Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Reveals 2018 Program

The 12th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival takes place June 6-10. Photo: Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

LOS ANGELES – The 12th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) has revealed its 2018 program selection after reviewing a record 175 film submissions. The Festival runs June 4-10 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and includes 11 feature films, 15 documentaries, 27 shorts, industry-lead roundtables, panels, and masterclasses. The full schedule of films is available online at: lagff.org.

LAGFF celebrates the best new films from Greek filmmakers worldwide and promotes Greek cinema and cultural exchange while bridging the gap between the filmmakers and Hollywood. “Greek Cinema continues to impress and produce,” said Aristotle Katopodis- Artistic & Festival Director. “Greek filmmakers keep winning major awards at international film festivals and we are proud to host over 50 of the best and most innovative Greek films from around the world, for the 12th time. Greece is vigorously entering the incentives arena for international productions, and Filming in Greece is one of our themes to explore this year.”

The themes for 2018 are:

*Music and how it informs Greek films.

*Greeks in the Academy- A tribute to the Greek artists who have received an Academy Award or Oscar nomination since 1935.

*Filming in Greece- the new financing laws, incentives, and rebates.

The LAGFF’s Opening Night begins with the screening and West Coast premiere of 1968, directed by Tassos Boulmetis, at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater, on June 4 at 7 PM. The film tells the story of how the well-known Greek basketball team AEK, founded in 1924 by refugees from Constantinople, beat SLAVIA of Prague to win the European Cup at Kallimarmaro Stadium, and changed Greek history forever.

The evening launches the strategic collaboration of LAGFF and the newly established UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Boulmetis (a Bruin alumnus) and a reception in his honor.

The West Coast premiere of Marios Piperides’ comedy, Smuggling Hendrix, will open LAGFF at the Egyptian Theatre Hollywood on June 6. The award-winning film recently garnered “Best International Narrative Feature” at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Filmmakers will be in attendance, and the red carpet evening includes the screening, a catered reception in the Egyptian’s iconic courtyard, and a special performance by popular singer Ariana Savalas.

In Smuggling Hendrix, Yiannis, a fading musician, is planning to leave crisis-ridden Cyprus for a better life abroad. His plans are put on hold when his dog Jimi runs away and crosses the UN buffer zone to the occupied side of the island. Through the simple story of a man who searches for his dog, Smuggling Hendrix gives a vivid demonstration of how the fences we build, both real and imagined, between ourselves and others, can be broken down once we recognize the familiarity in the face of the unknown.

LAGFF’s Closing Night, June 10, features the West Coast premiere of Thodoris Atheridis’ Perfect Strangers, at the Egyptian, followed by the star-studded Orpheus Awards Ceremony, a catered Greek reception, and live entertainment under the stars in the courtyard.

This delightful comedy follows seven friends who meet for dinner on a Friday night. An idea emerges. Every text and call they receive through the night must be shared with the whole group. When the game forces complete transparency, secrets are revealed and relationships are deeply threatened.

The Orpheus Awards are presented to the outstanding new films in the dramatic, documentary and short film categories. The theme of this year’ ceremony is “The Academy of Greeks,” paying tribute to Greek artists who have received an Academy Award or Oscar nomination since 1935. The Best Supporting Actor for West Side Story, George Chakiris, is one of the honorees this year with actress Rita Moreno presenting his Award.

The Closing Night Gala in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre follows the Orpheus Awards with live music by Greek Rebetiko Trio- Dimitris Mann (vocals, bouzouki, piano, accordion) together with Taso Comanescu (guitar, vocals) and Alexis Cohen (baglama, tzoura, guitar, vocals) will introduce the origins and history of Rebetiko music and its migration to the United States.

More information and tickets, including the 6-day All-Access Gold Pass, are available online at: lagff.org.