LAGFF2020 Orpheus Winners Announced and Festival Extended

The National Herald

The 14th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival takes place October 1-15. Photo: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

LOS ANGELES – While there is no Red Carpet Closing Night and Orpheus Awards Gala at this year's Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF), there is an abundance of interest and excitement for the films and Award Winners.

Orpheus Winners were selected by the internationally- drawn jury made up of Martichka Bozhilova, Yule Caise, Colin Campbell, Khavn De La Cruz, Matt Kaszanek, Kirsten Kawamura, Robert Koehler, Akis Konstantakopoulos, Konstantia Kontaxis, Sherman Ong, Vasilios Papaioannu, and Nassos Vakalis.

“There were many incredible films and talent this year,” said Festival Director Aris Katopodis. “Our distinguished jury panel looked at the films very carefully. The awards were very close.”

Due to popular demand, Katopodis extended the Festival by six days from October 15 to October 21 to allow pass holders and supporters more time to watch 55 films.

The insightful events which included discussions and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and industry leaders during the Festival are also available for viewing online:

In the first Masterclass, the Emmy Award-winning showrunner and television director Greg Yaitanes shared an inside look at his production process with insights on developing a new show, running a writer's room and crafting a show bible. He spoke about an upcoming project based on the ancient Greek myths and the Olympian gods. He shared the materials related to Olympians as an example for the filmmakers participating in the online event. When asked how his Greek heritage informs his work, Yaitanes told The National Herald that he is a third generation Greek-American and there's a community with other Greek-Americans in the industry, and the common ground and aspects are instantly relatable in terms of the family perspective. The big, complicated Greek family figures into his work as do aspects of the relationships between men and women he saw growing up in a Greek family. Yaitanes noted that he has a Greek passport and would like to shoot in Greece, but a project hasn't yet come up.

The National Herald

LAGFF also presented an online discussion with the cast and filmmakers of My Name is Eftihia. (Photo: Eleni Sakellis)

In the Masterclass on Oct. 14 with Jim Gianopulos, Paramount Chairman and CEO, he discussed the current situation in the film industry during the pandemic and his own life and career. He noted that many blockbuster films, like the Mission:Impossible sequel, scheduled for 2020 have now been pushed to 2021. His advice for those with a passion for filmmaking, “Never give up… never stop believing in yourself.”

Nia Vardalos spoke about writing and noted that the best thing that happened to her when she first moved to Los Angeles was that she could not get an acting job which led to her writing the screenplay for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which she then tried to send to studios which ignored her. Vardalos then adapted it into a stage play which Rita Wilson saw and then sent her husband Tom Hanks to see it, and the rest is film history.

This year's LAGFF Orpheus Award winners were:

Siege on Liperti Street won for Best Feature and Best Director for Stavros Pamballis.

My Name is Efthihia, the emotionally charged film about the incredible life of poet and lyricist Eftihia Papagiannopoulou, was honored in the acting category with Katia Goulioni winning for Best Performance.

Cosmic Candy won the Special Jury Award for Director Rinio Dragasaki.

Index was awarded as Best Short Film, while Electric Swan received the Special Jury Award (shorts), and The Distance between Us and the Sky received the Honorable Mention (shorts).

As Far as the Sea won Best Documentary, while Wax and Feathers received the Special Jury Award (documentaries), and I, Tony, the Honorable Mention, (documentaries).

Heatwave received the Honorable Distinction in Animation Film.