NEW YORK – The 12th Annual New York City Greek Film Festival (NYCGFF) concluded on October 23 with the presentation of awards for best short film and best feature-length film as well as a special tribute to renowned actor Giorgos Kimoulis at the historic Friars Club in Midtown Manhattan. Among those present were the Consul General of Greece in New York, Konstantinos Koutras and his wife Popita Pavli, Consul General of Cyprus in New York Alexis Phedonos-Vadet, Consul of Greece Lana Zochiou, Atlantic Bank President and Chairman of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) Nancy Papaioannou, HACC Vice President George Zapantis, the filmmakers, and supporters of the festival.
NYCGFF general and artistic director, Maria Tzobanaki, gave the welcoming remarks, thanking all those in attendance for their support, and then announced the winners. Stathis Galazoulas’ documentary, My Mother, the Tobacco Grower (Mana Mou Kapnofitissa), won for best short film. HACC President Markos Drakotos presented the award along with a $3,000 prize which was accepted on the director’s behalf by actress Fiona Georgiadi. The film tells the story of Galazoulas’ grandmother Chrisoula who had worked in tobacco fields since childhood. In December 2014 she went along with his brother Chris to watch a play about the history of tobacco in the city of Agrinio, bringing a forgotten era back to life and allowing the residents to reminisce about the city’s past.
The feature-length documentary Nikos Papazoglou: Me and My Shadow by Mihalis Aristidou and Ioannis Grigoropoulos won the Audience Award, receiving the most votes from audience members. The film follows a group of friends on a journey to get to know Papazoglou, the person behind the music, visiting the places where he lived, loved, and composed. The film is a road trip all over Greece from Athens to Nisiros and Thessaloniki where music is the guide.
Director Nikos Perakis accepted the award and $5,000 prize for best feature length film for Success Story and brought screenwriter Katerina Bei, art director Lina Patsiou, and actress Fiona Georgiadi up to accept the award with him. The film is set against the background of a country on the brink of crisis as two worlds collide: the over-heated bourgeois milieu of Pandoras, an intellectual psychiatrist with political ambitions, and the humbler, but no less ambitious world of Georgina, a beautiful child of the working-class, but also a talented actress whose career is taking off. A chronicle of betrayal, conspiracy and intrigue, this “grey” comedy takes place during the first years of the Greek crisis.
Renowned actor Giorgos Kimoulis was then honored his contributions to Greek culture and the arts and a short video presentation highlighted his remarkable life and career. Anthoula Katismatides, the presenter for the awards ceremony, introduced Peter Fields, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights who spoke about Greece’s long history of contributions to the arts and the wonderful efforts of the festival to promote the Greek cinema. Fields then presented the award to Kimoulis, noting that although he does not speak Greek himself, the work of great actors like Kimoulis transcends language. In his acceptance speech, Kimoulis spoke Greek, noting that actors should speak in the language they dream in and he dreams in Greek. He thanked all those involved with the festival and singled out the Greek community living abroad for its support of Greece and especially Greek culture, noting that Greece “produces great artistic products and without your strength these products cannot be promoted.”
Tzobanaki then thanked all those who made the festival possible, the sponsors, supporters, staff and volunteers, as well as the audience members.