The Birthplace of Greek Cinema and the Rise of New Directors

in 46th Drama International Short Film Festival

by Stefanos Ntalasis

For 46 years, the Drama International Short Film Festival has often served as the launchpad for rising directors to create their first features. The festival’s lovely trailer, composed by artistic director Yannis Sakaridis, highlights films that have screened at the festival over the years – many of them by emerging directors who have become major filmmakers in Greece.

It’s a lively festival full of the creations, dreams and plans of new directors, who watch their own work alongside the audience, talk with other new artists and move on, perhaps with greater optimism, towards the uncertain world of filmmaking. The festival offers participants a range of activities, including a short film hub, networking, workshops and cinematography.

This year’s program consisted of 182 movies (64 of them from Greece) from 41 countries, in the following competition sections:

  • Greek competition: 35 films
  • International competition, which has been held for 29 years: 20 films from 13 countries from Canada to China to Australia to Tanzania, as well as five Greek films
  • International studies: 14 films, including two Greek films
  • National studies: 25 movies from educational institutions in Greece and abroad
  • Short and green: 15 movies
  • Kiddo, the festival’s newest section, with 14 films (including 2 Greek films), created by young people and children
  • International animation: 17 animated films, including four Greek films

Our FIPRESCI jury focused on the international competition: our members had many common opinions, but also different attitudes and theories when it comes to film. The competition included a wide variety of films with differing approaches, personal aesthetics, subject matter, and in several cases, satisfactory to excellent results. Films that, according to head programmer Yorgos Zois, “do not hesitate to experience and baffle, playfully, cinematically different styles, presenting various forms of narration: mixing reality and myth, personal stories and collective memories.” Thus it was difficult to choose a winner from so many works in different genres – they didn’t really have any characteristics in common, aside from being short films of up to 40 minutes.

The films in competition were: The Open House by Julieta Lasarte, Aqueronte by Manuel Muñoz Rivas, The Way Winter Comes by Zichen Wang, The Blind by Michiel Robberecht, Super by Nikolas Kouloglou, Same Old by Lloyd Lee Choi, Hold On For Dear Life by Simone Fiorentino, Unorthodox by Konstantinos Antonopoulos, Apostles of Cinema by Darragh Amelia, Gertrude Malizana, Jesse Gerard Moango and Cece Mlay, Light of Light by Neritan Zinxhiria, Offline by Daniel Fure Schwarz and Mauritz Brekke Solberg, Teacups by Alec Green and Finbar Watson, Ready by Eirini Vianelli, Ulises by Félix Brixel, Midnight Skin by Manolis Mavris, Les Chenilles by Michelle Keserwany and Noel Keserwany, The Silence of The Banana Trees by Eneos Çarka, The River and the Labyrinth by Ian Capillé, Bed Days by Tatiana Ramos, and The Age Of Innocence by Maximilian Bungarten.

Our award went to The Silence of the Banana Trees for its sensitive approach and synthesis of the elements of a true story, showing the power of love and family ties. We also present the following short primer for some of the films in competition.


Plot: original

Background: spiritual/social

Aesthetic: handmade jewel

Acting: people, looks, harmonic stops

Does it flow? Yes

Does it satisfy? like a healing balm

May particularly like: plans, people, silences and sounds

Probably won’t like: N/A

Mood after watching: uplifting, time for thoughts

What remains: it follows you

Stars: ***


The Silence of The Banana Trees

Plot: a true story

Background: social relationships

Aesthetic: sensitive approach

Acting: realistic

Does it flow? Yes

Does it satisfy? like medicine for the heart

May particularly like: the plot and the dialectic relationship between the heroes

Probably won’t like: N/A

Mood after watching: to embrace all of your family

What remains: the power of love 

Stars: ***



Plot: interesting/original

Background: historical

Aesthetic: sympathetic

Acting: decent, with a touch of theatrics

Does it flow? enough

Does it satisfy? pleasant

May particularly like: the humor and the comical look at the gears of history and power

Probably won’t like: reminders of the parable of the Good Samaritan and of Monty Python

Mood after watching: happy

What remains: a journey to the past and anticipation for the director’s next film

Stars: ***



Plot: plain

Background: the entertainment world

Aesthetic: perfect

Acting: enjoyable

Does it flow? like a gurgling river

Does it satisfy? without a break

May particularly like: humor, freshness, rhythm, casting, acting

Probably won’t like: that it appears simple

Mood after watching: laughter, smiles

What remains: a pleasant taste

Stars: ***


The Blind

Plot: interesting

Background: the obsessions of the community

Aesthetic: nice, a lot of work is evident

Acting: satisfying

Does it flow? enough

Does it satisfy? so-so

May particularly like: sets and scenery

Probably won’t like: you get “lost”

Mood after watching: confusion

What remains: few things

Stars: ***


Midnight Skin

Plot: interesting

Background: existential impasse, crisis

Aesthetic: satisfying

Acting: functional but without depth 

Does it flow? enough

Does it satisfy? sometimes yes, sometimes no

May particularly like: photography and music

Probably won’t like: long duration for a short film, 40 minutes

Mood after watching: confusing

What remains: a very good production

Stars: **1/2



Plot: monotonous

Background: a couple’s relationship

Aesthetic: indifferent, doesn’t make sense

Acting: coolly natural, as if they’re playing themselves

Does it flow? slowly, maybe it should have been shorter

May particularly like: its simplicity

Probably won’t like: its simplicity

Mood after watching: same as before

What remains: not much

Stars: **


Same Old

Plot: vital

Background: social

Aesthetic: realistic

Acting: satisfying

Does it flow? quickly

Does it satisfy? hmm

May particularly like: the theme of the movie

Probably won’t like: the theme of the movie, which you’ve seen before in Beijing Bicycle and The Bicycle Thief

Mood after watching: social and personal reflection

What remains: the agony of the immigrant

Stars: **


The Open House

Plot: interesting

Background: social/memory

Aesthetic: flawless

Does it flow? discreetly

Does it satisfy? like a personal experience

May particularly like: the hymn to life

Probably won’t like: N/A

Mood after watching: release

What remains: memory as life

Stars: ***


Apostles of Cinema

Plot: cinema paradise

Background: popular cinema in Tanzania

Aesthetic: realistic

Acting:  enjoyable

Does it flow? like a film reel

Does it satisfy? like Enpinyo (a strong drink in Tanzania)

May particularly like: the joy of the performers and spectators

Probably won’t like:  N/A

What remains: colorful pictures

Stars: **


Light of Light

Plot: original

Background: memory as experience

Aesthetic: dialectical and synthetic

Does it flow? poetically

Does it satisfy? like a hot beverage

May particularly like: synthesis of archival material

Probably won’t like: N/A

Mood after watching: nostalgia

What remains: a journey to the past

Stars: ***

Stefanos Ntalasis
Edited by Lesley Chow