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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. 


 


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On 'Son of Babylon'

‘SON OF BABYLON' (2010) is a fiction film based on reality about three weeks following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the beginning of the Iraq War. Writer/director Mohamed Al-Daradji spent seven years on this poetic masterpiece that touches on the timely and hypersensitive subject of the Iraq War and the country now trying to pick itself up from devastation and ruin.

 

This is a story not of war, however, but of the broken family and a lost civilization. It is a dark road movie following a grandmother and her grandson, Ahmed, throughout Iraq in search of her son and his father, Ibrahim. They look everywhere in this war torn land and the more they search and dig beneath the surface for the truth of their country in ruin, the more dark secrets they uncover. In a land rich with history, culture, faith and pride, and in a place where the proud hanging gardens of Babylon once reigned, this is a country with little trace of anything now but skeletons and sand, a land which has lost all its roots and must be rebuilt from the beginning and alone by the son of Babylon.

 

When asked during the Q and A of his film in Thessaloniki, Mohamed explained: "We are using the film as a raising a campaign to help raise awareness of the missing people of Iraq."  There are mass graves all over Iraq with thousands of unidentified bodies. He explained that the main protagonist in his film is not an actress but a real woman on a crusade herself to find a missing family member that disappeared during the war and never was found. "All the people in Son of Babylon are a ‘son of Babylon'... Ahmed, the little boy, me, everyone that is the new generation building a new Iraq".

 

During a press conference I asked Mohamed: "You say that your film is not a political film and it is more a narrative human film. Can I ask you... Do you consider yourself to be Ahmed, the little boy then who says in the film to his grandmother ‘I don't want to be a soldier...I want to be a musician'?"

 

Mohamed replied: "Yes, I am Ahmed. A lot of things you see with Ahmed are about me and my childhood finding out things as I grew up. So, yeah, you can sense there is something in Ahmed that I was trying to build it up through my childhood through my way of thinking a lot of things. I mean, I am a filmmaker I am selfish so I am trying to portray my life and my people. This is my view and how I see it."

 

 

Written by, Vanessa McMahon Dec 12, 2010

Read more about Son of Babylon here: http://www.filmfestival.gr/default.aspx?lang=en-US&loc=1&&page=607&newsi...

See trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbNfnnKEDmg

 

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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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