Thessaloniki fest ready to charm the Balkans
by Joseph Proimakis
26/10/2011 - "Hollywood has no place in Thessaloniki," said Festival Director Dimitri Eipides, setting the mood for the 52nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which will be raising its curtains on November 4 to screen Alexander Payne’s latest indie, The Descendants. Its short but tight schedule of just over 90 new films will end on November 13, with Sean Durkin’s Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene.
Menelaos Karamagiolis’ Tokyo-screened J.A.C.E. and Panayiotis Fafoutis’ world premiere of Paradise will be the Greek entries in the festival’s international competition section, comprised of 15 directorial debuts or sophomore projects by directors from around the globe, ten of which are European productions and co-productions. John McIlduff’s Behold the Lamb, Michele Boganim’s Land of Oblivion [trailer] and Zuzana Liova’s House [trailer] will also be vying for the Golden and Silver Alexander awards, which will be handed out by an international five-member jury.
Christoffer Boe’s Beast [trailer], Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur [trailer], Michel Ocelot’s Tales Of The Night [trailer, film focus], Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Chicken With Plums [trailer], and Marcus Schleinzer’s Michael [trailer] are some of the titles showcased in the fest’s main international programme, which will also be screening the Dardenne brothers’ Cannes entry The Kid with a Bike as well as Alexander Sokurov’s Venice winner Faust.
Kamen Kalev’s Cannes entry The Island [trailer]and Konstantin Bojanov’s Ave [trailer, film focus] will be representing Bulgaria in the festival’s Balkan Survey section, which has also secured Cannes-screened Katalin Mitulescu’s Loverboy [trailer] and Adrian Sitaru’s Best Intentions from Romania, as well as a focus on Turkish director Erden Kiral.
Constantinos Giannaris’ body of work will be showcased in the festival, which will be screening a new edit of the Greek director’s Berlin-premiered Man At Sea, while Sara Driver, Paolo Sorentino, Ole Christian Madsen and Ulrich Seidl will also be enjoying the festival’s spotlight with selections from their fimographies.
Trying to set Thessaloniki up as the cinematic centre of the Balkans, the festival’s director Dimitri Eipides stated his intention to move all activities to the northern metropolis. “The festival belongs to Thessaloniki both organically and logistically,” he said. “For practical reasons, some of its sections were developed in Athens, but Thessaloniki can sustain its own festival” he said, noting that he’s managed to cut the organization’s debt of €6 million euros down to €1.5m since he was placed in charge, and vying to clear that as well.