14th Documentary Festival, Thessaloniki 2012

Text published in the site of International Federation of Film Critics (F.I.PRES. CI.) http://www.fipresci.org

The Festival, economic crisis and greek documentary

Documentary Festival of Thessaloniki “Images of the 21st century“  was held once again with apparently lower budget, despite the vast economic crisis that blights Greece.Budget became an issue since it lurk the risk that budget shrinkage would have an impact on the Festival’s quality. It seems that the people in charge, including everyone from the art Director to every single employee have won the bet! The 14th Documentary Festival of Thessaloniki, including almost 200 documentaries in all of its divisions (programs), managed not only to preserve its qualities, but to improve them. Public participation exceeded by almost ten thousand the previous participation number. In 2011, 44.000 spectators attended the festival, while this year spectators reached the 55.000. However, the number of the attendants is not a qualitative measure but a quantitative one. It becomes a qualitative measure, if we take into account the positive public opinion for the movies that have been watched during the ten days of the Festival. People of all age groups, queuing for a ticket, holding a program of the documentaries.

We can firmly support that, despite the problems, festival had high quality standards, the organization was excellent, as well as the parallel events. Cooperation of the guests and the public with the stuff of the festival was also excellent.

Economic crisis is, almost everyday, Greeks chit chat. No wonder that the two documentaries in the opening and closing ceremony of the Festival dealt with the economic crisis. The opening ceremony the documentary with title “Indignados” by Tony Gatlif was presented and the closing ceremony included the movie Italy: Love it or Leave it by Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi that won the audience award. Both movies, naturally, were intensely applauded at.

As it comes natural, crisis has infused in the greek documentaries that participated in the Festival. A sample of the movies that are referring to the multiple faces of the economic crisis are mentioned below: Krisis by Nikos Katsaounis and Ninas Maria Paschalidou, Oligarchy by Stelios Kouloglou, 155 sold by Yorgos Pandeleakis, Children of the Riots by Christos Georgiou, Tomorrow Would be Another Day by Stefanos Mondelos, Nour-You Can Find Light Everywhere  by Nikos Soulis, Toxic Crisis by Omiros Evagelinos, Waiting for the Barberians by Costas Stamatopoulos, and last but not least, West Dream by Morteza Jafari. Besides these, there are more greek documentaries that relating to the crisis.

Documentary production in Greece over the past decade is positive and promising and it has been confirmed once again this year. However, I would like to note something negative-on my personal view- that concerns the participation of many producers that have been made exclusively for television projection in the official programs. I think that the management of the Festival should create a separated category for those documentaries.

                              Translation: Christin Capari – Mastrogeorgopoulou

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