The 63rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which takes place both in physical and online venues, has unveiled its full program: one of the most dynamic and stimulating festivals that EL HYPE has the pleasure of covering for this year’s edition, with a program whose selection reveals a love of cinema and an eye for cinephiles of the highest level. The event that will bring us together from Thursday 3 to Sunday 13 November 2022 in the Greek city promises a feast that will be appreciated by both critics and the public that fills the cinemas, exhibitions, and parallel events at each session.
Between the opening and closing films of the festival, which are respectively the latest film by Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans, which won the audience award at the last Toronto Festival, and Corsage by Austrian director Marie Kreutzer, starring one of today’s leading actresses, Vicky Krieps, 199 feature films and 68 short films will be screened at the Festival’s historic venues, the Olympion, Pavlos Zannas, and Thessaloniki Harbour theatres (Frida Liappa, Tonia Marketaki, John Cassavetes, Stavros Tornes), as well as at the Makedonikon cinema. In addition, audiences will have the opportunity to watch 93 films online, through the Festival’s digital platform, online.filmfestival.gr.
The director Evi Kalogiropoulou, who won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for her short film On the Throne of Xerxes (2022) and is an artist-in-residence at Somerset House Studios in London, has created the spot for the 63rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival. In her work, five women stand in front of an old, abandoned car, almost frozen and expressionless. The iconic Greek song “Ladadika” (music by Marios Tokas and lyrics by Filippos Grapsas), first performed by the legendary Greek singer Dimitris Mitropanos, plays in the background. However, we cannot hear the voices of the five women who sing it in silence. In accordance with the leitmotif of the festival (“Reconstruction”), a song intimately linked to the city of Thessaloniki is redefined from today’s point of view, where the version of the song bears the signature of Kid Moxie, who adapted the original melody to the female voice, bringing out her aura and the multidimensional aspect of Thessaloniki. The poster of yhe 63rd TIFF’s poster bears the signature of the visual artist Dimitris Trimintzios.
The multi-faceted and splendid Charlotte Gainsbourg will be at the Festival for the screening of her film Passengers of the Night, by Mikhaël Hers, in the Open Horizons section. In addition, an old friend of the festival and of the city of Thessaloniki, Fatih Akin, will accompany the audience at the screening of his latest film, Rhinegold, which recreates the life of the German rapper, businessman and ex-convict Giwar Hajabi. The festival, whose main tribute this year is dedicated to the master Theo Angelopoulos, will also recognise the art and profession of performers and, under the title Time to Act, has scheduled a series of fascinating masterclasses by guests from Greece and abroad, including acclaimed British casting director Debbie McWilliams, with 14 James Bond films to her credit, renowned French agent Laurent Grégoire, who served as the inspiration for the series Call my Agent, which reveals the lesser-known aspects of his work. Themis Bazaka, one of the most prolific actresses in Greek cinema, and Greek casting directors Sofia Dimopoulou and Makis Gazis will also participate, offering valuable tips on preparing young actors and actresses for auditions.
Another of the festival‘s large-scale tributes to indigenous cinema will include the screening of 17 feature and short films from Canada, Brazil and Samoa. On the other hand, Peter Strickland, one of the most daring and provocative filmmakers of the last fifteen years, who happens to have Greek roots, will be present at the 63rd edition of TIFF and will be the subject of a retrospective in which eleven feature and short films have been programmed, including Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and Flux Gourmet (2022). The experimental filmmakers Peter Tscherkassky and Eve Heller, who will attend the event and the former will give a master class, will be honoured in the >>Film Forward section. Two great figures of cinema, the pioneering director and legend of Yugoslav cinema, Aleksandar Petrović, and the most prolific figure of 20th century theatre, Peter Brook, will also be honoured in Thessaloniki, with a focus on his film work.
The official international section of the Thessaloniki Festival includes 11 in-competition films (including two Greek productions) and 8 out-of-competition films. The films will compete for the “Theo Angelopoulos” Best Feature Film Award (Golden Alexander, worth 10,000 euros), the Special Jury Prize (Silver Alexander, worth 5,000 euros) and the Special Jury Prize for Best Director (Bronze Alexander, worth 3,000 euros). The films up for the award are A Piece of Sky by Swiss director Michael Koch, Blue Jean by Georgia Oakley, I Have Electric Dreams (Valentina Maurel), Listen (Maria Douza), Narcosis (Martijn De Jong), Plan 75 (Chie Hayakawa), Silence 6-9 (Christos Passalis), The Dam (Ali Cherri), Thunder (Carmen Jaquier), To the North (Mihai Mincan) and Wolf and Dog by Cláudia Varejão.
Eight films will be screened out of competition: Axiom by Jöns Jönson, Lola by Andrew Legge, Love According to Dalva (Emmanuelle Nicot), Robe of Gems (Natalia López-Gallardo), Rodeo (Lola Quivoron), The Five Devils (Léa Mysius), The Sparrow (Michael Kinirons) and War Pony (Gina Gammell & Riley Keough).
In addition, the Meet the Neighbours programme will include ten films, including two Greek films, competing for the Golden Alexander (cash prize of 8,000 euros) and the Silver Alexander – Special Jury Prize (4,000 euros): Ashkal (Youssef Chebbi), Behind the Haystacks (Asimina Proedrou), Dirty Difficult Dangerous (Wissam Charaf), Klondike (Maryna Er Gorbach), Luxembourg, Luxembourg (Antonio Luckich), Black Stone (Spiros Jacovides), Safe Place (Juraj Lerotic), The Taste of Apples is Red (Ehab Tarabieh), Under the Fig Trees (Erige Sehiri) and Valeria is Getting Married (Michal Vinik).
The >>Film Forward competition, in which Peter Tscherkassky and Eve Heller will be honored, as mentioned above, includes a total of 11 films, including two productions from Greece, which are competing for the Golden Alexander and the Silver Alexander – Special Jury Prize: A Human Position (Anders Emblem), Little Love Package (Gastón Solnicki), Bastards (Nikos Pastras), Dignity (Dimitris Katsimiris), My Emptiness and I (Adrián Silvestre), Phantom Project (Roberto Doveris), Piaffe (Ann Oren), Retreat (Leon Schwitter), Runner (Marian Matías), Tommy Guns (Carlos Conceição) and Unrest (Cyril Schäublin).
The Immersive/VR competition is back with a bang, hosting 8 films that will be screened at the Glass House (in the Port of Thessaloniki) and will compete for the €2,000 prize. In addition, the immersive installation White Dwarf, created by Yolanda Markopoulou, will be screened out of competition. We will also discover the most dynamic and innovative film trends in the Open Horizons section, and the best Balkan films in the Balkan Survey section, without forgetting the special screenings.