25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival: Greek Films

In Film & Series 25 February, 2023

Eva Peydró

Eva Peydró


Between 2 and 12 March 2023, the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival offers its new edition, with physical and online screenings. Its main venues, with the Olympion cinema at the center and the halls of the revitalised cultural complex of the port, will host a total of 237 short and feature films, while the festival can also be followed on the online platform.filmfestival.gr.

The programme of this year’s edition will kick off with the world premiere of the film La Singla, directed by Paloma Zapata, about Antonia Singla, the 17-year-old flamenco dancer who made an international impact in 1965, when she was practically unknown in Spain, setting a record for the festival, bringing together 99 world, international and European premieres. On the other hand, on Sunday 12th, the closing ceremony will take place with the screening of My Pet and Me by Johan Kramer, in its international premiere.

The TiDF, whose 25th anniversary spot is directed by Marianna Economou, is being promoted this year with magnificent posters by Swedish painter and illustrator Daniel Egnéus.

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Of the 61 Greek documentaries selected for the festival, 33 are included in the international programme, in its different sections (International Competition, Newcomers Competition, >>Film Forward Competition, Open Horizons, NextGen). 17 will be screened in the Platform section, 6 in From Screen to Screen, two out of competition as part of the >>Film Forward section, while another two will be included in the section dedicated to Sotiris Danezis.

On the other hand, Filippos KoutsaftisMourning Rock will be universally accessible, both in person and online, with the sponsorship of Alpha Bank, the festival’s accessibility sponsor. Elefsina is a small industrial city located 20 kilometres west of Athens, linked since prehistoric times to the myth most revered by the ancient Greeks, that of Demeter, goddess of agriculture and fertility, and her daughter Persephone. The Mysteries of Eleusis, first celebrated over two thousand years ago, revolved around the cycle of life, offering initiates hope and serenity in the face of death. This sacred land, where cereals, gifts of the goddess, were first cultivated, was the cradle of Greece’s most important industries, with calamitous consequences for the region and the ancient places of worship.

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La Singla (Paloma Zapata, 2023).

With a focus on the most human issues, LGBTQI+, landmark historical and social events that left their mark on contemporary Greece, stories of women’s emancipation and gender-based violence are some of the themes of this year’s Greek documentaries. The advisory committee in charge of pre-selecting the films for the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival consisted of journalist Christos Katsikogiorgos, film expert Yianna Sarri and director Nikos Ziogas.

International Competition

In this section we will watch the films Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods by Angelos Rallis, an environmentally themed story of a 12-year-old orphan girl on her way to Dhaka, along the Brahmaputra River, trying to find her father, from whom she has become estranged, and is among the millions of new climate refugees. Queen of the Deuce by Valerie Kontakos tells the fascinating story of Chelly Wilson, pioneering entrepreneur and unconventional matriarch, who built an empire based on desire, from pre-World War II Greece to her meteoric rise on the Times Square porn circuit in the 1970s. Zakros by Filippos Koutsaftis Zakros, will take us to a tiny dot on the map of eastern Crete, bathed in sunlight and harnessed by the wind. Vanishing glances and attempts at wonder in the labyrinths of time, history, memory and everyday life.

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Mourning Rock (Filippos Koutsaftis, 2000)


ΑΚΟΕ/ΑΜFI: The Story of a Revolution (*Just to sleep on their chest…) by Iossif Vardakis is set in 1977 Greece. A proposed law brings gays and “transvestites” together in a historic event and triggers the creation of the first Greek LGBT movement. Over the next 13 years, AKOE and its magazine Amfi would define the way LGBT Greeks think of themselves. This film celebrates their history and legacy. In the Sky of Nothingness with the Least directed by Christos Adrianopoulos introduces us to the lives of Nota and Ilias, an elderly couple living in different worlds. The only commonality in these worlds is the slow and difficult decay of mind and body.

>>Film Forward

Three films are taking part in this section: Avaton by Irini Karayannopoulou and Sandrine Cheyrol, a reflection on the ban on the presence of women on Mount Athos; Dogwatch by Gregoris Rentis, about the mercenaries who protect ships at risk off the Somali coast from pirates; and Stoker by Stelios Bouziotis, a first-person film about family reconciliation, in three formats and five decades of life, in a cinematic mosaic between the celebration of life and the contemplation of existence.

In the same section, but out of competition, the films Confusion/Diffusion by Floros Floridis and Jeanine Meerapfel, an audiovisual project that emanates from the economic and social turmoil that recently emerged between Germany and Greece and is now spreading around the world; and Maria Tsagkari’s The Man on the Left, which narrates a journey of documentation about her grandfather, the violinist Nikos Syrigos, will also be screened.

En Open Horizons veremos A Dance Class de George Vitsaropoulos; A Direction for Thrush de Antonis Tolakis; Cage Survivor de Irina Boiko; Everything You Say about Me de Evangelia Goula; Exit Within de Yorgos Danopoulos; Five Times A Stranger de Vangelis Efthymiou; Grief – Those Who Remain de Myrto Patsalidou & Maria Louka; Kristos, The Last Child de Giulia Amati, entre otras películas documentales.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Eleusis 2023, European Capital of Culture, invite us to follow a path of culture featuring the work of visual artist Adrian Paci, Syllas Tzoumerkas’ three-day live cinema project and Filippos Koutsaftis’ look at Elefsina.

Here is the complete programme of TiDF25

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25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

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