19th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival kicks off on Friday

The 19th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, a part of the city’s international film festival, began in the city on Friday night with a screening of Paul Dugdale’s euphoric rock and roll tribute “The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America” covering the band’s South America tour and historic first concert in Cuba.

The festival returned this year with an enriched programme of 213 films covering a range of topics, from politics to art to migration to history, including an entirely new section devoted to food and gastronomy – in keeping with the city’s tradition as Greece’s “foodie” capital.

The opening night screening, following an opening ceremony with a similarly musical flavour, will take place at Thessaloniki’s Olympion theatre. The film will be also be screened again on March 6 at 23:00, in the ‘Stavros Tornes’ theatre, as part of the regular programme.

Among the 213 films featured during this year’s festival there are 64 Greek productions, while the 10-day event also includes a number of sidebar events. It is also the first year that there is an official International Competition section, with 12 films of over 50’ competing for the Golden Alexander and the Special Jury Award.

The Golden Alexander award is accompanied by a 5,000-euro cash prize, sponsored by the Municipality of Thessaloniki. Τhe Special Jury Award is accompanied by a 2.000-euro cash prize, sponsored by ERT, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation. An international FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) jury will hand out one award to a film of the International Competition section.

Among the sidebar events is a tribute to the late artist John Berger, with an exhibition entitled “John Berger: A Radical Humanist” at the Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki (Warehouse B1, Port) on March 4-April 13. This features 30 drawings and paintings by John Berger, presented for the first time, only two months after his passing. Most of them were lent to the Festival exclusively for this exhibition by John Berger’s son, Yves, while others are part of private collections. The exhibition will also include screenings of films, video extracts and TV shows about Berger, as well as copies of Berger’s books and a round-table discussion on Berger’s work on March 8.

Other events related to the festival include the exhibition “Without a knife and fork” (March 3 – August 30, 2017, Cinema Museum of Thessaloniki (Warehouse A, Port)) on the role of food in Greek cinema, the cartoon exhibition “Michael Kountouris, Made in Europe: Describing the Refugee Crisis without Words” (March 4 – 19, 2017, MOB Café, Ionos Dragoumi & 2 Papadopoulou str.), the Moving Silence Event on silent films (March 10 – 11, 2017, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki) and others.