Social issues to star in Salonica

The Seventh Documentary Festival in Thessaloniki, which is set to kick off on Friday, will shed light on immigration and refugees, misery, people who are taken advantage of, environmental issues, the traumatic memories of contemporary history and small human stories from daily life. One-hundred-and-twenty documentaries will be screened between April 1 and 10 at four different movie houses in Thessaloniki. Fifteen thematic units, special tributes and parallel events will explore issues we are currently concerned with, as they have been depicted by great filmmakers all over the world. «The Documentary Festival was established internationally at a time when documentaries keep evolving, find distribution, appeal to the public, find their place in movie halls and compete in festivals to the same extent as feature films,» said the Thessaloniki Film Festival’s director, Michel Dimopoulos. Documentaries have mostly earned «the place they deserve in the audience’s conscience,» according to the organizing director, Dimitris Eipidis. This year, 82 foreign and 37 Greek productions will be screened. Highlights of the festival’s tributes include four works by Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo, who focuses on human rights and has received numerous awards, and five by Canadian documentary maker Pierre Perrault, whose work has created a strong tradition in so-called «cinema verite» (cinema direct). Seven films will be screened about immigration and immigrants, which will also be the topic of the festival’s annual day-long conference. The «Views of the World,» 19 films of social and political content, will offer alternative suggestions on the public’s briefing, while the section «Small Narrations,» which includes 14 productions, will focus on small, personal stories taken out of daily life’s grandeur. The 13 films of «Portraits – Human Journeys» deal with people; one of the section’s more important productions, German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer’s «Touch the Sound,» will mark the beginning of the festival. The 11 productions that fall under the category «Society and Environment» will focus on the environment, its problems and its wider social consequences, while «Ethnic Documentaries,» with five films, explores different cultures and little-known customs and is dedicated to its most important representative, French anthropologist Jean Rouch. «Auschwitz – 60 Years of a Nightmare» includes five films and will highlight memories from the Holocaust, while five documentaries have also been selected for late-night screenings «Late at Night,» the tribute «Olympic Games» and from New York’s Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, for the section «On the Forefront: The Human Rights Watch.»

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