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Thessaloniki’s Agora prepares to unspool online


- The industry section of the 61st Thessaloniki IFF will run via digital platforms and will introduce new initiatives focused on the local film industry

Thessaloniki’s Agora prepares to unspool online
Actress Katia Goulioni, this year's Agora ambassador, who will promote the section’s events and goals

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival is scheduled to run from 5-15 November, and as every year, in parallel with the festival, the Agora industry section has announced its complete selection for this edition. Owing to current circumstances, the Agora will take place online and will run from 7-14 November. It will once again be spread across several different sections. Supported by Creative Europe – MEDIA, Agora is maintaining its focus on Southeast Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean Basin. This year, the Agora ambassador will be well-known actress Katia Goulioni (Still River [+see also:
film review
interview: Angelos Frantzis
film profile
), who will promote the section’s events and goals.

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The Agora Video Library will be available for the second year running through Cinando, and it will be accessible to accredited guests, offering them the chance to watch a selection of films from Agora and the festival’s programme. At the 16th Crossroads Co-Production Forum, a total of 17 projects have been selected (see the news), while another highlight of Agora is the Works in Progress session, which will present 11 films currently in post-production that will be competing for the prestigious €50,000 Eurimages Lab Project Award, while a new initiative, the Agora Lab, is also being introduced.

For the second consecutive year, the Meet the Future section is being organised, an initiative that aims to showcase the future talents of the industry. For this edition, eight cinematographers who live in Greece will be featured, and the programme is organised in conjunction with the GSC – Greek Society of Cinematographers, with the support of Cannon and ARRI. All of the participants have worked on short and/or feature-length titles that have been awarded and screened at major international film festivals. The selection includes Asimina Dionysopoulou, Yannis Kanakis, Yannis Karambatsos, Fili Olsefski, Stelios Pissas, Yannis Simos, Manu Tilinski and Giorgos Valsamis.

The other initiative for young professionals, the fifth edition of the Thessaloniki-Locarno Industry Academy (10-14 November), is set to welcome six emerging professionals living in Greece and working in film promotion and distribution, while for this year only, producers have also been accepted. The project manager for this year is Konstantinos Aivaliotis, and the participants are Dafni Bechtsi (Cinobo), Hermione Efstratiadou (asterisk*), Chrysanthi Karfi Koi (Haos Film), Romanna Lobach (AKRAN), Sotiris Petridis (freelance film producer) and Magda Vaz (Thessaloniki Animation Festival).

The programme of the Agora Talks event will be announced soon, but meanwhile, the European Women’s Audiovisual Network’s (EWA) mentoring programme (9-14 November) is aimed at female film producers who already have relevant experience at the national level and wish to evolve further to incorporate a European and international dimension into their careers.

Finally, the Innovation Day Lab (12 November), held in partnership with Europa Cinemas, is dedicated entirely to cinema exhibitors, and this time, the workshop, moderated by Frank Groot (KINO Rotterdam, Netherlands), will explore the topic of “Re-designing the Collective Cinema Experience”, homing in on sharing approaches to remoulding the theatrical experience, devising programming strategies (both in-venue and online), communication with audiences, and health-and-safety measures for audiences and staff. The lab will offer practice-based insights from fellow exhibitors as well as opportunities for smaller group discussions.

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