Los Angeles, CA.- The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) kicks off June 25th at the Egyptian Theater this year with a first-time screening of a newly restored print of ZORBA THE GREEK directed by Michael Cacoyannis, courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Other highlights from this year’s Festival will include panel discussions, a screening of the feature film ALTER EGO, starring Greece’s well-known pop star and prized Eurovision finalist Sakis Rouvas in his debut performance as an actor, a Tribute Night Gala (to be announced on June 3), and the US premiere of the closing night film LITTLE GREEK GODFATHER which is based on a short story written by Nicholas Panandreou, son of Andreas Papandreou, Greece’s former Prime Minister, and directed by Olga Malea.
“It was a natural fit to have the restored version of ZORBA THE GREEK make its debut at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival” commented Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment and Advisory Board Member of the LAGFF. “We are enormously proud of this classic film, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards® and won three, and the meticulously restored print brilliantly displays its award-winning cinematography.”
ZORBA THE GREEK, originally released in 1964, is based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis. Anthony Quinn starred as Alexis Zorbas, an open-hearted peasant whose character single-handedly became a symbol of the Mediterranean passion. His encounter with a young and pent-up English writer (Alan Bates) leads to unforgettable lessons in love of life. The film was shot on the island of Crete, and the ever-popular musical theme, “Sirtaki”, by Mikis Theodorakis became identified with traditional Greek music and dance although it was composed specifically for the film. ZORBA THE GREEK won three Academy Awards: Lila Kedrova won for Best Supporting Actress, Vassilis Fotopoulos won for Art Direction (Black-and-White) and Walter Lassally won for Cinematography. Anthony Quinn received a nomination for Best Actor. Michael Cacoyannis received three nominations for Best Picture, Director and Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium).
On Saturday morning, June 28th, at the Linwood Dunn Theater, LAGFF will host a screenwriting panel discussion with jury members Executive Producer Stratton Leopold of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III, HBO Senior Vice President – Miniseries Kary Antholis, and Columbia University professor Christina Lazaridi.
“Over 70 scripts from Greek writers from around the world were submitted to compete,” comments the energetic Angeliki Giannakopoulos, Festival, Sponsorship and Scriptwriting Director. “This is a rare opportunity for Greek writers to get their voices heard here in Hollywood, and we are very excited about introducing the competition to this year’s Festival.” The winner will have an opportunity to attend pitch meetings to industry professionals and will receive a New Vision Award during the Closing Night Ceremonies.
LITTLE GREEK GODFATHER will have its US premiere as the LAGFF Closing Night Gala presentation on Sunday, June 29, 2008. The movie is based on an autobiographical short story by Nicholas Papandreou, established writer and son of former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Olga Malea. The film is set in the summer of 1963, when Alex, the 12-year-old son of a famous Greek politician, is sent to the island of Crete to baptize the baby of Mr. Panagakis, a local party supporter of Alex’s father’s election campaign. The boy tries very hard to stand in for his father and be the good son, but because of his friendship with Panos, the rebellious son of Mr. Panagakis, he has ever-increasing doubts about his new role as a young politician. On the island, he discovers life’s priorities and slowly accepts the roots of his rich heritage.
The Closing Night Ceremonies will take place on Sunday June 29th at the Pacific Design Center, where LAGFF will present the Orpheus Awards to the filmmakers for Best Dramatic Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Direction, and Audience Choice.
The five-day Festival kicks-off at the Egyptian Theatre on June 25th and continues at the Academyʼs Pickford Center 286-seat, state-of-the-art Linwood Dunn Theater and the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian in Hollywood from June 26th through June 29th. “We are pleased with this year’s rich and diverse program. We have over 30 features, documentaries and shortsin the program. Seven of them are made by Greek filmmakers from outside of Greece, two are centered around a Greek subject and the rest are Greek productions,” says the enthusiastic Ersi Danou, Festival and Programming Director.
The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Free parking is available through the entrance on Homewood Avenue (one block north of Fountain Avenue). The Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian is located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood.
Tickets go on sale May 30th. For more information please visit www.lagreekfilmfestival.org.
About the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival
The second annual LAGFF showcases new films from Greek filmmakers worldwide to promote and nurture Greek Cinema while bridging the gap between Greek filmmakers and Hollywood. The Festival also offers screenings of film masterworks, seminars on important contemporary film issues, and tributes to significant Greek filmmakers and performers. Orpheus Awards are given to the most outstanding new films in the dramatic, documentary and short film categories.
The Los Angeles Greek Film Festival is greatly supported by Greece’s General Secretary of Information Panis Leivadas, who continues the ongoing effort to promote Greece at its best with the “Wonderful Greece” campaign; the Consul General of Greece Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras and Press Counselor Helen Vrynioti. Additional key supporters of the Festival are the American Hellenic Council, the Hellenic University Club of Loyola Marymount University, and other individual members of the Los Angeles Greek Community.
FULL SCHEDULE PROGRAM
Opening: ZORBA THE GREEK (1964 142 min, 35mm) Presented by Imperial Media.
A pent-up English writer traveling to Greece finds his life changed forever when he befriends Alexis Zorbas, a vivacious Greek peasant. Director: Mihalis Cacoyannis. Cast: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas
FEATURE COMPETITION ( 9 ):
ALTER EGO (2007, 99 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A disillusioned young pop starʼs search for true friendship and love.
Director: Nicholas Dimitropoulos
NOTE: Singer and actor Sakis Rouvas will be present at screening.
COMING AS A FRIEND (2006, 87 min, 35 mm, LA Premiere)
A love triangle unfolds, when a free-spirited thug interrupts the resigned life of a woman trapped in a passionless marriage. Director: Dora Masklavanou
EDUART (2006, 105 min, 35 mm, LA Premiere)
The journey of a young Albanian immigrant in Greece, from crime to redemption.
Director: Angeliki Antoniou
FALSE ALARM (2006, 88 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A car alarm goes off in the night disturbing the tenants of an Athenian apartment building. They begin to cross paths in their restless quest for…peace.
Director: Katerina Evangelakou
HOLD ME (2006, 94 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A poetic exploration of love and loss, inspired by an internet network created by the filmmaker. Director: Lucia Rikaki
Closing: LITTLE GREEK GODFATHER (2007, 90 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
The 12-year-old son of a prominent Greek politician is sent to a village in Crete in order to rally in support for his father by baptizing the baby of an influential family. Director: Olga Malea. Writer: Nick Papandreou & Olga Malea
PVC-1 (2007, 85 min, DIGIBETA, LA Premiere)
Set in Colombia and filmed as one continuous shot, the film follows the harrowing story of a mother who falls victim to criminals seeking ransom and is abandoned with an explosive device hooked around her neck. Director: Spiros Stathoulopoulos
SIRENS IN THE AEGEAN (2005, 111 min, 35 mm, LA Premiere)
When a group of young Greek soldiers guarding a small rock island in the Aegean have an unexpected encounter with the passengers of a Turkish boat, friendship, love and a diplomatic episode seem unavoidable. Director: Nikos Perakis
UP WITH ME (2008, 85 min, DIGIBETA, LA Premiere)
When a boy from Spanish Harlem is invited to attend an all-white prep high school on scholarship, he encounters what he has tried all his life to avoid. Director: Greg Takudes
FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES (6)
THE ASH THAT REMAINS (2008, 66 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A poetic lament on the devastation of the land and the peopleʼs livelihood in the wildfires, Greece, summer 2007. Director: Nikos Kavoukidis
THE JOURNEY: THE GREEK-AMERICAN DREAM (2007, 80 min, DIGIBETA, LA Premiere) A concise visual account of Greek immigration into the United States. Director: Maria Iliou
LOVERS FROM AXOS (2007, 80 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
In the small Cretan village of Axos, the quiet days of George, 75, and Maria, 71, are filled with a rare and undying passion. Director: Nikos Ligouris
RESURFACE (2007, 60 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A tragic accident in the life of young Alexandros Taxildaris leaves him paralyzed waist-down but also gives him the will power to win at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. Directors: Alexandre Papanicolaou and Emilie Yannoukou
Note: The films’ directors are expected to be present at the screening.
SALONICA (2008, 87 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
Remnants, memories and memoirs of the once vibrant Jewish community in multi-ethnic Thessaloniki, Greeceʼs second largest city. Director: Paolo Poloni.
THE SECRET OF THE SNAKE GODDESS (2007, 52 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A fascinating portrait of Sir Arthur Evans unfolds as the discovery of a mysterious statuette compels archeologists to re-examine their assumptions about the ancient Minoan civilization. Directors: Christian Bauer and Nikos Dayandas
SHORT DOCUMENTARIES (2)
AUGUST 27, 2007 (2008, 11 min, DVD, World Premiere)
A Greek-Americanʼs view of the fires that burned the homeland and her heart.
Director: Daphne Valentina
WILDFIRE CRISIS (2007, 27 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
Two stories about the tragic consequences of the wildfires, Greece, summer
2007. Director: Stefanos Bertakis
ASTORIA PARK (2007, 33 min, DIGIBETA, LA Premiere)
In New Yorkʼs Astoria, a friendly basketball game turns into a show of racial rivalry. Directors: Chrysovalantis Stamelos and Paras H. Chaudhari
BACH & BOUZOUKI (2006, 34 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A girl is torn between family expectations and her desire to build her own future. Director: Angela Milonaki
THE CUP (2006, 8 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A humoristic look at the maze of Greek bureaucracy. Director: Yannis Bougioukas
DEAR STEVEN SPIELBERG (2006, 19 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
The fruitless schemes of a young English filmmaker trying to contact Steven Spielberg. Director: Stefan Georgiou
FIRST LOVE (2007, 15 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A girl’s adventures in the discovery of sex and love. Director: Maritina Passari
THE CAVE: AN ADAPTATION OF PLATOʼS ALLEGORY IN CLAY (2007, 3 min, DIGIBETA)
A clay-animation inspired by Platoʼs representation of human life as shadows in a cave. Director: Michael Ramsey
LIEBESTOD-FOUR ACTS (2007, 15 min, DIGIBETA, US Premiere)
A non-narrative film about the four phases of a love affair. Director: Stathis Athanasiou
PASSAGE (2007, 22 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A man is forced by circumstance to care for two mistrusting Albanian children in the snowy border areas of Greece. Director: Yannis Katsampoulas
MOOG (2008, 22 min, DIGIBETA, World Premiere)
An English school-boy is sent out of the classroom and is forgotten in the austere corridors of the school. Director: Haris Vafeiadis
SHOULDER FOR HIRE (2007, 24 min, 35mm, US Premiere)
In a futuristic world, where people pay for sympathy, there is no room for human relationships. Director: Dimitris Emmanouilidis
SUMMER HOLIDAYS (2006, 18 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
On their way back from vacation, a young couple is tormented by the pains of love. Director: Elina Psykou
SUNNY DAY (2007, 16min, 35mm, US Premiere)
In a working-class neighborhood of Athens, a cab driver takes it upon himself to persecute a petty thief. Director: Anthi Daountaki
TOWER BLOCK (2006, 38 min, 35 mm, LA Premiere)
Amidst the harsh reality of a working-class tower block in Germany, a young boy tries to escape his older brotherʼs tyranny by seeking refuge in the fantasy world of a heroin addict. Director: Nikias Chryssos
TRANSIT (2007, 27 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
In a post-apocalyptic world, man turns into beast. Director: Yiannis Gaitanidis
THE TRAP (2007, 20 min, 35 mm, US Premiere)
A woman overcomes fear of the unknown and learns to “let go” in a series of strange circumstances. Director: Rita Wilson