Five Years of Greek Cinema in Los Angeles
In recent years, the Greek American diaspora has made leaps and bounds in the fields of art and science, playing an active role in the advancement of modern Greek culture in the USA and around the world.
LAGFF is witnessing a new wave of Greek Cinema emerging from an irreverent generation of young filmmakers who insist on breaking ties with past trends and seeing things in their own unique way. The results are impressive and include recognition in global film circles and the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that nominated Yorgos Lanthimos’ DOGTOOTH in the foreign language film category. This year’s program represents various facets of Greek life – humor, music, wine, erotica, and family with a… twist.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
PELICAN’S WATCH (I Vardia tou Pelekanou)
Greece, 2011, 67 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Lea Binzer
A small community of elders on the island of Santorini is charged with the unique duty to preserve the traditions of vine-growing and winemaking in the face of changing times that threaten their ancient and world-renowned art.
13th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival: Honrary Mention by ERT 3 (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation)
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
BURNING HEADS (To Gala)
Greece, 2011, 99 min, World Premiere
Director: George Siougas
Producers: Christos Konstadakopoulos, Manos Krezias, Kostas Labropoulos, Dionisis Samiotis
When Russian immigrant Adonis introduces his bride-to-be to his mother and schizophrenic brother, deep-rooted rifts within their family explode as Adonis seeks to ease his guilt and his mother tries to restore the bond their family once knew in their long-lost homeland.
A WOMAN’S WAY (Strella)
Greece, 2009, 113 min, LA Premiere
Director/Producer: Panos Koytras
When Yorgos is released from prison and seeks his estranged son, he meets and falls in love with the matriarchal transsexual Strella, discovering that the two have much more in common than expected and that she might even offer the key to his lost happiness.
Greece, 2009, 97 min, LA Premiere
Director: Sofia Papchristou
Producer: Sofia Papachristou, Stavros Meleas
Engineer Peter sets off to build a power generator fueled by toxic waste on an uncharted island, but unexpectedly finds magic amongst the backward islanders and is faced with a difficult choice.
Thessaloniki Film Festival 2009: Audience Award
THE DEATH I DREAMED OF (O Thanatos pou Oneireythika)
Greece, 2010, 94 min, LA Premiere
Director/Producer: Panagiotis Kravvas
Based on a true story, this horror tale follows a group of teenagers as they encounter a mysterious stranger who at first gathers them in a celebration of the occult but eventually unleashes a very real display of death and destruction.
Greece, 2010, 83 min, LA Premiere
Director: Christina Ioakeimidi
Producer: Alexandra Boussiou
When unsophisticated bus driver Haris thrusts himself into the seemingly controlled life of young teacher Ismini, both have to abandon their safety nets in order to find true love in this light-hearted comedy.
Greece, 2010, 108 min, US Premiere
Director: Yannis Economides
Producer: Panos Papahadzis
World sales: URBAN DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL (ex-UMedia)
In this artful B&W account of a decaying middle class, Nikos moves in with his brutish uncle to guard his dogs, but soon finds out that he must pull himself together in order to set things right.
Hellenic Film Academy Awards 2011: Best film, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction and Sound Awards.
Cyprus Film Days 2011: Best Film Award
Greek Association of Film Critics: Best Greek Film 2010
WITHOUT BORDERS (Horis Sinora)
Greece, 2010, 97 min, US Premiere
Director: Nick Gaitatjis
Producers: John Apostolou, Sandra Staggs
With the help of his eccentric cousin, Thanasis embarks on a journey across continents in search of his six-year-old adopted daughter, redefining the meaning of familial love along the way.
THE GAME MUST GO ON (Ta Paidia Den Paizei)
Greece, 2010, 80 min, LA Premiere
Director: Angeli Andrikopoulou, Argyris Tsepelikas
Producer: Rea Apostolides
Tired of being hassled by their neighbors for playing soccer in the streets, an ambitious group of children set out to build a playing field of their own by daring what most adults would not: Cutting through the red tape and going up against the machine of local politics.
MIKIS THEODORAKIS, COMPOSER (Mikis Theodorakis, Komponist)
Germany, 2010, 53 min, US Premiere
Directors: Asteris Kutulas, Klaus Salge
Producer: Klaus Salge
This in-depth portrait of Mikis Theodorakis explores the roots of the life and work of Greece’s legendary composer whose music became identified with the struggles of a nation torn by war and strife in the 20th Century.
MY SWEET CANARY
Israel/France/Greece, 2011, 89 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Roy Sher
The story of Roza Eskenazy, the Diva of Rebetiko or “Greek Blues,” whose music shaped the soundtrack of Greece and Asia Minor for almost a century is unveiled through the journey of three modern musicians who retrace her steps and perform her songs.
WITH GREAT POWER: THE STAN LEE STORY *
USA, 2010, 80 min
Directors: Will Hess, Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes
Producers: Paris Latsis, Will Hess, Nikki Frakes, Terry Dougas
Get up close and personal with Stan Lee, the artist behind world-famous Marvel comics and comic book favorites like Spiderman and The Fantastic Four in this star-studded documentary that explores how one of today’s great creative minds came to be.
1.2 MILLION CHILDREN (1.2 Ekatommyria Paidia)
Greece, 2010, 3 min, US Premiere (Animated)
Director: Effie Pappa
Producers: Effie Pappa, Stelios Polychronakis
This animated short brings light to the tragic issue of children being bought and sold across international borders.
6th Animfest 2010: 2nd Animation Award
EBGE Hellenic Graphic Design & Animation Awards: Special Merit Award
Greece, 2010, 21 min, US Premiere
Director: Haris Vafeiadis
Producer: Yiannis Exintaris
The road to adulthood is fraught with peril for this young teenage girl who comes to understand the value of her lost innocence.
Greek Federation of Film Societies Drama Film Festival: 2nd Fiction, Best Female Performance, Best Film)
Greece, 2011, 9 min, World Premiere
Director: Petros Antoniadis
Producers: Maria Vlachaki, George Antoniadis
An unconventional artist finds that he must embrace all parts of his psyche in order to reach fulfillment.
USA/Canada, 2010, 18 min, World Premiere
Director: Jonathan Crow
Producer: John Kapelos, Ira Miller
What starts as a simple behind-the-scenes commentary recording session between a film producer and director becomes a hilarious conflict of personal relationships.
MARIOS AND THE RAVEN
Greece, 2010, 22 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Yiannis Bougioukas
On his 53rd birthday, Marios seems to have everything he ever wished for- until a bird dropping from the blue reveals his happiness to be far more fragile than it seemed.
16th International Short Film Festival in Drama 2010: Best South and Eastern Europe Film Award
33rd National Short Film Festival in Drama 2010: Best Actor (Errikos Litsis)
PYRAMIDS OF ATHENS (Pyramides tis Athinas)
Greece, 2010, 15 min
Director/Producer: Yolanda Markopoulou
A young Egyptian immigrant in Athens observes suspicious activity in the abandoned building where he is squatting and decides to take matters into his own hands despite language and cultural barriers.
Greece, 2010, 20 min, US Premiere
Director: Stavros Liokalos
Producer: Ekso Productions
One man simply trying to adjust his TV antenna sets off a chain of comic events that bring an entire apartment community together.
THE DOG (O Skylos)
Greece, 2009, 23 min, US Premiere
Director: Nikos Charalabopoulos (aka Labot)
Producers: Nikos Charalabopoulos, Louizos Aslanidis
The arrival of a young suitor and his dog means war for a father who compulsively protects his only daughter.
WHAT TIME WILL YOU BE BACK? (Ti Ora tha Gyrisis?)
Greece, 2010, 20 min, US Premiere
Director: Maritina Passari
Producer: Panayiotis Karabinis
When Eurydice rebels against her mother to follow her dream of becoming a punk-rock singer, she realizes that the mother-daughter relationship is not one-way.
NOTE: All films include English subtitles, except (*) indicates English original language.