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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. 



Mohamed Al-Daradji and the Press


51st TIFF: Mohamed Al-Daradji press conference (12/9/2010)


Mohamed Al-Daradji, a member of the International Jury, as well as a guest of honour of the 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival, gave a press conference on Thursday, December 9th.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival Director, Mr. Dimitris Eipides welcomed the awarded director. “The greatest satisfaction one can receive from holding a Festival is to discover and promote young directors who have an appeal for the audience. Mohamed Al-Daradji has a lot to give and has already gained international recognition, as he was recently awarded the title of Middle East Filmmaker of the Year by Variety. I believe that his work portends a good future for the rest of the Arab filmmakers.”

On his part, Mohamed Al-Daradji pointed out that: “The Thessaloniki Festival is a link between Europe and the Arab world, it is a bridge that unites two worlds.”

Regarding the political aspects of his work, the director explained that: “I have been asked a lot whether I am a Shiite or a Sunnite. Others say that I have been given money by the British, the Americans or the Kurds to make the film. I respond to them that I am an Iraqi. In my film Son of Babylon, I gave names to my characters, such as Ahmed or Abraham, that are not of Shiite or Sunnite origin. Recently, during a screening of the film, the spectators were separated in two sides, according to their political convictions. Some express the opinion that it would be better if I made my films elsewhere, like Morocco or Jordan. But if we choose this path, who will be left to make movies about Iraq?”

As he referred to the awards he has received all over the world, Mohamed Al-Daradji underlined that: “I won’t say no to success, but this is not my objective. The goal is to manage to change the world or at least the reality in my country, through my films.”
When asked to comment on the reactions that followed the screening of the film in Iraq, as well as in the USA, the director replied that: “1800 people showed up at the screening of the film that took place in Baghdad. Despite the fact that the movie had no sound due to technical problems, people were thrilled. In the USA, I experienced some highly emotional moments, as just after the screening, mothers who had lost their sons in Iraq, came close to me and hugged me.”

Finally, the director referred to the harsh reality cinema has to face at this moment, in Iraq. “The country has no film industry, as it lacks infrastructure. I am among the few filmmakers left who still try to make movies by ourselves. Consider that out of the 275 cinema halls that existed before the war broke out, not a single one is left standing. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that a certain amount of movies that will find their way to international festivals will be made each year, in the near future.”


TIFF press release...





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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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