Thessaloniki reveals line-up for mid-crisis fest
by Joseph Proimakis
29/11/2010 - Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours [trailer] will be raising the curtains for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (December 3 - 12), celebrating its 51st edition under the new management of acclaimed international festival programmer Dimitri Eipides. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan will screen at the closing night gala.
The festival’s two indie-minded main sections will showcase compelling work from around the world, including Kornel Mundruczo’s Tender Son – The Frankenstein Project [trailer, film focus] and Alexei Popogrebsky’s How I Ended this Summer, while heavyweight titles such as Thomas Vinterberg’s Submarino [trailer, film focus], Ken Loach’s Route Irish [trailer] and Tom Tykwer’s Three [trailer] will have special screenings.
The international competition, of debuts and sophomore films, will premiere 16 titles, including Michelangelo Frammartino’s The Four Times [trailer, film focus], Olivier Coussemacq’s Sweet Evil [trailer] and Morag McKinnon’s Donkeys, while Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Venice-awarded Attenberg [trailer, film focus] and Aris Bafaloukas’ Montreal-screened Apnea will be the Greek entries vying for the Golden, Silver and Bronze Alexander awards.
This year’s Cannes winner, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, will lead the fest’s guest list, which includes Susanne Bier, Borivoj Dovnikovic and Romain Gavras.
Eipides will try “to reclaim the festival’s identity as a meeting place for brave filmmaking,” following five years of turning to “American patterns, which to me are a waste of time and money”, he said at Monday’s press conference.
Money is of the essence for Thessaloniki, as fiscal troubles brought “thoughts of delay, or even total cancelation of this year’s event,” Eipides admitted, adding that when he was appointed head of the festival he was met with “no money at all and a very large deficit” of over €6m.
Given previous director Despina Mouzaki’s flair for glamorous events and prestigious guests [see news], the festival had raised its budget over the €4m mark but was still unable to settle debts with vital collaborators.
“Local hotels were owed more than €1m,” Eipides revealed, adding subtitlers and even previous award winners to the list of those owed money by Mouzaki’s management. Thus, the festival will have to make due with a 50% budget cut in order to sustain the damage of its deficit.