OPINION

Young people are looking for quality

The unprecedented numbers of visitors to this year’s Thessaloniki Film Festival have taken even the media and filmmakers by surprise. Over 125,000 people have crowded into the cinemas, where there has often been standing room only. Audiences are 30 percent larger than last year, when the increase over the previous year was as high as 38 percent. It is young people who comprise the majority of these audiences – the average age is well under 30. Clearly the new cinephiles come from Thessaloniki’s student population of over 125,000. It seems that these young people, often misunderstood and maligned, are only too happy to abandon the endless rows of cafes and bars of the Ladadika district if offered a better alternative. They are thirsty for art, for debate, new ideas and quality entertainment. The recent success of the Athens Film Festival was also largely due to youthful audiences. The message is clear, and, although still tentative, is vitally important: Young people are looking for quality, not just cafes.