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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. 



'A TRIP' at 52nd TIFF

A TRIP (2011) producer Ales Pavlin


The Slovenian film IZLET (A TRIP, 2011) by writer/director Nejc Gazvoda and producer Ales Pavlin most recently traveled to the 52nd Thessaloniki Film Festival (TIFF) and screened in competition at 'Cinedays' in Skopje, Macedonia. A TRIP's 'trip' will continue to Goa, India for the Goa Film Festival and then begin its tour in the USA. It is the first feature film (of what promises to be many) for both writer/director Nejc and producer Ales.

I interviewed Producer Ales Pavlin shortly after ‘Cinedays’ in Skopje, Macedonia and here is what he had to say about the journey of making A TRIP.


ME: How did you and Nejc Gazvoda meet? And how did this remarkable journey of your first feature with each other take shape?

ALES: We met through our mutual friend film director and after it Nejc was screenwriter at one of our previous short films. After that I invited him to work together on some project as director. He brought me three scripts, one of them I loved very much and that was A Trip☺

ME: When did you feel in your gut that you had such a success on your hands and such a talented young director, to boot?

ALES: I believed in this project very much from its beginning, but really smelled possible success after first Cannes market screening, and definitely after fantastic response from the audience at World premiere at Sarajevo Film Festival.

ME: The film is adventurous and yet haunting at the same time. It really sticks with the viewer long after seeing it. What can you tell about the film to people who haven’t seen it, without revealing too much?

ALES: I would say that it is a generation road movie, three best friends from high school remember the past and confront fears of the future. Shot in only 14 days for less than$250,000. Rich story with strong central performances.

ME: The casting is crucial in this powerful character driven drama. Was it a difficult film to cast?

ALES: No, it wasn’t difficult at all. All three actors are schoolmates of director at film and theater academy together, so he knew their work and their abilities already. Even though the story (published in Nejc Gazvoda’s first book) was written before he knew them, he wrote characters and dialogues in script having them in mind as cast.

ME: Due to the nature of the problems of the characters in the film, what can you say about how the generation represented in the film that tackles issues both local to Slovenia and yet universal?

ALES: The director wanted to make a film about his generation, about their problems, and he wanted to make a film with lots of emotions, but important subjects. He did excellent job in representing his generation in Slovenia, but believe (it is already proved on all international festival screenings) that it works very internationally.

ME: You told me when we met that the director really understands this twenty-something generation that you do not. What do you think is different or has changed since your own generation?

ALES: Almost everything. I was slightly younger than they are now, when we felt that we can change “our world”. Berlin Wall was destroyed, Yugoslavia was divided, we got our own small country Slovenia, we got capitalism instead of communism and we had strong belief in better tomorrow. As said, I don’t know their generation very well, but what I can notice is lack of vision and feeling, that they can't change anything. We felt we can change everything.

ME: I have never seen a film, which represents Slovenia like this one. In a way, your film kind of puts Slovenia on the map for film, maybe drawing a lot more attention to the country for the arts. How do you feel about this?

ALES: Felt very proud hearing your observation and believe the film will be interesting to world audience.

ME: What has it been like to be received so well all over the world in only a few short months?

ALES: It’s a great feeling and also an important recognition for us since a lot of pure and sincere emotions were invested in it. Desperately waiting for local theatrical launch January 19, so it can be proved also in audience figures.

ME: The film premiered in Sarajevo and now it has gone all over the world. For a first feature you are off to a great start. Where will the film be going next?

ALES: After Sarajevo film went to film festivals in Hamburg, Warsaw, Montpellier, Arras, Zagreb, Sao Paulo just to mention few. While we are speaking it is on a way to 42nd International Film Festival of India, Goa and there are coming invitations from many festivals still to come. Just few days ago we confirmed Trieste and Vilnius. And USA is still waiting for us, of course.

ME: Can you discuss anything about your next project with Nejc Gazvoda?

ALES: It is a project with working title “Dual” and it is a love story. It is very international orientated project with international female main role and if everything goes as planned we will shoot it in second half of 2012.

ME: Thanks Ales. Well, many people don’t realize it takes talent and passion to be a good producer so it has been great talking to you. Huge congrats to all of you! I loved your film! See you soon!


The Slovenian film IZLET (A TRIP, 2011) by writer/director Nejc Gazvoda held its world premier in Sarajevo this year at the 17th Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF). The film screened in competition and was nominated for Best Film. In only four months of touring festivals, the film has been nominated for Best Film in several festivals around the world and won the award for Best Feature Film at its national Slovene Film Festival by the Slovene Film Critics Association.


Interview by Vanessa McMahon, November 20, 2011

music video from film, although it's meant to say 'New Wave Slovenia'


















Producer Ales Pavlin (A TRIP, 2011) and Michael Fassbender at SFF 2011


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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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