NEW YORK – Building on the success of the inaugural New York Greek Film Expo last year, the Hellenic Film Society USA (HFS) presented a wide range of award-winning feature films, documentaries, and shorts, May 3-11, at the Directors Guild Theater in Manhattan, the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, and the Manhasset Theater in Nassau County, drawing an estimated audience of more than 2,500.
At the closing of the Expo, the Hellenic Film Society announced its two annual awards. The Audience Award was given to Kazantzakis, a dramatization of the life of one of Greece’s greatest writers, directed by Yannis Smaragdis.
The 2019 Alexis Mouyiaris Memorial Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film went to actress Marisha Triantafyllidou for her role in Her Job. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Actress for her role.
The nine comedies, dramas, and documentaries were particularly topical this year, addressing women’s issues in the restaurant business, as well as the current political and social transitions in Greece. Also well received were the life stories of 20th century cultural giants (Nikos Kazantzakis, as well as opera legend Maria Callas), both of whom had a profound impact on the arts in both Greece and the United States.
“We are delighted at the audience reaction to the fine films we presented at this year’s Expo,” said Jimmy DeMetro, president of Hellenic Film Society USA. “Their enthusiastic response to the films and their insightful questions to the directors in our Q&A sessions demonstrate that Greek films resonate not only with Greek-American audiences, but audiences of all nationalities.”
Seven directors whose films were presented at the Expo came to New York from Athens, Paris, Montreal, and Los Angeles to participate in receptions and post-screening Q&A sessions with the audience. Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras hosted a special reception in honor of the New York Greek Film Expo on Monday, May 6 at the Greek Consulate, also attended by HFS board members.
For the first time, HFS hosted a panel discussion during the Expo. Media attorney and film producer George Stephanopoulos moderated a conversation among filmmakers about the new financial incentives designed to encourage on-location shooting in Greece.
Following a capacity-crowd screening of the documentary Last Song to Xenitia, the Polyphonic Group of the Academy of Hellenic Paideia performed traditional Greek folk songs from Epirus which played a pivotal role in the film.
Celebrity chef Maria Loi, featured in the documentary, A Fine Line, about the role of women in the restaurant business, hosted a tasting prior to the screening at the Directors Guild Theater. She and director Joanna James participated in a Q&A that touched on a wide range of women’s workplace issues in the field.
Following the screening of Cliffs of Freedom, HFS hosted an opening night celebration at Brasserie 8½, where film fans had the opportunity to meet the visiting directors and pose for photographs.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is the lead supporter of the Hellenic Film Society USA. The New York Greek Film Expo is made possible with generous support from the Onassis Foundation USA. Additional support is provided by the Kallinikeion Foundation.