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Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Dailies from the Thessaloniki international Film Festival

The 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival was concluded with great success, receiving the audience’s love in every possible way. More than 80,000 viewers and movie industry professionals watched the films and attended the Festival’s online events, whereas a large number films of were sold out. Agora, the Festival’s development branch, also achieved a great attendance, offering support to Greek cinema through a series of new initiatives, actions, and awards.

The 61st Festival hosted a series of exhibitions and visual art events, within the framework of TIFF’s main concept, “Intimacy: a modern tyranny”. Works of art, video mapping, as well as The Glasshouse Project installation adorned the city streets and squares, as well as the Port of Thessaloniki, offering glimpses of joy and hope to the city’s residents, who had the chance to enjoy a touch of art during their scarce walks for exercise, groceries and the covering of basic needs, amidst these hard days we’re experiencing. The goal is for these exhibitions to remain in the city’s public space even after the Festival. 



54th THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. November 1 - 10, 2013. OPEN HORIZONS. will be covering the festival with Dailies, stay tuned for more.

The Open Horizons section focuses on thematically original, aesthetically challenging and socially minded films that represent the most recent trends in worldwide independent production. In addition, the new section Currents is introduced this year, presenting the most experimental and daring works in international cinema today.

50 films form this year’s complete program: 43 films in the section’s core program and 7 films in the Open Horizons Currents section.


A mix of films by established auteurs and first-time directors create the multi-dimensional roster of this year’s Open Horizons main program. The thematic variety of the films is exceptionally varied: youth, innocence and rebellion, familial relationships and disintegration, sexuality, crime, immigration, death and the struggle for survival, are only some of the issues that inspire the Open Horizons filmmakers.

Amongst the films that comprise the section are:

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s new film, Like Father, Like Son (Japan) is a poetic and evocative drama about two families that discover that their sons were swapped at birth; Kore-eda’s signature gentleness is employed to magnificent effect in this exploration of the bonds that constitute a family and of the depths of paternal love. When I Saw You by Annemarie Jacir (Palestine/Jordan/Greece), which completed its post-production in Greece after winning the TIFF Works in Progress award, introduces us to 11-year-old Tarek, a Palestinian refugee in the Jordan Harir Camp in 1967. Jacir’s personal experiences of exile inform the film, imbuing it with emotional authenticity and power.

Matt Porterfield’s I Used to Be Darker (USA), the slow-burning story of a couple about to end their marriage, delicately handles difficult emotional situations, while Odayaka by Nobuteru Uchida (Japan/USA) addresses the devastation and psychological distress caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, through the intimate universe of a young mother constantly worrying about the disaster’s after effects. Its producer and superb lead actress, Kiki Sugino, has been called the “muse of Asian indie cinema”. Jan Hrebejk’s family drama Honeymoon (Czech Republic) takes place during a seemingly perfect wedding, where an uninvited guest causes secrets from the past to be revealed, thus exposing the protagonists’ morals –or lack thereof. Miele (Italy/France), Valeria Golino’s impressively assured directorial debut is the story of a woman who has dedicated her life to assisting the terminally ill in ending their lives. Despite her seeming detachment and tough resolve, the psychological toll of her illegal and ethically complex work can be seen through small cracks, in Jasmine Trinca’s powerful performance. Le Demantelement by Canadian Sebastian Pilote (whose wonderful debut, The Salesman, screened in the competition section of the 52nd TIFF) is again the story of an aging man, this time a farmer who decides to sell his farmstead to help his daughter. Exploring themes of masculinity (albeit a gentle, proud sort), family and a changing world, the director has definitely matured into his own, subtle, cinematic voice. Pilote’s fellow Canadian Denis Cote’s latest Vic + Flo Saw a Bear, wry and quirky, is a lesbian romance that takes place in a Canadian forest, while Robin Campillo’s daring film Eastern Boys (France) explores the unlikely sexual relationship between a middle-aged, well-off Frenchman and a young Ukrainian immigrant. Ali Blue Eyes by Claudio Giovannesi (Italy) rekindles the tradition of Italian neorealism and pairs it with a contemporary, raw sensibility, with the story of the second-generation Muslim immigrant of the title.



Ali Blue Eyes (Ali ha gli occhi azzurri), Claudio Giovannesi, Italy, 100’, 2012

A Long and Happy Life (Dolgaya schastlivaya zhizn), Boris Khlebnikov, Russia, 77’, 2013

A Teacher, Hannah Fidell, USA, 75’, 2013

The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium/Netherlands, 91’, 2013

Carmina or Blowup (Carmina o revienta), Paco Leon, Spain, 71’, 2012

Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (Nebesnye zheny lugovykh mari), Aleksey Fedorchenko, Russia, 106’, 2012

Eastern Boys, Robin Campillo, France, 128’, 2013

The Good Life (Le belle vie), Jean Denizot, France, 93’, 2013

Grand Central, Rebecca Zlotowski, France/Austria, 94’, 2013

Hide Your Smiling Faces, Daniel Patrick Carbone, USA, 81’, 2013

Honeymoon (Libanky), Jan Hrebejk, Czech Republic, 90’, 2012

The Hour of the Lynx (I lossens time), Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, Denmark/Sweden, 93’, 2013

In Real Life (Det andet liv), Jonas Elmer, Denmark, 102’, 2013

It’s All So Quiet (Boven is het stil), Nanouk Leopold, Netherlands, 93’, 2013

I Used to Be Darker, Matt Porterfield, USA, 90’, 2013

The Kampala Story, Kasper Bisgaard & Donald Mugisha, Denmark/Uganda, 63’, 2012

Le Demantelement, Sebastian Pilote, Canada, 111’, 2013

Like Father Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru), Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 120’, 2013

Miele, Valeria Golino, Italy/France, 96’, 2013

Mother, I Love You (Mammu, es tevi milu), Janis Nords, Latvia, 82’, 2013

My Dog Killer (Moj pes killer), Mira Fornay, Slovak Republic/Czech Republic, 90’, 2013

Northwest (Nordvest), Michael Noer, Denmark, 91’, 2013

The Notebook (Le grand cahier), Janos Szasz, Germany/Hungary/Austria/France, 109’, 2013

Odayaka (Odayaka na nichijo), Nobuteru Uchida, Japan/USA, 102’, 2012

Papusza, Joanna Kos-Krauze & Krysztof Krauze, Poland, 131’, 2013

Penumbra, Eduardo Villanueva Jimenez, Mexico, 89’, 2013

The Quispe Girls (Las ninas Quispe), Sebastian Sepulveda, Chile/France/Argentina, 83’, 2013

Rags and Tatters, Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt, 87’, 2013

Rosie, Marcel Gisler, Switzerland, 106’, 2013

The Retrieval, Chris Eska, USA, 94’, 2013

Salvo, Antonio Piazza & Fabio Grassadonia, Italy/France, 108’, 2013

Sanctuary (Faro), Fredrik Edfeldt, Sweden, 88’, 2013

The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard, UK, 93’, 2013

Shirley – Visions of Reality, Gustav Deutsch, Austria, 93’, 2013

Six Acts (Shesh Peamim), Jonathan Gurfinkel, Israel, 96’, 2012

Soldier Jane (Soldate Jeannette), Daniel Hoesl, Austria, 79’, 2012

Stop-over (L’ escale), Kaveh Bakhtiari, Switzerland/France, 100’, 2013

Stop the Pounding Heart, Roberto Minervini, USA/Italy/Belgium, 101’, 2013

Talea, Katharina Mueckstein, Austria, 75’, 2013

The Tears (Las lagrimas), Pablo Delgado Sanchez, Mexico, 66’, 2012

Vic + Flo Saw A Bear, Denis Cote, Canada, 95’, 2013

When I Saw You (Lamma shoftak), Annemarie Jacir, Palestine/Jordan/Greece, 93’, 2012

Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot (Zoran, il mio nipote scemo), Matteo Oleotto, Italy/Slovenia, 106’, 2013



The newest section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival focuses on the most cutting-edge works of this year’s worldwide independent film production. The 7 films that will be screened in the program share an uncompromising attitude towards cinema, and an adventurous spirit of thematic, narrative and formal audacity. They immerse the viewer in their wholly distinctive universes, providing unique cinematic experiences. The Currents section includes:

International premieres Hank and Asha by James E. Duff (USA) and In Here by Mateo Bendesky (Argentina) explore the lives of young people in a contemporary world: the first one via a delightful romance that evolves through video correspondence, and the latter through the middle-class troubles and ruminations of a 20-something man, whose thoughts are the only words the audience ever hears. The family of a father and three daughters with sinister dynamics is the subject of moody Brazilian film The Exercise of Chaos by Federico Machado, while the powerful silent film Voice of the Voiceless by Maximon Monihan (USA/Guatemala) follows a deaf teenager who travels to New York becomes a modern slave in New York. Both films will hold their European premieres during the 54th TIFF.



A Spell to Ward off the Darkness, Ben Rivers & Ben Russell, France/Estonia, 98’, 2013 The Exercise of Chaos (O exercicio do caos), Federico Machado, Brazil, 72’, 2013 Hank and Asha, James E. Duff, USA, 73’, 2013 Hungry Man, Philip Martin, France, 74’, 2012 In Here (Aca Adentro), Mateo Bendesky, Argentina, 68’, 2013 The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (L'étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps), Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France/Luxembourg, 102’, 2013 The Voice of the Voiceless (La voz de los silenciados), Maximon Monihan, 92’, 2013, USA/Guatemala



Edited by Vanessa McMahon



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About Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Industry: CROSSROADS Co-Production Forum,AGORA, script-development BALKAN FUND. Competition for directors with 1st or 2nd films. Golden Alexander Prize 37.000 €

Coverage by Vanessa McMahon, Laurie Gordon



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