The Thessaloniki Film Festival’s new initiative, the Evia Film Project, which will take place from 15-19 June 2022, is an innovative, environmentally-oriented programme aimed at culturally reviving Evia and making it a global centre of “green cinema”, showcasing films and ongoing projects, master classes, workshops and pioneering educational programmes, and encouraging networking between filmmakers and audiovisual professionals from the four corners of the world. As an extension of Agora‘s influential activity, this new phase of the Thessaloniki Film Festival aims to function as a film think tank, with the objective of highlighting and promoting film projects aimed at raising awareness of the calamitous effects of environmental destruction and climate change. The Evia Film Project will serve as a springboard for the rebirth of a desolate and traumatised region, triggering a reboot of local society on both a symbolic and practical level.
The project is part of the “Fotodotes” section launched by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports in the wider development framework for the reconstruction and restoration of Evia, following the disastrous forest fires of 2021. With a view to consolidating the Evia Film Project as an Evia-based initiative, the Thessaloniki Film Festival collaborates with the local administration, the cultural institutions based in Evia, the Department of Digital Arts and Cinema of Psachna (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), as well as the Greek Documentary Festival of Chalkida. The project is also supported by the Central Greece Region and the Greek Film Centre.
Within the framework of the Evia Film Project, the new initiative of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Agora opens a new cycle of development activities, alongside its other successful international editions: Agora (held in November during the Thessaloniki International Film Festival) and Agora Docs (held in March during the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival). The aim of this cycle is to highlight new environmentally oriented projects. In this context, fiction meets documentary in two joint programmes featuring six projects in development and five works in progress. From Peru to southern Italy and from Bulgaria to Greece (and Evia in particular), these new projects approach today’s environmental challenges, making their way towards completion and their encounter with the public.
As part of the Agora activity at Evia, a side event has been scheduled: an open debate on the difficulties and challenges facing filmmakers in their sustainability process. Film professionals, as well as the general public, will have the opportunity to listen to the views of six leading experts and discuss the most significant change already taking place in terms of the film industry’s environmental footprint. The Thessaloniki Agora Film Festival focuses for the first time exclusively on the ecological field, opening a further avenue for the realisation of future film projects; at the same time, it takes another step towards building a well-managed and sustainable film industry that will operate throughout the year and develop a wide range of activities.
Evia Film Project kicks off the “green” actions of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, and has already announced the cash prizes accompanying the Agora Green Awards, which amount to a sum of €10,000. Specifically, the Work in Progress Award is accompanied by a cash prize of €6,000, while the Co-Production Award is accompanied by a cash prize of €4,000. The full list of cash prizes will be announced shortly.
The range of projects eligible to participate in the Evia Film Project includes feature-length fiction, documentary, new media and animated films from around the world. All selected projects must have ecological sustainability as a central or broader theme. They must also have reached the editing or post-production stage.
The Agora of the Evia Film Project will present projects from around the world, with Greek and international professionals participating in open discussions focusing on climate-neutral and sustainable film production. The projects to be presented at the Evia Film Project Agora aim to secure co-production and financing. The jury is composed of producer Rea Apostolides, festival curator, producer, programme director and consultant Caroline Libresco and Edvinas Puksta, programmer of the Tallinn Black Nights IFF festival in Lithuania.
In the Work in Progress section, six productions are competing for a prize of 4. 4,000, the Pitch the Doc Consultation Award and the MIDPOINT Institute Consultation Award: Falling Into Silence (György Mór Kárpáti, Hungary), Mankind’s Folly (Yorgos Avgeropoulos, Greece), Resonance (Yordan Petkov, Bulgaria), Sea of Glass (Alexis Alexiou, Greece), Sunken (Dimitris Gkotsis, Greece), Unwritten Land (Natasha Blatsiou, Greece, Estonia).
On the other hand, in the Projects in Progress section, five films are competing for two prizes: the Evia Film Project Image and Sound Award, with 119 Marvila Studios in post-production services, and the Evia Film Project Award, accompanied by a cash prize of 6,000 euros. The selected projects are Harvest Moon (Rama Ayasra, Jordan), Sí Po’ (Madlen Anipsitaki & Simon Riedler, France), This Community Exists (Eliana Otta, Peru), Tirrenica (Rosario Minervini, Italy), Garden (Bojan Tanturovski, North Macedonia).
One of the highlights of the Evia Film Project is the Open Debate on Thursday 16 June at the Melas building in Limni, dedicated to green film production, under the title “Don’t be afraid of the Green Deal: Simple Τips & Smart Αctions”, where top film industry professionals will talk about their track record in producing green films following sustainability guidelines. With the collaboration of moderator Ieva Ūbele, creative producer, responsible for the industry programme of IDFF Beldocs (Lithuania), the following speakers will share their experience and talk about the obstacles, mistakes and solutions they discovered along the way: Alberto Battocchi, Film Commissioner, Trentino Film Commission (Italy), Nina Hauser, Commissioner and consultant for ecological filmmaking, Austrian Film Institute, Eurimage Study Group for ecological filmmaking (Austria), Titus Kreyenberg, Producer, unafilm (Germany), Dietlind Centa Rott, Managing Director, Film Commissioner, Green Film Consultant, LAFC Evergreen Prisma (Austria) and Myriam Sassine, Producer at Abbout Productions (Lebanon).
Information elaborated with the materials provided by the press department of the Thessaloniki Film Festival.