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Closing Ceremony of Thessaloniki Film Festival


The 49th TIFF's journey which started 10 days ago reached its final
destination on Sunday, November 23rd with the closing ceremony at the
Olympion hall.

Despina Mouzaki, director of TIFF thanked all the personnel and the
volunteers of TIFF, the press, the critics, the jury and all the
organizations that helped towards a successful 49th TIFF. She also
thanked the film makers by saying: 'Thank you for trusting us with your
films and for being present to 49th TIFF. We are looking forward to
next year's 50th anniversary'.

The closing ceremony was presented by Konstantinos Kontovrakis. The
first award, the Greek Film Critics' Association Award presented by the
Association's president Andreas Tiros, went to the film The Night
Fernando Pessoa Met Constantine Cavafy by Stelios Charalambopoulos.
Andreas Tiros noted: 'Greek documentaries are getting better every
year. Stelios Charalambopoulos' film mixes truth and fiction in a
creative way'.

The Greek Union of Film Television and Audiovisual Technicians Award
was awarded to the film Without of Alexander Arvaras. The director
noted: ‘This award gives me strength to carry on and it is an honor for
all the technicians who have worked for the film'.

Konstantinos Kontovrakis noted that this year the TIFF sold more than 160,000 tickets.
Martha Kontovraki, marketing and PR director of Athinaiki Zythopoiia
presented the FISCHER Public choice award for the Balkan Survey section
(2,000 Euros) to the film Turneja (The tour) by Goran Markovic. The
FISCHER Public choice award for Greek Films 2008 (3,000 Euros) went to
Exile Island by Elias Yannakakis and Evi Karabatsou and the FISCHER
Public choice award for a film in the International Competition section
(3,000 Euros) went to Le bruit des Gens Autour (Sunny Spells) by
Nokia General Manager Ioannis Tsagadas appointed ex aequo the Nokia N
series award to the projects: America Square by Yiannis Sakaridis and
False witness by Iglika Triffonova. This year the prize money was
raised to 16,000 Euros due to the ex aequo decision.

Thessaloniki's Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos appointed the Cinema and
the City Award (10,000 Euros), offered for the first time by the
Municipality of Thessaloniki, to Terence Davies for his film Of Time
and the City.

The Woman and Equality Award (5,500 Euros), offered by the General
Secretariat for Gender Equality, a division of the Hellenic Ministry of
the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, was presented
by Ifigenia Katsaridou to Snijec (Snow) by Aida Begić. ‘Throughout the
film the role and power of women is highlighted in times of conflict as
in everyday life', pointed out Mrs. Katsaridou

The Ministry of Macedonia -Thrace Award: ‘Everyday life: Transcendence
or Reconciliation' accompanied by the prize money of 15,000 Euros was
awarded to Nandita Das for her film Firaaq by the Minister of Macedonia
-Thrace Margaritis Tzimas. ‘This year the Ministry sponsored four films
which included scenery of Macedonia and Thrace with the amount of
140,000 Euros. This program will continue for the year 2009 so young
directors who wish to highlight the cultural and natural beauties of
the region are kindly requested to present their scripts to our
Ministry', stressed Mr. Tzimas.

The last of the institutional awards was the ‘Human Values Award' of
Hellenic Parliament which is accompanied by the prize money of 15,000
Euro. Nikos Stefanou, Secretary General of the Hellenic Parliament and
Dimitris Papagiannis Secretary Special of the Hellenic Parliament
awarded Haile Gerima for his film Teza. ‘The film raises big social
issues which are related to authority's autocracy, propaganda,
ignorance and racism'.

The FIPRESCI Award (The International Federation of Film Critics) went
to Gerardo Naranjo for his film I'm gonna explode (International
Competition Section) and to Panos Karkanevatos for the film Well Kept
Secrets - Athanassia (Greek Films).

The making of the 49th TIFF was screened right afterwards offering images of the preparation days until its closing day.

The closing ceremony went on with the 7 official awards of the jury.
The jury headed by Michael Ondaatje and comprised of Diablo Cody, Yeşim
Ustaoğlu, Lita Stantic, Émilie Dequenne,David Robinson and Dionissis
Savopoulos appointed also a Special Mention to Diasteme for his film Le
bruit des Gens Autour (Sunny Spells).

The Artistic Achievement Award was appointed to Szabolcs Tolnai for his
film Fövenyóra (Hourglass) by Guillermo Navarro, renowned
cinematographer, winner of two Oscar awards. The award was announced by
Dionnisis Savvopoulos who mentioned: ‘my life has taught me that it is
better to accept an award when it is given to you because if you don't
you create a lot of fuss. However, there is no award which can appease
the artist's agony if his work is of any merit. No award will ever
reveal this to you.

The Best Screenplay Award went to Matthew Newton for his film Three
Blind Mice. The award was announced by the popular actor Willem Dafoe
and Diablo Cody, member of the Jury.

Lita Stantic, Argentinean film producer awarded ex aequo Iona Flora and
Maria Dinulescu with the Best Actress Award for their acting in the
film Pescuit Sportiv (Hooked) by Andrian Sitaru.

The Best Actor Award went ex aequo to Sid Lucero and Emilio Garcia in
the film Selda (The Inmate). The award was given to them by Leora
Barbara who stood out as the leading actress of Stella in the last
Cannes Film Festival.

Celina Murga was awarded with the Best Director Award for her film Una
Semana Solos (One Week Alone) by the world acclaimed cinematographer
Giorgos Arvanitis.

Andrian Sitaru was awarded with the Silver Alexander Award and a prize
money of 22,000 Euros for his film Pescuit Sportiv (Hooked) by the
world acclaimed composer, winner of two Oscar Awards, Gustavo

The Golden Alexander Award, accompanied by 37,000 Euros was won by
Iranian director Abdolreza Kahani, for his film Aan ja (Over There).
The award was announced by Michael Ondaatje and given by Theo
Angelopoulos. ‘I dedicate this award to the people of Greece and Iran',
said the Iranian director with emotion'.

After the usual commemorative photograph, the number ‘50‘appeared at
the Olympion Theater's screen. ‘Today we are starting a countdown of
365 days until the 50th TIFF. We are all looking forward to seeing you
again next year', pointed out Mr. Kontovrakis.

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About Thessaloniki

Mcmahon Vanessa

Vanessa McMahon Covered the 13th and 14th, and 16th edition.
Catherine Esway has covered the 12th edition of Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Cécile Rittweger covered the  11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Christine Marik's reported from 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Past coverage from the 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival by Bruno Chatelin.

Through its tributes, it focuses both on discovering filmmakers with a unique cinematic point of view, and on the internationally recognized for their contribution to documentary.

Contributions from Buno Chatelin



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