LAGFF Presents Stella in Honor of Melina Mercouri, Free Events with Filmmakers

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) is virtual this year and runs through October 15. With an impressive line-up of films, the festival also presents unique free events featuring a variety of guests, highlighting the work and careers of Hollywood luminaries including Jim Gianopulos, Nia Vardalos, and Greg Yaitanes, and a selection of acclaimed Greek filmmakers whose work is featured in this year’s festival.

Among the films to be screened, LAGFF, in honor of Melina Mercouri’s 100th birthday, presents a remastered digital copy of the classic 1955 film Stella by Michael Cacoyannis, starring Mercouri and Giorgos Fountas, with music by Manos Hadjidakis. This is a story of a fierce love affair clashing with the heroine’s equally fierce need for independence. The film begins streaming on Thursday, October 8, 7 PM, and will be available for the duration of the festival.

The LAGFF Short Film Panel: Festival Darlings Collection takes place on Friday October 9, 11 AM PST / 2 PM EDT / 9 PM Greece. The discussion features the filmmakers from LAGFF’s Shorts: The Film Festival Darlings Collection. Filmmakers scheduled to appear include Konstantinos Antonopoulos (Postcards from the End of the World), Konstantina Kotzamani (Electric Swan), Vasilis Kekatos (The Distance Between Us and the Sky), Nicolas Kolovos (Index), Efthimis Kosemund Sanidis (All the Fires the Fire), and Thanasis Neofotistos (Route-3). Their films have recently screened to great acclaim around the world at festivals including Cannes, Venice, Locarno, Clermont-Ferrand, and Drama. The panel will be moderated by Yannis Sakaridis, filmmaker (America Square) and Artistic Director of the Drama Short Film Festival.

On Saturday, October 10, 11 AM PST / 2 PM EDT / 9 PM Greece, LAGFF presents My Name Is Eftihia: Q&A with the Director, Cast and Crew, a discussion with the director Angelos Frantzis, the actors Karyofyllia Karabeti, Katia Goulioni, Pygmalion Dadakarides, Andreas Konstantinou, and Phoivos Delivorias, and the award-winning makeup artist Dimitra Giatrakou. The film won eight awards, including Best Film, from The Hellenic Film Academy, and is also a hit with the Greek audience with a box office of over 600,000 tickets sold.

On Sunday, October 11, 11 AM PST / 2 PM EDT / 9 PM Greece, join LAGFF for the Q&A with Syllas Tzoumerkas, the director whose feature film The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea makes its West Coast Premiere at the 2020 LAGFF. Syllas is a writer, director, and actor whose films have screened at over 80 festivals around the world including the Locarno Film Festival, the Berlinale Panorama, and at the Venice Critics Week. The conversation will be moderated by filmmaker Argyris Papadimitropoulos whose film Monday recently premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. Syllas and Argyris co-wrote the film Suntan (2016).

Masterclass with Greg Yaitanes takes place on Tuesday, October 13, 11 AM PST / 2 PM EDT / 9 PM Greece. The Emmy Award-winning showrunner and television director will share an inside look at his production process with insights on developing a new show, running a writer’s room, and crafting a show bible. Yaitanes has directed and produced nearly 300 hours of television including most recently serving as executive producer and director of Castle Rock for J.J. Abrams and Stephen King and The Twilight Zone with Jordan Peele hosting. It was his work on House, M.D. that earned him an Emmy Award in 2008 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. Between House and Banshee, Greg has led his team to 29 Emmy nominations and 6 wins, including the first Emmy nomination for content aired exclusively online for the Fox series, Drive. The conversation will be moderated by filmmaker and International Project Discovery Forum director Araceli Lemos (Holy Emy)

Masterclass with Jim Gianopulos takes place on Wednesday, October 14, 10 AM PST / 1 PM EDT / 8 PM Greece. Gianopulos, Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO, oversees the studio’s film and television operations worldwide, including production, marketing, distribution and all other facets. A first-generation Greek-American, Gianopulos has been a leading figure in the global entertainment industry for more than 30 years. Previously he served as Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, overseeing Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios. He began his career as an attorney specializing in entertainment law. LAGFF co-founder Angeliki Giannakopoulos will moderate the discussion.

Masterclass with Nia Vardalos takes place on Thursday October 15, 11 AM PST / 2 PM EDT/ 9 PM Greece, and offers an inside look into the creative process of Academy Award-nominated writer and actor Nia Vardalos focusing on her work as a screenwriter, playwright, and author. Vardalos recently wrapped three sold-out seasons on stage in her New York Times Critic’s Pick play Tiny Beautiful Things at The Public Theater in New York and at the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles. Published and licensed by Samuel French, Vardalos’ adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book is one of the Top Ten Most Produced Plays of 2019/2020. Vardalos wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Original Screenplay and Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, and won the Independent Spirit and People’s Choice awards. She is also the New York Times Bestselling author of her memoir Instant Mom and donates all proceeds from the book to adoption charities. To date, the information from the book has placed 1700 children in permanent homes. Along with her onscreen work, Ms. Vardalos has also written and directed I Hate Valentine’s Day, co-written Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks, and written My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. The conversation will be moderated by producer Dorothea Paschalidou (Worlds Apart).

More information is available online: http://lagff.org/.


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