Thessaloniki Film Festival gets French-Greek president

French-Greek actor George Corraface is the new president of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. Following the resignation of film director Pandelis Voulgaris three months ago and the deepening of the crisis in the Greek cinema scene, the Ministry of Culture has chosen Corraface to implement government policy, which, according to a ministry statement was «drawn up one-and-a-half years ago.» According to the same statement, «the International Film Festival is entering a new chapter in its history, claiming its future position on the international film stage.» Contrary to the ministry’s rather bombastic remarks, the new president seemed modest and humble speaking to Kathimerini late last week. «We started discussing the possibility of me taking over the position a few days ago. I liked the ‘part’ so I accepted,» said Corraface. «For me it’s a great challenge. I love cinema and therefore I love cinema’s celebrations. My obligations and decisions are not as crucial as those of Despina Mouzaki, the festival’s director. My role is more of the master-of-ceremonies type. All details will be announced at a press conference at the end of September.» Discussions and exchanges of ideas have already taken place, says Corraface. «Progress has been made in some areas. The idea is to strengthen the event’s existing profile, both on the local and the international level, and at the same time boost ties between the Greek and the international cinema scene,» said Corraface. «My first contact with the festival’s collaborators was very positive. They are working hard with an objective and a vision.» Born in Paris in 1952, Corraface is still a resident of that city – for the time being at least. The son of maestro Dimitris Corraface, the new president has a rich theater and cinematic experience. A graduate of the Conservatoire National Superieur d’Art Dramatique de Paris, he has collaborated with Peter Brook («Mahabharata»), Antoine Vitez («Phaedra») and Michael Cacoyiannis («Anthony and Cleopatra»), among others. In the last few years he has also become a regular fixture of Greek cinema. Beginning in the 1990s, he appeared in Loukia Rikaki’s «Quartet in Four Movements,» Andreas Pantzis’s «Slaughter of the Cock» and «To Tama,» Costas Kapakas’s «Peppermint,» and Tassos Boulmetis’s blockbusting «A Touch of Spice.» His most recent role was in Grigoris Karandinakis’s «Charitonas’s Choir,» scheduled for release in November.