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Cinema

San Francisco Greek Film Festival Wraps, Awards Announced

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The 2022 San Francisco Greek Film Festival (SFGFF) wrapped its 19th annual event, held April 8-16, returning to in-person showings at Delancey Screening Room in San Francisco, as well as continuing its popular virtual screenings. The in-person Festival screened 17 short films and nine full length feature films, while the virtual component featured 12 shorts, 10 documentaries, and three full length feature films – all by Greek and Cypriot filmmakers from around the world. All films were suitable for American audiences, with English subtitles. The Festival team selected these works from over 350 film submissions that were received this year.

SFGFF audiences responded to surveys at every screening, making their voices heard in the process to select the audience choice awards, known as the Astron Awards. A panel of nine film/art industry professionals deliberated to bestow Jury Awards in three categories.

The Astron Audience Award for Feature Film went to Smyrna, My Beloved, directed by Grigoris Karantinakis, and for Short Film to From the Balcony, directed Aris Kaplanidis and Ilias Roumeliotis.

In the Jury Awards, Best Narrative Feature went to Holy Emy, directed by Araceli Lemos; Best Narrative Feature Honorable Mention: The Sisters Karras, directed by Micah Stathis; Best Narrative Feature Honorable Mention: 18, directed by Vassilis Douvlis; Best Documentary: The Students of Umberto Primo, directed by Alessandra Maioletti; Best Documentary Honorable Mention: +1, directed by Argyris Liapis; Best Short: To Vancouver, directed by Artemis Anastasiadou; Best Short Honorable Mention: A Summer Place, directed by Alexandra Matheou; and Best Short Honorable Mention: From the Balcony, directed by Aris Kaplanidis and Illias Roumeliotis.

My Beloved Smyrna original movie poster.

SFGFF gives special thanks to all the jurors: multimedia and special events pioneer babaLou, writer-director-producer-designer-lyricist-composer Nicholas Frangias, filmmaker and Associate Professor Kara Herold, artist and film industry veteran Jerry Rosenblum, film producer Henry S. Rosenthal, film industry professional Rita Roti, Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Allie Light, musician and filmmaker Dale Sophiea, and filmmaker and health care teacher Liza Xydis.

Response from SFGFF audiences was enthusiastic, with very good in person attendance all week, a celebratory Opening Night with a screening of the award-winning drama Holy Emy followed by a reception, and a sold-out Closing Night event.

The Closing Night feature film Smyrna, My Beloved, the biggest film production ever done in Greece, and the SFGFF screening was its first showing in the United States. LGBTQ characters and stories had a strong presence in this year’s Festival, with several short films and the features The Man with the Answers and Aligned.

Many distinguished guests visited for the Festival, including filmmakers who participated in Q&As with the audience. Film guests included Holy Emy director Araceli Lemos, Aligned director Apollo Bakopoulos, The Sisters Karras director Micah Stathis and co-producer/lead actress Clare Louise Frost, Mama director Dimitris Zouras, Flik Flok director/lead actress Aggeliki Pardalidou, and Hamam director Barbara Dukas.

Industry guests included Alexandros Lizardos Romanos of Greek TV channel ERT, Festival poster designer Apollon Bollas, Tina Mandilara, and Panos Gakis.

The San Francisco Greek Film Festival directors and organizers are Kleon Skourtis, Maria Nicolacakis, Katerina Mavroudi-Steck, Angela Karantzas, Tatiana Drakaki, and Panos Gakis. The Festival is produced in conjunction with 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.

More information about SFGFF is available online: https://grfilm.com/.

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