The 19th annual Greek Film Festival (GFF) launches its national run in Sydney on Oct. 16 with a program that will see more than 30 films screen at Palace Cinema Norton Street Leichhardt over almost three weeks.
The Festival opens with the larger-than-life comedy Nisos 2 (The Island 2: The Hunt for the Lost Treasure), the sequel to the 2010 Greek Film Festival’s Opening Night film. With the picture-perfect Greek island as its backdrop, Nisos 2 offers plenty of its own laughs as it follows the island’s loveable characters out of jail and on an epic and speculative treasure hunt.
The 2012 program presents one of the strongest selections of contemporary Greek cinema the Festival has seen in recent years. Along with films from the establishing Greek Weird Wave are striking features direct from other international film festivals, a tribute to the late Theo Angelopoulos with a screening of Landscape in the Mist, and Tony Krawitz’ exacting and highly accomplished adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’novel Dead Europe, which will close the Festival on Sunday 4th November after screenings at the Sydney, Melbourne and Toronto International Film Festivals.
“At a time of financial turmoil we are seeing some of the most impressive contemporary films to come out of Greece in recent years. We are extremely proud of the collection of films and see this years’ line-up as indicative of the direction of Greek cinema and do not hesitate in saying it will be comparable to the best in International film festivals in years to come” says Nia Karteris, Chair of the Greek Film Festival Sydney.
From the Greek Weird Wave the Festival screens Yorgos Lanthimos’ Alps (Dogtooth, GFF ’10), an inventive, deadpan story about loss and grief that won the Official Competition at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival. Alongside Lanthimos’ stylized absurdism, the grim realities of contemporary Greek society are strongly reflected in the Festival’s dramatic highlights.
Most anticipated is Ektoras Lyzigos’ harrowing account of a young man living on the brink of starvation in Boy Eating the Bird’s Food, which recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery section.
Those realist tones continue through the program in George Siouga’s melodrama Burning Heads, about a young Georgian immigrant forced to confront his painful family history; Giorgos Georgopoulos’s taut psychological thriller Tungsten, a multiple award-winner at last year’s Cyprus International Film Festival; Stelios Kammitsis’ Jerks which focuses on the frustrations of three young alienated men preparing to leave Greece for a new life in Berlin; and Yorgos Gkikapeppas’s award-winning The City of Children which follows a day-in-the-life of four pregnant couples in modern Athens, offering a harrowing perspective on the dawning of new life against an Athens gripped by despondency.
Other highlights of the Festival include the autobiographical documentary Fortunate Son, in which Greek-Canadian filmmaker Tony Asimakopoulos turns his gaze on his dysfunctional relationship with his aging parents; the comedy Poker Face, about a former gambler who is given the opportunity to redeem a lucky charm stolen from her during her more fortunate days; and Wild and Precious, directed by Melbourne born- Bill Mousoulis, who examines personal and public politics on Italian and Greek soil through this fictional documentary.
The 19th Greek Film festival is an event of the Greek Festival of Sydney, an initiative of the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales and is presented with presenting partner Bank of Cyprus Australia. The full program is available online and tickets are on sale now through MCA Ticketing by calling 1300 306 776 or online at www.greekfilmfestival.com.au.
The 19th Greek Film Festival runs 16th October – 4th November 2012 at Palace Norton Street Cinemas Leichhardt. It also tours nationally, with dates in Melbourne (17 October – 4 November), Brisbane (1 – 4 November) and Adelaide (1 – 4 November).