ΑΤΗΕΝS – The Athens Avant Garde Film Festival, the Film Archive’s favourite annual event has returned once again, this time in hybrid form (whilst always adhering to public health protocols).
The festival has been organized with the funding of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the NSRF Operational Programme, in collaboration with the Embassy of Portugal and the Instituto Camões, the Embassy of France and the Institut Français, the Embassy of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Culture Institute, the Embassy of Italy and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Atene, the Department of Communication and Media Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Technopolis of the Municipality of Athens and finally, the digital platform of ERT, ERTFLIX.
In view of this year’s exceptionally rich programme; which you will have the opportunity to observe from the 26th of May till the 15th of June, in all three venues of the Film Archive (Lais Open Air cinema, Venue A, Venue B) 110 films will be screened. Meanwhile, select screening programmes will be available online at online.tainiothiki.gr.
The 12th AAGFF aspires to showcase cinema’s freshest and most groundbreaking creative voices—of yesterday and today.
The programme will include discussions, masterclasses and Q&A’s after select screenings, with the participation of the films’ directors, who will also introduce their films to us.
As the president of the Greek Film Archive and artistic director of the Festival, Maria Komninos, noted in the catalogue introduction: “The period of preparation for the 12th AAGFF trough the ongoing pandemic and the war in Ukraine, led us to question the role of art in difficult times and intensified the sense of the return of the tragic in Europe. So we focused on film directors who were inspired from subaltern and despised forms of knowledge, emerging from the dispossessed of our world. At the same time, cinema itself remains a horizon of vocations and alternative visions cultivated by institutions such as the film archives and the special festivals that aim at a redefinition of cinephilia”.
On Thursday 26th of May, the festival will commence at the Greek Film Archive (8 pm) with the screening of Alcarràs by Carla Simòn, recipient of the Golden Bear Award at this years Berlin Film Festival (distribution: Cinobo). Restricted number of tickets available.
As far as they can remember, the Solé family have spent every summer picking peaches from their orchard in Alcarràs—a small village in Spain. But this year’s crop could very well be their last, as they face an imminent eviction. The new plans for the land include cutting down the peach trees and installing solar panels; which will cause a rift within the large but tightly-knit family. For the first time; they seem to face an uncertain future and risk losing much more than their home. The film received high praise for its outstanding performances, not only for the children performers but also for the elderly actors in the eight decade of their life
The closing ceremony will take place on Wednesday the 15th of June at the Film Archive, with the restored masterpiece Phantom of the Paradise by Brian De Palma (“Restored & Beautiful” section). A new director’s cut, including re-edited footage left on the editing room floor, before its release in 1974.
One of the very first rock operas, based on the novel The Phantom of the Opera, which tells the story of a young and gifted composer; who when a diabolical producer steals his music, transforms himself into a masked phantom, haunting the theatre of his nemesis. De Palma asked Paul Williams to score the film—giving him the necessary freedom, to allow for his talents to unfold through all kinds of popular music, influenced from the 1950s to 1970s.
The opening and closing ceremony will be directed by awarded short film director Thanasis Neofotistos.
Includes 9 multi award-winning narrative fiction, documentary and hybrid films, by directors from all over the world (France, Philippines, Paraguay, Brazil-Portugal, USA, Bolivia-France-Qatar, USA-Singapore, India and Austria) who are experimenting with new narrative forms. The 12th AAGFF will present in its Greek Premiere the new film by Lav Diaz, History of Ha—in the presence of the director, who will be attending the festival. The great cinematic auteur from the Philippines, a seminal figure of international cinema renowned for his daring personal gaze, through which he analyses the history of civil strife and war in the Philippines—has been honored with awards, from the world’s greatest festivals.
A further 8 more films will be screened: The great movement by Kiro Russo (Bolivia), Pedro by Natesh Hegde (India), ΕΑΜΙ by Paz Encina (Paraguay), Dry Ground burning by Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós (Brazil), Beatrix by Milena Czernovsky and Lilith Kraxner (Austria), Nuclear Family by Erin Wilkerson and Travis Wilkerson (USA), The Cathedral by Ricky D’Ambrose (USA) and See you Friday, Robinson by Mitra Farahani (France, Switzerland).
All films of the International Competition are Greek Premieres, and we will have the pleasure of hosting the majority of filmmakers during their film’s screenings, to introduce them to the public: In addition to Lav Diaz, in attendance will be Mitra Farahani, Kiro Russo, Joana Pimenta and Lilith Kraxner.
The jury of the International Competition, is made up of: Cecilia Barrionuevo (artistic director of Mar del Plata—one of the most important festivals in South America), Petros Sevastikoglou (director) and Dimitris Theodoropoulos (director of photography and professor at the film department of the AUTh and HOE).
The winner will receive 10,000 euros from Authorwave, in post production services for their next film. The award will be presented during the closing ceremony, on Wednesday 15th of June at the Film Archive.
-RESTORED & BEAUTIFUL
The most beloved section of the AAGFF, allows us to rediscover—classic, rare, forgotten or disregarded—jewels of world cinema, which will be screened on the silver screen. Two of which are early silent films, directed by women: Germaine Dulac and Musidora—making the case, that the female cinematic gaze had a strong presence, in France of the 1920s.
The films will be accompanied by live original music by Minas I. Alexiadis. This year’s festival poster, has been inspired by Buster Keaton’s,The Navigator (1924)—a seminal and classic comedy of the 1920s.
This year’s programme will include 9 restored films.
On Thursday 9th of June (11 am) a discussion will take place, at the ‘Theo Angelopoulos’ Auditorium at the Institut Français, on the use of new technologies on the preservation, restoration and digitisation of rare films, from the annals of film heritage. Speakers: Maria Komninos, Electra Venaki, Céline Ruivo, Ehsan Khoshbakth, ElenaTammacarro
The 12th Athens Avant Garde Film Festival will be presenting a series of exceptional and interesting tributes:
THROUGH WOMEN’S LENS
The Greek Film Archive will present a large tribute to important female cinematographers of Greek and international cinema. The festival will welcome, Babette Mangolte; collaborator of Chantal Akerman, Agnès Godard; collaborator of Claire Denis, Daria D’Antonio collaborator of Paolo Sorentino; and Greek directors of photography: Olympia Mytilinaiou; close collaborator of Panos H. Koutras (Dodo which will be screening in Cannes, in the following days); Katerina Maragoudaki, the first ever female cinematographer to be awarded at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and last but not least, the younger and greatly talented Christina Moumouri.
On Friday 3rd of June (5pm) the aforementioned directors of photography will participate in an interesting discussion on the female cinematographic gaze, whilst on Sunday 5th of June (6pm) Olympia Mytilinaiou will give a masterclass at the Film Archive. Both events will take place at the Film Archive.
George Stevens (1904-1975) left his indelible mark in the golden era of Hollywood. He was nominated 5 times for the Best Director Oscar, winning twice, in A Place in the Sun in 1951 and Giant in 1956. From the 1940s till the mid-1970s, he authored some of Hollywoods greatest hits starring its brightest stars: Carry Grant, James Dean, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor… During World War II, George Stevens found himself at the warfront, and with his camera succeeded in shooting the only colour film of the war by the Allies. Stevens essentially became the first person to show the public, a colour view of the greatest invasion in the history of warfare, when the allied forces landed in Normandy… As well as images from the overwhelming scenes of concentration camp prisoners, being freed from Dahau, in April 1945.
JONAS MEKAS: 100th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY
The Lithuanian Jonas Mekas (1922-2019), is considered by many to be the Pope of American avant-garde cinema. He served independent experimental cinema, from a variety of crew-positions (he was a director, cinematographer, editor, actor but also poet and writer); whilst he also founded and lead Anthology Film Archives—one of the largest cinematic archives in the world. A collaborator of Andy Warhol, John Lennon bust also Salvador Dalí—Jonas Mekas (who left us in 2019), showed great indifference for conventional plot and characterisation, and instead chose to focus on ceaseless experimentation, with new means and technologies. This tribute is carried out on occasion of his 100th birthday, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Greece.
Babette Mangolte is a French-American photographer, director, artist and cinematographer who lives and works in the USA, since 1970. A friend of Jonas Mekas, she began work as director of photography in experimental films—the most well-known of which were Chantal Akerman’s (Jeanne Dielman) and Yvonne Rainer’s (Lives of Performers). She also directed important experimental documentaries focusing on the pioneering artistic scene of contemporary dance, performance and theatre in New York; on the act of looking in cinematic creation, and also on the American landscape. The 12th AAGFF has invited this truly important filmmaker in Athens, to present a carefully selected portion of her multidimensional, artistic oeuvre, to the audience
—and to give a masterclass. (Saturday 6th of June, 6pm, Greek Film Archive. Coordinator: Eva Stefani).
SATYAJIT RAY: 100th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY
On occasion of the 100th birthday of Satyajit Ray, the 12th AAGFF will honour one of India’s greatest cinematic auteurs. The influence of Italian Neorealism bearing over his work is evident from his very first films, especially the “Apu Trilogy”, which we will be screened in our tribute. Ray showed the world that Indian Cinema is not confined to Bollywood. All three films in the trilogy are scored by Ravi Shankar. Ray moves effortlessly between India’s tradition and modernisation, and poses meaningful questions; such as women’s standing in society, colonialism and the rigid structures and rules of India’s culture and society.
10 YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF THEO ANGELOPOULOS
The Greek Film Archive will honour the great Greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos (1935-2012), on occasion of the 10 year anniversary, from his sudden and accidental death, during the shooting of his final and incomplete film, The Other Sea. The public will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the visual poet’s masterpieces, on the silver screen—just as one should view his work of grande-scale, with which Maria Komninos notes: “he aspired to redeem the defeated in the Greek civil war, and bring to the fore not only immigrants and the dispossessed from the Balkans, but also from other challenged regions of the world”.
On occasion of the tribute, a roundtable discussion will take place on Thursday 2nd of June (5pm) at Technopolis—with special guests, Greek and foreign directors and scholars—on the cinematic heritage of Theo Angelopoulos. The discussion will take place in Gasholder 1 – Auditorium “Miltiadis Evert”, by courtesy of the Technopolis of the Municipality of Athens. The professors Andrew Horton, Maria Komninos, Irene Stathi as well as the directors Pere Alberó and Margarita Manda, will be in participation.
ROBERT MANTHOULIS AND HIS TIME
One of the pioneers of the renewal of modern Greek cinema and true trailblazers of documentary filmmaking in Greece—the auteur, author and poet Robert Manthoulis, left this world a few weeks ago. The Greek Film Archive, in collaboration with Robert Manthoulis had completed the digitisation and restoration of his historic film, Face to Face, which will be screened alongside the first episode of “Drifting Cities” in the 12th AAGFF—in collaboration with ERT’s digital platform, ERTFLIX, which will screen the entire series.
THE ETHNOGRAPHIC CINEMA OF REIS and CORDEIRO
António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro, a couple in cinema and real-life, are two of the leading figures in radical Portuguese Cinema, who emerged in the aftermath of the 1974 uprising against the Salazar regime and influenced directors of the new generation of filmmakers in the 1980s and 1990s, such as Pedro Costa. The 12th AGFF, recommends and introduces their oeuvre.
AFTER THE CATASTROPHE: CINEMA AT THE TIME OF THE 6th EXTINCTION
A tribute on the “other” films on catastrophe: a natural catastrophe which engulfs a Mexican village, the sanguine failure of the revolution in Syria, the looming sinkage of a cruise ship. But also military disasters in Florent Marcie’s A.I. at War (2020) (guest of the 10th AAGFF), shot in the still smouldering ruins of Raqqa (Syria) and Mosul (Iraq), as sporadic gunfire continued and bodies remained unburied. Is humanity only capable of destruction? What happens after catastrophes—can there ever be an after?
AFTER THE REVOLUTION: IMAGES OF THE NATION-STATE
On the occasion of the 200 years since the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the problems of the formation of nation-states that mark the history of the last three centuries, the tribute’s films—digitally restored in their majority—shed a light on various trajectories of nation-building in Greece, the Balkans, Italy, Latin America and Africa. Cinema represents this adventure in its own language. We will see films such as Byron: Ballad of a Demon by Nikos Koundouros, On the time of Hellenes by Lakis Papastathis and Alexander the Great by Theo Angelopoulos—but also films by the great Luchino Visconti (The Leopard), Elia Kazan, Koçi, Alea (on the Cuban Revolution) and others—amongst them Sarah Maldoror, the first female black-woman, to create anti-colonial cinema in Africa.
As a tribute to the plight in Ukraine, the festival will screen the documentary Babi Yar. Context (2021) in its Greek premiere, by the award-winning director Sergei Loznitsa (In the Fog, Donbass, A Gentle Creature, etc.), which was awarded at Cannes with the Golden Eye award. Masterfully using archive material, the film tells the story of the massacre of thousands of Jews at Babi Yar, in Ukraine, during World War II.
mAPs: MIGRATING ARTISTS PROJECT – SHORT DANCE FILM COLLECTION
This year and for the first time, the Athens Avant Garde Film Festival has the pleasure of hosting dance films, created in between the boundaries of screen-dance and fiction.
The films are a result of the cooperation of five European countries, titled “mAPs – migrating Artists Project” supported by “Creative Europe” and focuses on the wider themes of “Power”.
A unique collection of “societal dance films”, addressing issues of contemporary society—involving the communities, in each stage of the creative process.
A discussion will follow the screening of the film (30/5, 20.00, Greek Film Archive).
Tickets (VENUES): 5 euros (general entrance). Bundles: 5 screenings/20 euros, 10 screenings/30 euros. Offer: Students – Children – Disabled – Unemployed – Disadvantaged – 65+: 10 screenings/25 euros. Tickets/cards will be available starting Wednesday, May 25th.
KYIV, Ukraine — The award-winning film "20 Days in Mariupol" made its premiere in Ukraine on Saturday, when it was seen for the first time by some of the Ukrainian medics and first responders who were chronicled in the documentary about how Russian forces bombed and blasted their way into the port city last year.
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