Directors’ nursery gets in gear

With 42 countries participating and 65 entries – among which three are from Greece – in the International Competition section, as well as a plethora of parallel events and cinematic tributes, the 29th International Short Film Festival in Drama is set to open its doors on Sunday. «For the 29th consecutive year, the Drama Short Film Festival promises to sweep us away with moments of cinematic magic in this big celebration, full of the visions, sounds and dreams of the artists, and with a host of foreign guests filling the streets of our city, said festival president and Drama Mayor Thomas Margaritis at a recent press conference to announce the program of events. As the organizers noted, the weeklong Drama Short Film Festival – which has served as a nursery for young filmmakers in Greece – has also been responsible for attracting a growing number of people to screenings of short films, not only in the city of Drama, but also in the rest of the country, as it later takes the films shown at the festival on tour to various Greek cities. Also, by maintaining the high quality of films shown in the national and international competitions, the festival has succeeded in broadening its already strong ties with the local community. At the same time, organizers say that they have created and integrated into the festival a new specialized film program aimed at specific age and social groups. More interestingly, the Greek broadcasting company ERT recently gave the Drama Short Film Festival a large quantity of archival material that will help the institution bolster its status and give it a more historical outlook. «This year, we will begin presenting extracts from the ERT archives, a treasure of material that ought to be made available to the festivals audience and to young filmmakers,» noted the festival’s artistic director, Antonis Papadopoulos. Held in the Asteria and Olympia cinemas, the festival features hundreds of participants from around the world. Many of these are debut appearances for the presenters, though often artists involved in areas of the industry other than directing, such as screenwriters, editors and other crew or even actors, will make a short film as a means of trying their hand at directing or to attract funding for a future feature-length project. For Greece, the Drama Short Film Festival has always revealed a number of budding artists who later go on to make successful feature-length films. In terms of the tributes being organized this year, there will be a focus on recent Italian production with 15 shorts. There is also a section dedicated to elderly actors and actresses, titled «Days for Grandmas and Grandpas,» featuring four films, as well as a two-film section on people with special needs. For younger audiences, there will be special screenings of children’s films, as well as a section showing shorts created by students of local Drama high schools. (ANA) Greek drama gets best film, director and actress awards in Alexandria, Egypt A Greek film, «Chariton’s Choir,» walked away from the Alexandria International Film Festival (September 5-10) with the best film, best director and best actress awards. Greek Consul-General to Alexandria Theoharakis Lalakos received the award on behalf of the film’s cast and crew. Directed by Grigoris Karantinakis and starring Georges Corraface, Akilas Karazisis, Maria Nafpliotou and Christos Stergioglou, the social comedy tells the story of a small-town schoolmaster who pits his beloved choir against that of an army major who has come into town and is strong-arming his way into the local life. Of course, our protagonists win the annual choir competition. Set in 1968, the film juxtaposes the teacher’s liberated outlook on life with the major’s dictatorial approach to all things. Also playing at the film festival, though not in competition, was Layia Yourgou’s social drama, «Liubi,» which drew rave reviews from the audience. The film has also had a successful run at Greek theaters this summer.