The dynamic of domestic cinematic talent and the reach of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival were highlighted once again during its 64th edition, which was characterized by the rich program of screenings and tributes to acclaimed artists, the great participation of professionals and audience, while the presence of Italian star Monica Bellucci and Greek-American director Alexander Payne added a special glamour to the Festival.
EKOME participated with a booth in the event and with great pride watched many of the films that participated in the 64th Festival and have been supported by the cash rebate investment incentive, to receive distinctions. The President and CEO of EKOME Leonidas Christopoulos placed particular emphasis on the developmental dimension of the Festival, underlining the role it plays in the networking of audiovisual industry professionals and the promotion of the Greek creative community abroad.
The President and CEO of EKOME participated as a speaker in the panel on: “How the Greek audiovisual ecosystem supports creativity”, which took place in the context of the new section of the Market “AGORA Series” that focuses on the creator and is dedicated to TV series.
As L. Christopoulos noted, after the launch of EKOME in 2018, a particular boost was given to the audiovisual sector and the production of new ideas. However, as he underlined, a prerequisite for this growth to continue is the creation of a strong ecosystem, with sustainable financial tools, stability, and proper forecasting, so that all stakeholders know exactly the environment in which they invest and create. In addition to the cash rebate financial tool L. Christopoulos referred to the other areas of activity of EKOME, such as the creation of a Repository as well as the planning of training programs. “We need to incorporate the experience of previous years, improve financial tools and have a common strategy to support the audiovisual sector in Greece” he concluded. You may watch the talk here.
This year’s AGORA Series featured episodes from the series “Milky Way” by Cannes winner Vasilis Kekatos and “17 Threads” by Sotiris Tsafoulias, which have been supported by the cash rebate investment incentive managed by EKOME.
Significant awards for cash rebate supported films
EKOME is proud of the talented creators who are not only awarded in festivals for their work, but also find distribution abroad, in theaters and global platforms.
In the International Competition Section, for the first time in 30 years, a Greek film won the grand prize. The Golden Alexander “Theo Angelopoulos” was awarded to Sofia Exarchou’s Animal, while the leading actress Dimitra Vlagopoulou won (equally) the Best Actress award. Also, the Best Actor award went to Kostas Koroneos for the film Last Taxi Driver by Stergios Paschos.
Animal also won the Crew United Award to a Greek film participating in the international competition, Meet the Neighbors+ and Film Forward programs of the Festival.
The film Fonissa by Eva Nathena, which has also been supported by the cash rebate investment incentive of EKOME, made a special impression on audiences and critics.
Fonissa also won: the Artistic Achievement Award in the Meet the Neighbors+ section, the new award established by Finos Film for a Greek film premiering at the Festival, the first Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) award for a Greek film premiering at the Festival, the FISCHER Audience Award for a film in competition “Meet the Neighbors+”, the FIPRESCI Award of the International Federation of Film Critics for a Greek film premiering at the Festival and the award of the Greek Film Centre for a debut director in a Greek production that premieres in the official program of the Festival.
The film The summer of Carmen by Zacharias Mavroeidis won the awards: Mermaid Award for the best LGBTQI+ film of the Festival, Best Film of the Youth Committee of Thessaloniki University Students as well as the FISCHER Audience Award for Greek Film – “Michael Cacoyannis”.
The film The Last Taxi Driver by Stergios Paschos won the award of the Panhellenic Association of Film Critics for the best film of the Greek Program (in addition to the Best Actor award in the International Competition).
The ERT Original Music Award, in a Greek film that premieres at the Festival, won (equally) Dolls of Dresden by Alexis Tsafas.
The film Polydroso by Alexandros Voulgaris won the award given by Ioannis F. Kostopoulos Foundation, to a film in the Greek program premiering at the Festival.
The Special Prize of the Youth Committee of Thessaloniki University Students was awarded to the film The Rhapsodist by Nicolai Hamel.
The Greek Film Center’s Location Manager prize was awarded to the film Little Things That Went Wrong by Haris Vafiadis.
In addition to the feature films that were supported by the cash rebate financial tool and participated in competition sections, the official program of the 64th Festival included award-winning short films from the International Festival of Short Drama Films, an institution with which EKOME has a strategic partnership. In this section, the films Anorthodox by Konstantinos Antonopoulos, produced by Either/Or Productions, and Midnight Skin by Manolis Mavris, produced by Avion Films, were screened.
The EKOME stand
During the Festival, EKOME executives were at Agora Warehouse C and informed professionals about the financial tools cash rebate 40% & tax relief 30% as well as all the initiatives undertaken by EKOME aimed at the promotion of the domestic audiovisual sector and the attraction of audiovisual works to Greece.
Continuing its steady support to Thessaloniki International Film Festival, EKOME notes with satisfaction that Greek creators – with the right impetus – implement projects capable of moving and the audience beyond the Greek borders, while contributing decisively to the promotion of the domestic cultural production.