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Thessaloniki International Film Festival

Dailies from the Thessaloniki international Film Festival

The renewed 57th Thessaloniki International Film Festival (November 3-13, 2016), with a clear focus on independent cinema, attracted the cinephile audience who filled the theaters. For ten days, films and directors from all over the world, tributes, new activities at the Agora/Industry, masterclasses and parallel events, set the tone in this year’s edition, which came to its end with the awards ceremony; The Golden Alexander was bestowed to the Hungarian film Kills on Wheels by Attila Till and TIFF will welcome its audience again next year, in its 58th edition. Meanwhile, TIFF promises the cinephile audience more fascinating cinema moments all year long, through its rich annual activity. Come back for our dailies.




TIFF press conference of the Jury with director Scandar Copti










51st TIFF: Press conference of the Jury (12/7/2010)

The 51st TIFF jury held a press conference on Tuesday December 7th . The director of the festival, Dimitris Eipides, was present at the conference. Members of the jury this year are Michel Demopoulos –its president- , Martin Schweighofer, CEO of the Austrian Film Commission, film directors Scandar Copti and Mohamed Al-Daradji, and producer Behrooz Hashemian.

Mr Eipides welcomed the jury and declared he was pleased and proud to welcome an old friend of the festival, Michel Demopoulos, as president of the jury. Mr Demopoulos was director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival from 1991 to 2005. “I am pleased we all meet here and that Michel Demopoulos accepted to be president of the jury. We are now in the middle of the festival and I am sure the jury will know how to choose the best films. I welcome them here in Thessaloniki with all my heart.”

Mr Demopoulos talked about the festival in past years and in the present. “I have been away from the festival for the last five years and this is a wonderful opportunity for me to come back and see how it is evolving. Despite current difficulties, the general feeling is one of optimism. In this kind of festival –and I know what I’m talking about- the biggest concern has to do with the films and the type of cinema we present. I think this objective has been somewhat overlooked the past five years. Now we are concentrating on films and in this I see eye to eye with Dimitris Eipides. I feel that the festival is a vehicle with a good motor. This is something that the audience too has understood. All that is required is to enrich it every year and give it new momentum. It’s not like when we still had to attract the audiences. The Thessaloniki Festival has become a part of the city’s life, despite the fact that it didn’t always have the required support from the local authorities. Let’s hope that now that the municipality has turned over a new leaf, our collaboration will be even better. As for my role as president of the jury, all I can say is that it isn’t at all demanding, far less so than being the festival’s director. I have taken part in 40 juries in the past, and to be simply a well-prepared spectator without having to worry about anything is pure pleasure.”
The members of the jury mentioned the difficulty of having to choose among so many good films that are taking part this year in the International Competition. They also mentioned the pleasure of spending many hours in the dark theatres and the pleasure they take in the discussions that follow.
Martin Schweighofer, CEO of the Austrian Film Commission, talked about his role as member of the jury and the criteria for his choices. “Every film is unique, gripping, and it offers one a different point of view, it teaches one things. It is a peculiar job having to evaluate a film, everyone feels an expert in the field. Everyone of us around this table has a different opinion and this becomes really interesting when we talk about it. When we agree, the discussion may be over in less than 30 minutes, but if we don’t, we continue arguing sometimes for five hours. My one criterium is whether the filmmaker manages to convey what he wants, and that is a priority. As for the future of the festival, I feel very optimistic. Festivals will increase the distribution of films. All films across the world have a great responsibility: to present new, unique films that sometimes cannot find their way into conventional cinemas. And, fortunately, this is something you do here.”
Film director Scandar Copti explained that for him watching films was the easy part. “So far we have seen six films and I think that it will be difficult to choose a winner. For me at least, and I am doing this for the third time, there is no such a thing as the best film. Everything has to do with each one’s taste, like food. It all depends on the dynamics of the group that makes this choice.”
For his part, Mohamed Al-Daradji, a film director who is being part of a jury for the first time, said that he considers this to be a very important experience. “Up to now, I found myself on the other side, and I am a bit confused, but in a good sense. I don’t believe films can compete in the way athletes do. I look forward to the last day, day D. In the meantime I am delighted at finding myself thrown in with all these experts.”
Finally, producer Behrooz Hashemian declared among other things that his participation in the jury happens to coincide with the production of his next film. “The feeling is very different for me, because as I prepare my next film, I realize even more clearly the mistakes to avoid, it reminds me all the time what it feels like to be in the audience. I wont compromise in my role as a member of the jury. I am no politician, and I am sure we will agree to make the right choice. I also believe that the festival plays and will continue to play an important role in the future, and that its fame will expand even further.”


-press release from TIFF


Scandar Copti was the director of the Oscar nominated film of 2010, 'Ajami'. 

Read all about Ajami here:



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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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