MELBOURNE | The 21st Greek Film Festival of Melbourne it was a huge success. It opened to a sell-out crowd on October 15 with Pantelis Voulgaris’ Little England, a sublime period drama that took audiences on a visual journey of the island of Andros. In Melbourne to present their film and launch the Festival was lead actor Andreas Konstantinou and producer Giannis Iakovidis.
“This film was made with an enormous amount of love on the island of Andros”, said Konstantinou. “We’re humbled to be here on the other side of the world presenting our film at this important cultural event. By supporting our films, you give Greek artists the strength and inspiration we need to continue to create beautiful work”, Konstantinou went on to say.
Thrilled with the large crowd, Greek Community president Bill Papastergiadis noted that “the opening night of the Festival was a sell-out. This highlights the importance of film and culture to Greek-Australians. The Greek Community of Melbourne is proud of its initiation of and involvement in this Festival for 21 years.”
He thanked all the sponsors of the festival including Delphi Bank and its director George Tacticos and the Greek National Tourism Organisation. “The Greek Film Festival is a core component of the cultural offerings of the Greek Community of Melbourne. But our sponsors are our life blood,” he said.
Mr Papastergiadis also highlighted the quality of the films included in the GFF’s program. “As I have said at the openings of this film Festival for the last few years, the current films on offer, are a product of the present economic and social situation in Greece,” he said. “They tell the particular story about the effect of these social economic factors on the daily lives of Greeks. We witness Greece not in the way that postcards depict Mykonos. It’s worth the journey because it provides a window for us to look into contemporary Greece.”
Following the screening of Little England, guests enjoyed food and drinks in the Como, dancing past midnight to local band Gyftoi Lite. Taking guests by surprise, Greek-Cypriot singer Mihalis Hatzigiannis and partner Zeta Makripoulia snuck into the party, staying to mingle and take photos with fans.
Also the closing night was also a huge success. In total over 10.000 people had the opportunity to watch the films presented during the festival.
Very successful was also the Greek Australian Short Film Festival which was part of the Greek Film Festival.
Featuring a selection of riotous comedies, daring dramas and insightful documentaries, the 2014 program showcased the best in contemporary Greek cinema.
An unconventional romantic comedy about modern-day relationships, Committed forces two strangers – a handsome 30-something under pressure to propose to his girlfriend and the devastatingly beautiful ‘Bride’ – to confront their hang-ups about love, marriage, insecurity and commitment. The brilliant Xenia, Panos H Koutras’ cross-Greece romp that follows two Albanian brothers as they journey from Athens to Thessaloniki in search of their biological father, made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
A lowly baker leads a double life as a contract killer by night in the crime noir Stratos, the latest feature from award-winning director Yannis Economides. An idealistic father confronts his own moral and ethical beliefs when fighting for justice for his family in The Enemy Within. Labelled “a heck of a film” by The Huffington Post, Standing Aside, Watching made a splash at the Berlin and Toronto International Film Festivals. A Greek tragedy that borrows beautifully from the Hollywood Western, Yorgos Servetas’ film “grabs you by the neck” – indieWIRE.
Winner of the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, Miss Violence is a striking tale of a bourgeois family whose apparent civility is unmasked when Angeliki jumps from the apartment balcony on her 11th birthday. September, Penny Panayotopoulou’s cinematic assault on grief and loss, stars the “beautifully subtle” (The Hollywood Reporter) Kora Karvouni as Ana, whose life is turned upside-down when her beloved dog Manu passes away. A tender and restrained melodrama with “a magnetic lead performance” (The Hollywood Reporter), At Home features breathtaking cinematography of Marathon and the Aegean Sea.
A pair of insightful documentaries that explore the Greece’s socioeconomic climate in unusual ways, Love in the Time of Crisis documents the cataclysmic effects of the Greek crisis on personal relationships, while The Other Human follows an ordinary man doing extraordinary things in crisis-ridden Athens with his mobile soup kitchen.
The Greek Film Festival started in 1993 in Melbourne, with the State Film Centre hosting the inaugural GFF. It drew an attendance of over two thousand people, thereby laying the foundations for future growth. After eight continuous years at the State Film Centre, the Festival organisers were approached by Palace Cinemas, who suggested moving to a more prominent venue. As a result, the 9th Greek Film Festival secured a new location, Palace Cinema Como, and subsequently a broader audience. In 2003, the Greek Film Festival became a national event, and currently all main Australian cities participating in the festival circuit. Recent initiatives, such as the Greek Student Festival, and the Australian Greek Short Film Festival cultivate and nurture a younger generation of film-makers, both from Australia and overseas.