A paraplegic punk rocker wants to climb to the top of Mount Olympus, a man grapples with his father’s ailing health after returning to live with his parents, a former rebel returns home after his abduction as a child by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
These are snippets from three Greek films (53 feature-length and 25 shorts) which will be showcased at the 20th edition of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, which runs March 2-11.
Local filmmakers shine a light on politics, human rights, migration, the financial crisis and personal stories at this year’s 10-day event.
Following a work accident, director Christos Kapatos is forced to move back in with his parents. In “Antonis’ Voice,” he documents the process of readjustment which is made more complex by the condition of his father, who has suffered a series of strokes.
Shot by Stratis Chatzielenoudas, “Back to the Top” chronicles the never-give-up attitude of Leonidas, a wheelchair-bound punk band drummer in his early 30s who sets out to conquer the 2,917-meter peak of Mount Olympus with the help of a bunch of good friends.
An ex-commander in warlord Joseph Kony’s LRA returns home 16 years after rebels took him from his home in “No Place for a Rebel,” by Ariadne Asimakopoulos and Maartje Wegdam. The film follows Opono Opondo as he struggles to readapt to civil society amid skepticism from the locals.
Speaking to Kathimerini English Edition, festival director Orestis Andreadakis hailed the progress made by local documentarists over the past 20 years.
“They no longer focus merely on the obvious issues relating to Greece and its immediate woes. They travel more and explore themes in other parts of the world,” said Andreadakis, who took over the helm of the festival in 2016.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, but they’re on a good path,” he said.
The festival gets under way on March 2 with “Faces Places,” an Oscar-nominated French documentary co-directed by Belgium-born New French Wave pioneer Agnes Varda and enigmatic French muralist JR.
Organizers have also prepared a tribute to the seismic political and social events of 1968 and given carte blanche to American independent filmmaker Sara Driver.