Greek film honored in Locarno

A Greek production was the recipient of various honorary distinctions at the Locarno International Film Festival last weekend, as Filippos Tsitos’s «Akadimia Platonos» earned the Jury Prize, the 1st Youth Jury Prize and the Ecumenical Prize. The film’s greatest triumph, however, was the award for best actor which was bestowed on Antonis Kafetzopoulos. Just as the Venice Film Festival awards Lions and the Berlin Film Festival hands out Bears, the Locarno festival awards Leopards. With his Leopard in hand, Kafetzopoulos posed for international news agencies alone or alongside Dutch actress Lotte Verbeek, who received the Leopard for best actress for her work in Urszula Antoniak’s «Nothing Personal.» At the awards ceremony, the Greek actor was awarded the Leopard by American director Jonathan Nossiter, a familiar face, whose 2000 film «Signs and Wonders» was shot on location in Athens. In view of the award, Kafetzopoulos referred to the lack of strategy that defines the Greek film industry. It is rather ironic that while Tsitos’s movie was being honored in Locarno, the film’s participation in the upcoming edition of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival is still pending. Irrespective of what lies ahead in the local market, the film’s distinction provided a great boost. As a result there was interest from the international market and the film has already secured distribution in Germany and Switzerland. The film, a Greek/German production, was produced by Pan Entertainment (Greece), Twenty Twenty Vision (Germany) the Greek Film Center (Greece) and ZDF-Das Kleine Fernsehspiel (Germany), in collaboration with ARTE, ERT and Graal SA. «Intelligent, warm and very funny, Filippos Tsitos’s ‘Akadimia Platonos’ is a small tale of a proudly nationalistic Greek man who discovers that he might actually be Albanian – a situation that causes trouble for his family and friends,» writes Ray Bennett in The Hollywood Reporter. «With an ensemble cast of pleasing skill, the film addresses a worldwide problem with considerable insight, wise humor and a very delicate touch. It will do well at festivals and may make a splash on the art-house circuit.» Starring alongside Kafetzopoulos are Anasta Kozdine, Titika Saringouli and Giorgos Souxes, among others. At the Locarno festival, the Golden Leopard was awarded to Chinese director Xiaolu Guo, for her film «She, A Chinese,» a British, German and French production.