Country Focus: Greece
Boulmetis elected president of Hellenic Film Academy
by Joseph Proimakis
23/12/2009 - Greek filmmaker Tassos Boulmetis was elected the first president of the newly founded Hellenic Film Academy (HFA). Since there were no other candidates, the honorary post was practically handed out to the director of A Touch of Spice, the first in a series of films that re-ignited local moviegoers’ interest in Greek cinema.
In his first, exclusive interview as HFA president, for Cineuropa.org and Greek film blog Movies for the Masses, Boulmetis laid out the demanding tasks ahead of him, his primary goal being the difficult course of establishing a relationship of trust and authority within the local film industry.
“Although it’s not a top priority in the work we have ahead of us, our first order of business is setting up the Academy’s first awards ceremony, come April”, said Boulmetis. “The Academy’s body now consists of 150 members and we’ll hopefully have twice as many by the awards.“
“The Academy’s authority stems from its membership,“ he added, responding to claims made by the Guilds’ Association (see news) that the Academy has very little, if any, authorization to hand out awards, since it wasn’t founded by the state. “Greek cinema is not its guilds, Greek cinema is the films Greek filmmakers make and these filmmakers have names and their names have work on their resumes.”
“Besides,” he continued, “we’re not here to replace anyone, it’s not our role to become unionists. The unions are there to defend their respective departmental demands. Union associations have their own roles, as do collective movements. They can all rest assured that we won’t be stomping on their territory: The HFA is here to nest and coil all active film professionals.”
“All over Europe, all over the world, film academies are founded by active filmmakers, and that’s exactly the case with the Hellenic Film Academy: its membership is the active film community of Greece. I wonder if that’s the case with the guilds’ memberships,” said Boulmetis by way of conclusion, referring to guild rosters that are mainly comprised of inactive filmmakers and TV or theatre directors.