Thessaloniki documentary festival ends with awards

Nikos Lygouris’s «Summer Lightning» walked away from the Sixth Thessaloniki Documentary Festival with First Prize and a 12,000-euro purse on Sunday, awarded for his portrait of a family of Cretan pensioners who wait out the long slow days by taking pictures of the sea and the rare phenomenon of summer lighting. The second prize for a documentary over 45 minutes in length, worth 7,000 euros, was split equally between Ilias Yiannakis’s «Yiannis Kouros: Forever Running» – a portrait of the marathon runner who holds 152 titles – and Anneta Papathanassiou’s «Life is Cool» – a tribute to a group of friends with mobility problems who live life by embracing its joys. The second round of awards in the competition section was for documentaries under 45 minutes in length; here, the first prize, with a 5,000-euro purse, went to «The Box» by Eva Stefani, and the second prize, worth 3,000 euros, was equally split between «Hero’s Square» by Theodoros Kalesis and «Leros: Freedom is Curative» by Andreas Loukakos. Other awards included an honorable mention award, accompanied by 2,000 euros, and given to Stefani, Theodoros Marangos for «God is Invisible Because He’s Minute» and Kyriaki Malama for «The Other Side» – as well as the ET-3 Audience Award, worth 3,000 euros, which went to the Canadian production «The Corporation» by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The FIPRESCI International Critics’ Union singled out Iranian director Majid Majidi for his film «Barefoot to Herat» for «the way it depicts the impasse and reality of life in… areas of the world where children are the helpless protagonists and main victims… For the way it finds a sense of survival and joy in life at a time of anger and despair, and for the authentic and genuine manner in which the story is depicted.»

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