There are 28 Greek productions (23 in the fiction department, five documentaries) competing for the state awards – not to mention the public’s attention – at the 44th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which opened its doors last Friday. Ten of these films were made by directors making their debut in cinema – Thanos Anastopoulos’s «Olo To Varos tou Kosmou» (All the Weight of the World) belongs to this category. The film’s screening, which took place at the city’s Olympion Theater last night, was accompanied by good news: The Rotterdam International Film Festival has chosen the film for its official competition section in January 2004, while Playtime will distribute the film in Greek cinemas in February next year. In the film, the weightof the world is carried by eleven characters, including a Polish immigrant, a peculiar forensic surgeon, a top-ranking executive and a weightlifting champion. «Under extreme circumstances – ranging from the loss of a loved one to misplacing a pencil – each character goes beyond himself,» notes the director. «The point is not to judge one’s actions from a moral standpoint, but to be able to understand them. In this light, the film is about the person next to us (or even inside us) whom we are obliged to recognize, understand, accept and respect as being different.» The film’s cinematography is by Ilias Constandakopoulos, while the cast includes Takis Asimakopoulos, Nikos Georgakis, Maria Zorba, Nikos Kouris and Anna Mascha.