Still from the Summer With Carmen, directed by Zacharis Mavroidis

80th Venice International Film festival – 20th Giornate Degli Autori (30.8 – 9.9.2023)

The Summer with Carmen: The feature film by Zacharias Mavroidis world premieres in the parallel competition program Giornate Degli Autori, as part of the 80th Venice Film Festival. While having a day-long swim at Athens’ queer beach, best friends Demos and Nikitas recall the events of a recent summer in the prospect of turning them into a screenplay for Nikitas’ feature debut. The film is produced by Ioanna Bolomytis (Atalante Productions) and co-produced by the Greek Film Centre.

 I.L. with infromation from Athens-Macedonian News Agency