The 22nd Athens International Film Festival kicks off with a celebratory and moving opening ceremony
On Wednesday, September 21st, in the packed Alexandra Trianti Hall of the Megaron – The Athens Concert hall, the 22nd Athens International Festival kicked off with its opening ceremony, fronted by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas.
As the audience found its way to their seats, a number of famous songs by David Bowie, Prince, Alan Vega (Suicide) and Lemmy (Motorhead) was playing, a tribute to the four legendary artists we sadly lost during the past year.
Amongst the attendees of the premiere were Maria Bobola, Chairwoman of the Athens Film Society, Christos Tentomas, President of the City of Athens Cultural, Sport & Youth Organization, Corina Vasilopoulou, Member of the Regional Council of Attica, Alfonso Lucini Mateo, Spain’s Ambassador in Greece and Tony Buckby, Director of the British Council in Greece.
Many artists, filmmakers and actors such as Nikos Perakis, Christos Karakepelis, Margarita Manda, Themis Bazaka, Akis Sakellariou, Christos Stergioglou, Evangelia Andreadaki, Stelios Mainas, Yorgos Pyrpassopoulos, Valeria Christodoulidou, and the “Xenia” stars, Nikos Gelia and Kostas Nikouli, were also present.
The premiere was also attended by representatives of embassies and major cultural institutions, such as the Hellenic Film Academy, the Greek Film Centre, the Onassis Cultural Centre, and Élise Jalladeau, General Director of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
The night kicked off with a celebratory video collection of clips from films screened in the past 21 editions, as well as some of the most anticipated films of this year’s edition. After the video, Mr. Katsikas came on stage and welcomed the audience on behalf of the Athens International Film Festival, the Athens Film Society and CINEMA magazine, adding: “pardon my looking and sounding nervous… I hope to have a beginner’s luck!”. He went on to talk briefly and movingly about the Festival’s history and his grateful and fond memories of Yorgos Tziotzios, the creator of CINEMA magazine and the Athens International Film Festival. After this brief tribute, he announced the screening of “Blue Velvet”, the last film to be screened at this year’s Festival, on Sunday October 2nd, and one of Yorgos Tziotzios’ favourite films, as well as the honorary naming of CINEMA ATLANTIS after him.
Mr. Katsikas also mentioned the Festival’s tribute to Nikos Triantafyllidis, dedicating this year’s edition to him and another ‘Nikos’ of Greek cinema, Nikos Panayiotopoulos. “The two of them were the great losses of Greek cinema this year” he added.
He also highlighted the retrospective of Louis Malle’s work, pointing out the fact that it is the first time ever that a film festival presents the best of Malle’s work, while also commending this year’s line-up, which counts more than 150 short and feature films.
Mr. Katsikas also underlined the importance of the Minority Report section and its free screenings at the Greek Film Archive, before presenting a promotional video put together specifically for this special section of screenings. The “Minority Report” section is realized within the framework of the Operational Program “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning” and is co-funded by Greece and the European Union (European Social Fund) and national resources.
The Artistic Director also thanked OTE TV, the Festival’s significant and constant sponsor, the City of Athens Cultural, Sport & Youth, the YAFKA School, the Movement of Artists with Disabilities (which helps the Festival become more and more accessible to all) as well as all other supporters, sponsors and media sponsors.
Lastly, upon concluding his speech, he invited the Festival’s core team to join him on stage and wish the audience a great Festival.
The screening of Pedro Almodóvar’s JULIETA was followed by a reception.