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Special Guest Alexander Payne Starts off Chicago’s Greek Film Festival

CHICAGO, IL – The FilmHellenes organization, in association with the National Hellenic Museum, hosted their Greek Film festival kick-off event on June 23 in the Museum’s Dr. Mary Dochios-Kamberos Special Events Hall. {50028}
“The National Hellenic Museum and its beautiful new building are proof and testament of the commitment of the Chicago Greek-American community to Greek culture,” said Connie Mourtoupalas, National Hellenic Museum Director.” At the Museum, it is our mission to not only celebrate Greek culture, but to introduce Greek culture to the wider community, and by partnering with FilmHellenes, to not only host their kickoff event, but to help them showcase and screen Greek films we are able to do just that,” she added. The event, meant to start 2012 Chicago Greek Film Festival, included a tribute to Greek director, and Academy Award winner, Alexander Payne.
“We could have not asked for a better person than Alexander Payne to kick off the Greek Film Fest Chicago’s 2012 schedule,” said Zoe Iltsopoulos Borys, Vice President of the FilmHellenes. “Alexander was genuine, sincere, and shared his passion and experiences with the crowd that made it authentic of what it is to be a celebrated filmmaker,” she added. Payne was presented with an honorary FilmHellene Award that was inspired by a prop used in the opening and closing scenes of his film Sideways. The award’s design was modeled after the Cycladic statuette from the Museum of Cycladic Art, by Panos Fiorentinos.
Payne answered a few questions before mingling with the crowd and talked about Greek filmmaking: “I think that the nicest thing we could do is to encourage our fellow Greeks to become individually developed artists no matter what story they want to tell. If it’s telling the immigrant story then awesome but ultimately each story has to tell the story of that artist’s own heart and I think that’s how I interpret Hellenic storytelling. That the Greek elements inside of all of us will come out without trying if simply a degree of artistry is encouraged.”
FilmHellenes President and Co-Founder Niko Franghias described a FilmHellene as “someone who has passion for Greek cinema and has passion for filmmakers of Hellenic ancestry worldwide. Passion is that little craziness that makes us go out and do things. Passion is action. So, welcome FilmHellenes.”
FilmHellenes Board Member Dino Vlahakis announced the festival dates: October 4-8, at the following venues: Gene Siskel Film Center, National Hellenic Museum, and Pickwick Theatre. The preliminary lineup includes the following feature films and documentaries: Fish-n-Chips by Ilias Dimitriou, Welcome to All Saints by Sotiris Goritsas, Unfair World by Filippos Tsitos, Kisses to the Children by Vassilis Loules, The Other Town by NefinDinc, and Nostos by Nicolas Panoutsopoulos.
The event featured music by Rythmos and was catered by Chicago’s 9 Muses Restaurant.
The FilmHellenes organization is a not-for-profit alliance of media people, filmmakers, educators, businesspersons, diplomats and others who are dedicated to identifying, promoting, and celebrating Greek filmmaking talent no matter where it originates.

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