Thessaloniki International Film Festival Celebrates 60th Anniversary



This year the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, but organizers have pledged to look forward into the future, rather than looking back into the past.

The gala anniversary will also feature the addition of an entirely new competition, titled “Meet the Neighbors.”

The festival, which will kick off on October 31 and run through November 10, will feature a total of 201 films and 59 short films, while 25 awards will be given out as part of the festivities.

According to the organizers, instead of celebrating by looking back on the sixty years of the festival, their eyes will be turned instead toward the future of cinema itself.

The theme of the 60th TIFF International Competition is “The Overview Effect.” This is the effect that astronauts feel as they observe the Earth from space for the first time and perceive the world in its entirety.

This is a new emotion in the realm of human experience, and one that changes your awareness of the world we live in and the universe itself.

The 60th TIFF will open with Noah Baumbach’s latest work, Marriage Story (USA), and will close with the Toronto People’s Choice Award winner, Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi (Czech Republic/New Zealand).

The International Competition will feature fourteen films by first and second-time filmmakers. As is true almost every year, the majority of the films competing for the “Golden Alexander” statuette are European, with three of them made by Greek filmmakers.

The films to compete for the primary award this year are the following: Lillian by Andreas Horvath (Austria), Beware of Children by Dag Johan Haugerud (Norway/Sweden), The Fever by Maya Da-Rin (Brazil/France/Germany), and Wet Season by Anthony Chen (Singapore/Taiwan).

In addition, Defunct by Zacharias Mavroeidis (Greece), Cosmic Candy by Rinio Dragasaki (Greece), Fire Will Come by Oliver Laxe (Spain/France/Luxemburg), and Monos by Alejandro Landes (Colombia/Argentina/Netherlands/Denmark) will be shown at the competition.

Patrick by Tim Mielants (Belgium), Swallow by Carlo Mirabella-Davis (USA/France), Rialto by Peter Mackie Burns (Ireland/UK), A Thief’s Daughter by Belén Funes (Spain), Zizotek by Vardis Marinakis (Greece) and Song Without a Name by Melina Leon (Peru/Spain/USA) will round out the competition.

The new competition section, called “Meet the Neighbors,” will feature ten films by debuting and sophomore directors from Southeast Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The films featured in this section will be Africa by Oren Gerner (Israel), Belonging by Burak Cevik (Turkey/Canada/France), Cat in the Wall by Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova (Bulgaria/UK/France), and The Criminal Man by Dmitry Mamuliya (Georgia/Russia).

Also showing will be Guerilla by Gyorgy Mor Karpati (Hungary), Not to Be Unpleasant, But We Need to Have a Serious Talk by Yiorgos Georgopoulos (Greece), and The Rocket by Stefanos Sitaras (Greece/Italy).

The new competition will also feature the films Simple Women by Chiara Malta (Italy/Romania), Tlamess by Ala Eddine Slim (Tunisia/France) and Oroslan by Matjaz Ivanisin (Slovenia/Czech Republic).

For the Greek Film Festival competition, thirteen established and rookie filmmakers will be competing for a number of awards in the “First Run” and “Beyond Borders” sections. They are: At Nine by Angelos Spartalis, Born on the 8th of March by Lyberis Dionysopoulos, Entwined by Minos Nikolakakis (Greece/UK), and Exile by Vassilis Mazomenos.

Additional films in the “First Run” section are The Interrogation by Panayiotis Portokalakis, The Lair by Vassilis Noulas, Pencil Knife Baton by Konstantinos Kakogiannis (Greece/Germany/France), Persephone by Costas Athousakis, Siege on Liperti Street by Stavros Pamballis (Greece/Cyprus), We No Longer Hear the Songs by Takis Papanastasiou and Winona by Alexandros Voulgaris.

The Beyond Borders section includes Common Birds by Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson (France), and I Will Cross Tomorrow by Sepideh Farsi (Greece/France/Luxembourg/Netherlands).

A special honor will be given to the recently deceased Serbian director Dusan Makavejev in the “Balkan Survey” section of the festival. Ten films and five shorts by Balkan filmmakers will also be shown.

The festival will also have tributes to three exceptional filmmakers, including “The Pope of Trash,” American director John Waters; Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra and British director Joanna Hogg.

Two special exhibitions will supplement the 60th TIFF. The first will be the art of acclaimed Greek director Nikos Koundouros, which includes paintings, oil paintings, sketches, costumes, masks, letters, diaries, notes and personal items.

The second exhibition is “The Overview Effect – Encountering the Cosmos,” featuring works by young Greek artists inspired by the contest’s fourteen films.

The 60th anniversary of the Festival will also be celebrated with its own exhibition at the Thessaloniki Film Museum, tracing six decades of people and trends which defined its course and evolution.