New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Photos: Dimitrios Panagos
The 13th Annual New York City Greek Film Festival (NYCGrFF) held at New York City’s historic Florence Gould Hall Theater and other rooms of the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF), began on October 17 and will run through October 23. The NYCGrFF is presented in cooperation with the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC). The Grand Benefactor of the 13th Annual NYCGrFF is the Alexandrion Foundation.’
The October 17 Opening Ceremony of the festival, introduced by MC Anthoula Carsimatides, featured
Remarks by Markos Drakotos, on the Executive Board of the HACC, who thanked the director of the Maria Tzompanaki, for her total dedication and hard work, and Dr. Nawaf Salameh, Founder and Chairman of the Alexandrion Foundation, the Grand Benefactor of the 13th Annual NYCGrFF, and a list of supporters.
The festival began with laughter, the screening of Giorgos Panousopoulos’ comedy “in this land nobody knew how to cry,” about a utopian island where the inhabitants’ bizarre life style and subversive moral values at first shock then convert their visitors, a French member of the European Parliament and a young Greek economist, played by Margarita Panousopoulos, who was present.
After the screening Ms. Tzompanaki told the GN, “As well as providing entertainment, it is necessary for a film festival to educate, to raise questions that start you thinking. We are showing films that arouse laughter but also films to learn from. Films with many messages about life and films with police plots that are fun for the audience. Our premiere of “in this land nobody knew how to cry” went wonderfully and I thank everyone who supports the NYCGrFF. But what will be even more satisfying is seeing happy faces coming out of the theater. I’m sure this will happen, because I’ve seen all the film we’re showing, and I felt that joy!”
The Opening Ceremony included the Opening of the Digital Exhibition, The Legend of Alexander the Great As Ancient Greek and Byzantine Legacy, a striking exhibition of large-screen digital applications of the richest medieval manuscript in the world, the 14th century Byzantine manuscript depicting Alexander the Great’s Life and Exploits in 250 miniatures from the museum of the Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post Byzantine Studies of Venice*.
The FIAF is an ideal venue for a film festival; everything happens there, which encourages discussion of films, easy conversation or just milling about and seeing friends between films. Come, and bask in film culture! Join in Red Carpet Interviews with Eirini Mo!
The 13th Annual NYCGrFF is more than movies: included in the festival are an art exhibit, special talks, Q&A sessions, a concert, talent spotlights, writers, producers, directors, and film stars, awards and an honorary tribute.
The 13th Annual NYCGrFF exceeds previous editions, showing a total of 50 feature-length and short film screenings, 29 of which are Greek-language feature films. A “first”, but that’s not all that’s happening for the first time this year. Two added categories, International Films with Greek elements/or made by Greek and diasporan Greek filmmakers, and International Short Films not associated with Greek culture (to appear exclusively on the NYCGrFF website) widen the scope and influence of the festival to resonate with the international audiences that are attending in increasing numbers. Both of these categories have Awards.
In the Tribute to the noted director Nikos Perakis, the leader of contemporary social satire in Greek cinema with screening s of three of his most defining films: Loafing and Camouflage (1984), Living Dangerously (1987), and Sirens in the Aegean (2005). Perakis received the 2018 NYCGRFF Audience Award for his film Success Story and put the award money back into the festival for this year’s Best New Director Award.
On October 23, the 6:30PM Closing Night Ceremony Awards Presentations. Audience Awards to be presented: Audience Award with cash prize forBest Feature Film; Audience Award with cash prize for Best Documentary Feature; Audience Award with cash prize for Best Short Film. Jury Awards to be presented: Jury Award with cash prize for Best New Director; Jury Award for Best Greek-Related International Short/Fiction or Documentary; Jury Award for Best Greek-Related International Feature/Fiction or Documentary for Online International Film Festival.
The Iranian film, The Castle, an intriguing production written, directed and produced by Saba Ghasemi,
is the winner of the Best International Short/Fiction or Documentary (Jury Award) presented to a noteworthy film which has no direct Greek reference. In The Castle Ghasemi transfers the themes of Chekhov’s play The Cherry Orchard to the sale of a family home in contemporary Iran and the protagonist’s very unusual way of easing the pain of nostalgia during the 23 days before the house is demolished by collaborating with an unexpected group of other people. The Castle will be screened at
the festival on Tuesday, October 22, at 6 PM.
The Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Anastos, esteemed Emmy-Award winning anchor, reporter, and author for CBS, ABC, and FOX, will be presented with the “Achievement in Broadcasting” Award for broadcasting while staying true to traditional Greek values.
Don’t miss this celebration of success and accomplishment, expected to be as moving and inspiring as were last year’s presentations.
A concert dedicated to women who have suffered abuse in modern society, “Greek Female New Yorkers Perform Songs from Greek Composers,” with Piano by Glafkos Kontemeniotis, noted jazz pianist and composer, will follow the Awards Presentations. Presenter of the event: Eirini Mo, Introduction: Chrysi Sylaid. Performers: Eleni Andreou, Ileana Exaras, Christiana Kantilioti, Yanna Katsageorgi, Natassa Pantelidi, Chrysi Sylaidi, Maria Tzompanaki. Event directed by Maria Tzo.
At 8:30 PM, a Reception/Party with wine, a buffet and hors d’oeuvres, in Le Skyroom, where the expansive window-wall will reveal the lights of the New York night.
*The Digital Exhibition, The Legend of Alexander the Great As Ancient Greek and Byzantine Legacy
Closes on October 20.
For a description of this year’s program and special events: https://nycgreekfilmfestival.com
French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), 55 East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022