Los Angeles, CA.- The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival will present Beyond Borders: Greece on the International Film Stage, a special panel discussion sponsored by Greece’s Ministry of Tourism on Saturday, June 27, at the Linwood Dunn Theater. Greece’s Minister of Tourism Kostas Markopoulos will attend the event as guest of honor. Panelists include actor Nia Vardalos (MY LIFE IN RUINS), President of Fox International Productions Sanford Panitch, cinematographer/director, Phedon Papamichael (ARCADIA LOST), Director of the Hellenic Film Commission Markos Holevas, Top Cut Founder Stamatis Athanassoulas, to be moderated by producer Terry Dougas (BRIDES).
The panel will discuss recent productions in Greece and how the Greek culture and new infrastructure aided in the telling of their stories. In addition, advantages, challenges as well as future possibilities of foreign film production will be expanded on. “With the recent success of MAMMA MIA! and the soon-to-be-released MY LIFE IN RUINS, starring Nia Vardalos, the Greek culture is making its way to the mainstream through the art of filmmaking,” said Angeliki Giannakopoulos, Festival Co-Founder and Director. “Greece is experiencing a rise in tourism this summer which is being attributed to the success of last summer’s hit MAMMA MIA! Audiences enjoy seeing the images of Greece and the unique personality of the Greek people. The LA Greek Film Festival is delighted to encourage more productions there.” MY LIFE IN RUINS director Donald Petrie adds, “Greece was an amazing place to shoot a film from the breathtaking locations, to the warm and welcoming attitude of both the Greek government, and the people.”
Over the years, Greece has attracted the interest of various international producers who have taken advantage of the country’s old culture, unique light and beautiful landscape. These films include BOY ON A DOLPHIN (1957) starring Sophia Loren and Alan Ladd, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961) with an all-star cast that included Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas, THE LION OF SPARTA (1962) by Rudolph Maté , ZORBA THE GREEK (1964) with Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates, SUMMER LOVERS (1982) starring Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah, BIG BLUE (1988) directed by Luc Besson and starring Jean Reno and Jean Marc-Barr, and the Academy Award-winning Italian film MEDITERRANEO (1992).
There are no large studios in Greece, but the country now offers a modern infrastructure for handling international film productions, experienced crews and service companies. The Greek Film Centre, which is supervised by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, has supported the production and promotion of Greek films and fosters the participation of Greek producers in foreign productions. Since 2007, within the framework of the organization, the Hellenic Film Commission Office provides an array of services that make filming in Greece one of the most enticing places for production in Europe. MAMA MIA!, MY LIFE IN RUINS, FOREVER THE MOMENT, WANTED DEAD AND ALIVE, and ARCADIA LOST, as well as, several documentaries and TV programs, are some of the projects the organization has recently served.
The Greek Film Centre provides conditional funding for cinema productions in Greece, which are co-produced by Greek producers. The Greek Ministry of Tourism also conditionally supports foreign productions. A VAT (value added tax) rebate system is currently being implemented in Greece. Citizens from EU countries as well as countries with which Greece has signed double-taxation treaties, qualify to enjoy the benefits of these agreements.
Guest of honor Kostas Markopoulos was recently appointed Minister of Tourism, after an active career in politics and in the medical profession as a thoracic surgeon. He is a member of the Greek Parliament’s National Defense and Internal Affairs Committee and Permanent Social Issues Committee.
Beyond Borders: Greece on the International Film Stage will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2009, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Linwood Dunn Theater located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). Continental breakfast will be served.
Admission to the panel discussion is $15 advance online purchase; $20 at the door. For more information on the festival please visit www.lagreekfilmfestival.org or call 818.728.0720.
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