Former Thessaloniki Film Festival director Michel Demopoulos dies

Former Thessaloniki Film Festival director Michel Demopoulos dies

Michel Demopoulos, the former Thessaloniki Film Festival Director credited with its wide revamp and success, died on Wednesday, aged 73. He had been suffering from an undisclosed illness recently, reports said.

Born in 1949, Demopoulos, studied cinema in France, as well as classical literature and linguistics. He became editor in chief and then director of the prestigious Greek film magazine Synchronos Kinimatrophos between 1975 and 1982. From 1981 to 1991, he was the director of acquisitions at the state-run television channel ERT. 

He took over as artistic director of the Thessaloniki Film Festival from 1992 to 2004 and thoroughly revamped it, adding the International Competition Section, while Dimitris Eipides was put in charge of the parallel New Horizons program, an initiative that was instrumental in establishing the event’s international credentials. The competition sections for Greek and foreign films are separate.

He also edited tributes for Greek cinema abroad, and was a founding member of the LUX European Audience Film Award by the European Parliament and the European Film Academy.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival issued a statement noting Demopoulos’ contribution to the event. “Michel will always be here. In Olympia and at the port, on the big screens and in the streets of Thessaloniki, in conversations, in books and magazines. He will be alive, straightforward, laughing, fair and always ready to revisit and show us the wonderful films he loved, to make us discover new and restless cinema at every step.”

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