57th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Greece, November 4 - November 13 2016
Aleksander Huser (Norway), Ahmet Gürata (Turkey), Ifigenia Kalantzi (Greece)
Amerika Square by
(Greece / UK / Germany, 2016, 86 mins)
Lady Macbeth by
(UK, 2016, 89 mins)
Nestled in a beautiful city by the Aegan Sea, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival presents a broad variety of international and national productions, and is one of the Balkans’ primary showcases for emerging talents and trends within independent cinema.
When the festival started in 1960, it screened exclusively Greek films. This profile was maintained until Thessaloniki became an international film festival in 1992; from then on it included an international competition programme.
With last year’s change in the festival’s leadership, TIFF has strengthened its focus on the Greek section, without losing the broader, international focus it has built up over the years. Now in its 57th edition, Greece’s biggest film festival is still doing impressively well, especially given the country’s recent economic crisis.
The Thessaloniki International Film Festival opened this year on November 3rd, with the American independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson; the festival also presented Jarmusch’s music documentary Gimme Danger (on the iconic rock band The Stooges) among the special screenings. Through eleven film- and event packed days, the festival’s programme includes – to name just a selection – an international competition programme, a Greek section (both premieres and “second runs”), an Open Horizon section (of new, international films out of competition), and a Balkan Survey section, as well as various special screenings, tributes, retrospectives, master classes and sidebar events. Among the latter were a retrospective of the films of Turkish filmmaker Zeki Demirkubuz, tributes to both the French director Phillipe Grandrieux and the Argentinian director, singer and actor Leonardo Favio, and a master class by Italian cinematographer Luciano Tovoli.
As usual, The FIPRESCI jury in Thessaloniki were to award two prizes: One for a film in the International Competition Programme, and one to a Greek film having its national premiere. This resulted in a total amount of 30 films to consider, with 17 in the International section (including three Greek films, which also competed in the national competition) and 13 in the Greek Film Festival (including three “Greeks of Diaspora” films by Greek directors working abroad.)
The jury, consisting of Ahmet Gürata (Turkey), Ifigenia Kalantzi (Greece) and Aleksander Huser (Norway), awarded the FIPRESCI prize for a film in the International Competition to the British film Lady Macbeth, directed by William Oldroyd. The same jury’s prize for the Greek section went to Yannis Sakaridis’ Amerika Square (Plateia Amerikis).
The festival’s international jury comprised of Amir Naderi (director, Iran), Sofian El Fani (director of photography, Tunisia), Frédérique Moreau (screenwriter, France), Peter Scarlet (consultant, producer, film curator, USA) and Eva Stefani (director, professor, Greece). They awarded the festival’s main prize, the Golden Alexander ”Theo Angelopoulos,” for the best feature film in the international competition to the Hungarian film Kills on Wheels (Tiszta Szivvel), directed by Attila Till. Among the prizes awarded by this jury were also the Special Jury Award – Silver Alexander to the Icelandic/Danish film Heartstone (Hjartasteinn), directed by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, and the Special Jury Award for Best Director – Bronze Alexander to the Japanese film The Sower (Taneomakuhito), directed by Yosuke Takeuchi. (Aleksander Huser, edited by José Teodoro)
The Critics Prize goes to a film each in the international and national competitions. Festival: www.filmfestival.gr