Ecofilms Festival on isle of Rhodes

The Ecofilms Festival starting June 19 on Rhodes promises the thought-provoking fare its fans have come to expect. Packed into the six days till June 24 are around 100 films from 39 countries, an exhibition of photos, a workshop on the documentary film market and a cinema and visual arts conference on work in progress. The official opening on Tuesday evening encapsulates Ecofilms’ signature themes and approach. First comes a tribute to Antonis Pahos, the veteran photographer and cinematographer from Rhodes who donated his archives to the festival, which is restoring and digitizing them. The opening film, «Knowledge is the Beginning» (Germany) directed by Paul Smaczny, about an inspirational Israeli and Arab youth orchestra, is followed by «The Color of Olives» (Mexico), about a Palestinian family that lives behind the West Bank wall. «Natura Naturans,» an exhibition by local photographer Smara Ayacatsica, opening Wednesday, celebrates the earth, sky and sea of Rhodes in sensuous color. On Thursday Jan Rofekamp, president and CEO of Films Transit International Inc, will lead a workshop on the documentary marketplace, focusing on issues such as production, sales, international film festival strategy and the future of documentaries. There is also a three-film tribute to Philhellene French filmmaker Jean-Daniel Pollet, and two films from the Mediterranean Film Institute: «Nowhere in Africa» by Caroline Link, winner of the 2003 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and «Akamas» by Panikos Chrysanthou. The films in the competition section are vying for best feature film, best medium-length film, best short film, the Medwet Ramsar Award for films on water and wetlands and best Greek film. Presenting the program to the press on Monday, the festival’s artistic director Lucia Rikaki acknowledged the generous support Ecofilms receives from local government, but noted that cutbacks have necessitated some belt-tightening. Apart from the Greek Film Center’s awards of -3,000 and -2,000 respectively for the best Greek feature and short in all categories, the other awards this year will not come with a cash prize.

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