25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival

In Film & Series 1 March, 2023

Eva Peydró

Eva Peydró


The 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival will break a record between 2 and 12 March 2023, screening a total of 99 world, international and European premieres. Its programme, which, as has been the case in recent editions, will make physical screenings compatible with online screenings, brings together a total of 237 films, including short and feature films, which can be viewed on the online platform online.filmfestival.gr.

The film La Singla, directed by Paloma Zapata, will kick off a celebration of documentary film, in a festival that has earned its place among the genre’s elite.

The Festival has four competition sections, where the documentaries in international competition will compete for the Golden Alexander, worth €12,000, and the Silver Alexander, consisting of a prize of €5,000. In addition, the winner of the first prize secures a nomination for the Oscars. This was the case with Simon Lereng Wilmont and his A House Made of Splinters, last year’s winner and one of the five nominees in 2023 for the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Among the topics we will see unfold on screen are issues of gender oppression and portraits of women’s emancipation, the traumas of our history, and intimate, environmental and freedom-loving stories. The 34 documentaries in the competition section, including 9 Greek productions, take a stand on the most crucial issues of our time.

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Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods by Angelos Rallis.

International Competition

Twelve films will take part in this section, competing for the two main prizes:

Beyond Revolution – Fighting for Democracy (international premiere) by Kristof Gerega recreates the recent wounds of Ukrainian history, right up to the current drama of the Russian invasion.

General Hercules (international premiere) by Brodie Poole takes us to the Australian outback, where an electoral battle between David and Goliath dissects the corruption and fallacies of an entire country.

I Like it Here (international premiere) by Ralph Arlyck tells the story of the people, places and events that left their mark on the director’s life, signing a nostalgic love letter to the irreversible passage of time.

Light Falls Vertical (international premiere) by Efthymia Zymvragaki, interweaves the story of an aggressor with the director’s personal traumatic experiences, traces the painful paths of domestic violence.

Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods (Greece) by Angelos Rallis addresses the issue of climate refugees through the heartbreaking story of a 12-year-old orphaned Bangladeshi girl who seeks refuge and hope in the midst of a sinking world.

Narrow Path to Happiness (world premiere) by Kata Oláh introduces us to the struggle of a Roma community in Hungary for sexual emancipation and self-determination.

Queen of the Deuce (Greece) by Valerie Kontakos introduces us to Chelly Wilson, queen of porn in 1970s New York, an unconventional icon of feminism.

The Hill (international premiere) by Denis Gheerbrant y Lina Tsrimova will take us to the heart of Kyrgyzstan, where the dark historical past is joined by an even duller and more precarious present.

The Last Seagull (world premiere) by Tonislav Hristov portrays a professional escort in a multi-level allegory about the Balkans that can be extended to the whole world.

Under the Sky of Damascus (international premiere) by Heba Khaled, Talal Derki and Ali Wajeeh introduces us to a group of young people in Syria who, through art, try to recover from sexual abuse.

Who I Am Not (world premiere) by Tünde Skovrán, through the mind-blowing story of a South African intersex beauty queen, reminds us that our world and our lives cannot be locked into suffocating binary definitions.

Ζakros (Greece) by Filippos Koutsaftis wanders through the labyrinths of time and historical memory against the backdrop of an island corner bathed in sunlight.

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Queen of the Deuce by Valerie Kontakos.


In this competition section we will see twelve debut or second films by promising directors competing for the Golden Alexander “Dimitri Eipides”, worth 10,000 euros, and the Silver Alexander, worth 4,000 euros:

5 Seasons of Revolution (european premiere) by Lina is a tribute to combative and independent journalism, as well as a diary of the lives of a group of friends, affected by the terrible shadow of the war in Syria.

AKOE/AMFI: The Story of a Revolution (*Just to sleep on their chest…) (Grecia) by Iossif Vardakis celebrates the history and legacy of AKOE and its magazine Amfi, which would define the way LGBT Greeks think of themselves.

Coming Around (world premiere) by Sandra Itäinen records the abrupt journey of a young queer Muslim woman towards acceptance and visibility.

Domingo Domingo (world premiere) by Laura García Andreu unfolds a story of resistance and the desire to live, in which a farmer confronts the authority of the multinationals, a film produced by the Valencian company Suica Films.

In The Sky of Nothingness with The Least (Greece) by Christos Adrianopoulos is an intimate observation of an elderly couple entering old age.

Is There Anybody Out There? (european premiere) by Ella Glendining exposes the violence and discrimination suffered by the director, who shares the same fate as countless other people with mobility problems.

Ladies in Waiting (Greece) by Ioanna Tsoucala tackles the taboo of mental health, delving into the arcane corridors of the Attica Psychiatric Hospital.

Leon (world premiere) by Wojciech Gostomczyk, where artistic creation, the passing of time and overcoming loss are intertwined through the portrait of an elderly performer mourning the death of his loved one, the famous fashion designer Thierry Mugler.

Red Herring (european premiere) by Kit Vincent embarks on a family’s tender journey of reconciliation and self-revelation, triggered by impending loss.

The DNA of Dignity (international premiere) by Jan Baumgartner pays tribute to scientists and researchers who strive to preserve the memory and identity of the unburied victims of the Yugoslav wars.

The Voice (international premiere) by Dominika Montean-Pańków sneaks into an educational campus for young monks in Poland, raising a series of questions about the limits, nature and various versions of faith.

The Woman of Stars and Mountains (world premiere) by Santiago Esteinou reveals the prejudice and discrimination suffered by women in Mexico, through the story of an indigenous woman who spent ten years in a psychiatric clinic.

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The Woman of Stars and Mountains by Santiago Esteinou.

>>Film Forward

The competition section >>Film Forward, which welcomes films that defy convention with a bold and daring cinematic language, includes ten films competing for the >>Golden Alexander >>Film Forward, worth 6,000 euros in cash, and the Silver Award, worth 3,000 euros in cash, in the 25th edition of the festival:

A Common Sequence (international premiere) by Mary Helena Clark and Mike Gibisser explores the boundaries between the natural and unnatural within a changing context.

Avaton (Greece)  by Irini Karayannopoulou and Sandrine Cheyrol focuses on the rigid rules of Mount Athos that prohibit women from entering, establishing a spiritual exclusion.

Blue Bag Life (european premiere) by Alex Fry, Rebecca Lloyd Evans and Lisa Selby revolves around a story of loss and abandonment to contemplate the notion of motherhood and the harsh reality of addiction.

Dogwatch (Greece) by Gregoris Rentis sails the Somali coast to bring us a little-known world, the day-to-day life of the mercenaries who protect the ships from pirate raids.

Herd (world premiere) by Michel Negroponte He looks at a herd of cows, as well as a series of images that comment on our links with the Earth.

Inside My Heart (international premiere) by Saskia Boddeke revels a powerful story of willpower to overcome the obstacles put in our way by our body and soul.

Iron Butterflies (european premiere) by Roman Liubyi focuses on the drama of the plane crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014 and the suspicion of a war crime.

Starring Jerry As Himself (international premiere) by Law Chen se debate entre ficción y documental, para destapar la historia del padre del productor, reclutado por la policía china, como agente infiltrado. Stoker (Grecia), de Stelios Bouziotis, a través de nostálgicas instantáneas y vídeos caseros, saca a la superficie una serie de secretos familiares bien ocultos, abordando una carta de perdón y aceptación de la pérdida.

The Sharpness of the Scissors (world premiere) by David Marcial Valverdi combines her personal experiences in Buenos Aires in the nineties with the diary of her lovers.

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Herd de Michel Negroponte.

The 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival hosts a unique and multifaceted tribute to observational documentary under the title “The Art of Reality: Beyond Observation”, showcasing legendary films of world cinema, which redefine our vision and interpretation of the world, as well as of life.

On the 80th anniversary of the departure of the first train from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz, the Festival honours the memory of the city’s Jewish community through the tribute “Adio Kerida: From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz – 80 Years”. Furthermore, tribute is also paid to the work of Austrian documentary filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter, as well as to Stavros Psyllakis, ten of whose films will be screened.

The Festival is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport, as well as the MEDIA programme and various sponsors such as Fischer, which promotes the Audience Award, Aegean and Jameson.

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La SinglaSimon Lereng Wilmont25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

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