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FESTIVALS Greece

Eipides replaces Mouzaki at Thessaloniki

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Despina Mouzaki resigned from her post as vice president and artistic director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival yesterday, ending six months of administrative and artistic uncertainty, as her term was officially over at the end of last November’s festival. Mouzakis’ resignation was swiftly accepted by Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos, who appointed Dimitri Eipides to replace her.

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Mouzaki was appointed dame of the country’s leading film event in 2005, replacing Michel Demopoulos, and her term was marked by glamour, with guests such as Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, the Dardenne brothers, John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe and Werner Herzog.

The stars ran parallel to Mouzaki’s efforts to turn the festival into a go-to gathering for budding film entrepreneurs, with the Balkan Funds and Crossroads workshops offering appetizing seed money for promising development and production deals struck on festival grounds. There was also a rise in screenings and, as expected, bloated budgets, reports of overspending and fears of a gigantism the festival wouldn’t be able to sustain.

Since 2004, Eipides has been head of the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival (TIDF), which he helped create in 1999. Is it unclear whether he will drop his post at the documentary festival or remain in charge of both.

A man used to the tight budgets the country’s toxic economy will most probably impose, Eipidis worked at TIFF in various positions from 1992, under Demopoulos’ direction. When Demopoulos was dropped, Eipides resigned to take over TIDF, raising it to international acclaim in the following years, all the while serving as senior international programmer of prestigious festivals in Toronto, Montreal and Reykjavik.

Regarded as a man with a deep knowledge of the festival circuit, Eipidis will have to use every calling card at his disposal, as he has limited time to prepare the 2010 edition of TIFF. His first move has been to push back the festival dates from its usual November slot to December 3-11, 2010.

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