GR US

San Francisco Greek Film Festival Runs Oct. 3-10, Includes Topkapi Drive-In

The National Herald

The 17th Annual San Francisco Greek Film Festival runs October 3-10 with an in-person drive-in screening of Topkapi and free film screenings online. (Photo: Courtesy of the San Francisco Greek Film Festival/ Poster designed by John Mavroudis)

SAN FRANCISCO – The 17th Annual San Francisco Greek Film Festival (SFGFF) takes place October 3-10 this year and includes the in-person drive-in screening of Topkapi, the classic 1964 Oscar-winning film starring the legendary Melina Mercouri.

With the exception of the drive-in event, all other screenings will be online and available free of charge. In this time of need, SFGFF gives back to the community that has supported them for the past 17 years, with this year’s free, virtual Festival.

The SFGFF drive-in screening of Topkapi will take place on Sunday, October 4, 7 PM, at Par 3 at Poplar Creek in San Mateo, allowing for a completely safe in-person moviegoing experience. All ages are encouraged. Admission is $30 per car entry fee. Food and beverage will be available to pre-order. Tickets can be purchased at: https://sfgff-topkapi.eventbrite.com.

“During this difficult time in our world, our team felt strongly it was important to continue to celebrate the Greek and Cypriot films produced this year,” says SFGFF Director Maria Nicolacakis. “We may not be able to come together in person at the film festival, but we will bring the films to your homes. The week-long online streaming of the films, which is a first for us, will be provided free of charge as an expression of gratitude to our community that has supported us for the past 17 years. We hope that this along with the drive-in experience, another first, will be enjoyed by all.” This year’s Festival poster is designed by John Mavroudis, a Greek-American award-winning artist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mavroudis' work has been seen on many magazine covers, including TIME, The New Yorker and The Nation. His work was twice named by the American Society of Magazine Editors as “Cover of the Year,” in 2006 for his New Yorker illustration on the 5th anniversary of September 11 attacks, and in 2018 for the TIME cover of Christine Blasey Ford during the Senate hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. He created the current TIME cover, which marks nearly 200,000 U.S. deaths due to COVID-19. Mavroudis has designed many posters for Fillmore Auditorium concerts, rock band Moonalice, and past years of the San Francisco Greek Festival. His website is https://www.zenpop.com

Last year’s exciting, successful SFGFF was highlighted by screening at the Castro Theatre for the first time, for the opening night program including Olympia, the documentary feature on Olympia Dukakis that is now in virtual cinemas. As the programmers and directors have worked since then to prepare for this year, they maintain the spirit that “the show must go on,” and are thrilled to present this year’s 17th annual SFGFF.

Started in 2004, the SFGFF is the first and longest-running Greek film festival in the U.S. SFGFF is dedicated to recognizing, supporting, and promoting the best film work by Greek and Cypriot filmmakers from around the world. With screenings of new, innovative, and highly acclaimed films and different events around the annual film Festival week, the SFGFF seeks to inspire, engage, and entertain its diverse audience. Throughout its history, the Festival has also featured screenings of classic films. Through the powerful medium of film, the Festival sustains, elevates and promotes Greek culture, history and language in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. The SFGFF has showcased some of the most highly regarded Greek/Cypriot films produced over the past 17 years. Since its founding, the film festival has showcased nearly 320 movies, hosted nearly 50 filmmakers as guests, and inspired, engaged and entertained over 9,000 attendees from San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. 

Among the films on the SFGFF program for 2020 are Entwined, directed by Minos Nikolakakis; My Name Is Eftihia, directed by Angelos Frantzis; Siege on Liperti Street, directed by Stavros Pamballis; and When Tomatoes Met Wagner, directed by Marianna Economou.

Also on the program are several impressive short films including A Jar of Nuts - Cyprus, 2019, 17min, directed by Savvas Stavrou; Electric Swan, directed by Konstantina Kotzamani; and In the Room, directed by Yeorgia M. Sotirchou.

As additional SFGFF programming and details are confirmed, they will be announced on the organization’s website, and Facebook page.

The SFGFF is funded through sponsorships by individuals and businesses, grants and ticket sales. Entirely run by volunteers, the Festival staff works throughout the year to plan the event, supported by an Advisory Board of experienced and respected community and industry leaders. Proceeds of the film Festival benefit the Modern Greek Studies Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit which is committed to enriching knowledge and appreciation of Greece’s linguistic, literary, cultural and historic contribution to the Western World. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the 2020 SFGFF.

More information is available online: grfilm.com.