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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's Son or Babylon

On December 08, 2010, The Son of Babylon screened for a packed Olympia Theater in Thessaloniki. The majority stayed for a fascinating Q and A with visionary director Mohamed Al-Daradji


"Mohamed Al-Daradji, born in 1978 in Iraq, was recently awarded the title
of Middle East Filmmaker of the Year by Variety, a prestigious moniker
befitting the industrious and prolific director, producer and cameraman.
Al-Daradji studied Theater in Baghdad, Film in the Netherlands – where
he fled in 1995 – and earned a Master’s Degree in Cinematography from
the Leeds Metropolitan University School of Art, where he also
co-founded the production company Human Film with two British
colleagues. He returned to Iraq in 2003, after Saddam Hussein was
overthrown, and has been making films there ever since. He directs both
fiction and documentaries, but all his films are a testament to the
conditions in Iraq and to the plight of the everymen whose lives have
been devastated by warfare, poverty and strife. He shot his much-lauded
first feature, Dreams, under extremely dire conditions – harassment,
imprisonment and the constant threat of American bombs exploding in
Baghdad. The companion documentary to Dreams, entitled War, Love, God
and Madness, provides an account of these ordeals and it is also a
tribute to Al-Daradji’s, the crew’s and cast’s resilience and power of
conviction in completing the films amidst utter chaos. His next film,
Son of Babylon, selected as the Iraqi entry for Best Foreign Language
Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, is about a woman and her grandson
looking for the boy’s soldier father and was again shot entirely in
Iraq. It kindled the Iraq’s Missing campaign, initiated by Human Film,
to identify Iraq’s missing, a number of approximately 1.5 million people
over the past forty years. Al-Daradji is currently working on two new
projects: the documentary In My Mother’s Arms, recording the lives of 32
children whose parents have been killed or kidnapped, and the fiction
feature Train Station, following the journey of a 23-year-old female
suicide bomber in Baghdad, as she prepares for an attack that will kill
her and many others. As in his previous projects, the human stories of
Iraq take center stage. And, ultimately, these are Al-Daradji’s
“politics”: his commitment to tell the untold stories of his country and
his long-suffering people."

Lilly Papagianni




Mohamed's Son or Babylon
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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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