Thessaloniki market doubles its numbers in spite of tough year
by Joseph Proimakis
09/11/2011 - With more than double the numbers in visiting professionals and participating projects compared to last year’s make-or-break edition, the market section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, aptly entitled Agora, is not only back on track to previous years’ perfomances, but is doing even better.
Showcasing up to 200 titles, Agora’s main bulk of selections is concentrated in the actual market, while a great portion is also sheltered under the Crossroads co-production forum as well as the Works in Progress spotlight. All three sections work in concert to help new films and talent muster the attention needed from development to actual release.
“All sections of the market are interconnected,” explains Crossroads’ coordinator Angeliki Vergou, “meaning that from the moment something comes up in any part of our market, we try to support it through all stages, up to screening it in the festival, if possible”.
This was the case with Cătălin Mitulescu’s Loverboy [trailer], which started its course by winning the fest’s Balkan Fund award in 2006 and went on to have its world debut at Cannes earlier this year, before returning to the screen in Thessaloniki. The same goes for Constantine Giannaris’ Man at Sea which screened at Berlinale’s Forum and is showing a new cut here tomorrow, while Philippos Tsitos’ Locarno-awarded Unfair World is back for its Greek premiere tonight.
“There is increased interest in Greek production, as compared to previous years”, notes Head of Film Market Yanna Sari, while Vergou adds that “distributors visiting the Agora know that they will mainly find Balkan, Mediteranean and Greek films, and that’s what they come looking for”.
Greek interest is also evident in the fact that local International Competition entries J.A.C.E. by Menelaos Karamanghiolis and Paradise by Panagiotis Fafoutis (making their European and world debuts in Thessaloniki, respectively), have at this point topped the screening requests at the market’s digital library, which will be open to all accredited film professionals and journalists until the market signs off with its Crossroads and Works in Progress awards this weekend.