Παρασκευή, 8 Ιουνίου 2012

LOS ANGELES GREEK FILM FESTIVAL SOARS TO NEW HEIGHTS; AND THE ORPHEUS GOES TO...

The 2012 Orpheus Awards as photographed by Maria Martin
Grecophiles from near and far received a much-needed emotional lift during the four-day 2012 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, culminating with the presentation of the Orpheus Awards at the elegant Hancock Park residence of Greek Consul General Elisabeth Fotiadou.

"This year's festival was one of the most successful we've had," stated Greek Consul General Elisabeth Fotiadou about the recently-concluded 6th annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.  "I am glad to see more and more people interested in Greek cinema.  The Festival's team did amazing work.  The films they screened were very powerful; commented on the Greek society of the past and present; and depicted parts of Greece's reality in a very sensitive and mature way, sometimes with a bitter sense of humor."

 

And some of these filmmakers went on to win an Orpheus Award.  Named for the legendary Greek poet and "father of songs", the Orpheus is awarded annually to honor the best in Greek and Greek-inspired cinema.  Selecting the winners this year were jury members Robert Arentz, founder of the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival; Klara Beverly, owner of the theatrical distribution company ATLANTIS Entertainment CZ; Andrew P. Crane, Special Project Programmer and Membership Manager for the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles; and Marc Halperin, who has managed the release of numerous landmark films.  
 
THE PALACE Director Anthony Maras.  Photo by Maria Martin.

The Orpheus for Best Short Film was awarded to THE PALACE, in which writer/director Anthony Maras explores 1974 Cyprus where a conscript soldier comes face to face with a family in hiding and must confront the brutal reality of war and his role in it.

 
Production still from APARTMENT IN ATHENS.

The Orpheus for Best Feature was awarded to APARTMENT IN ATHENS (Appartamento ad Atene), directed by Ruggero Diapola.  Set against a backdrop of the German occupation of Greece in 1943, this drama introduces us to an Athenian family that undergoes a profound change when their apartment is commandeered by an exacting German officer with an inscrutable attitude.

 
Production still from WASTED YOUTH.

An unplanned Special Jury Orpheus Award was presented to WASTED YOUTH co-directors Argyris Papadimitropoulos and Jan Vogel.  The film takes place in Athens on a blazing hot day on which a teenage skateboarder sets out for an aimless day with his friends; a middle-aged policeman struggles to make ends meet; and a simple twist of fate disrupts the course of their actions.

 
SAYOME Director Nikos Dayandas. Photo by Maria Martin.

So powerful is SAYOME, the feature-length documentary from Director Nikos Dayandas, it was awarded the Orpheus for Best Documentary and for Audience Choice.  After 35 years of living in Crete, happily married to a Greek sailor and raising her two sons, Sayome hears news of her mother’s death and return to her native Japan to reunite with her estranged family.

A personal highlight of this year’s festival for Ersi Danou, and a surprise of awards night, was the Honorary Orpheus presented to Greek Consul General Elisabeth Fotiadou.  “This was the least we could do to express our immense gratitude for all the support she has offered LAGFF throughout the last three years, and for hosting, along with her husband Dr. Vasilios Berdoukas, the Orpheus Awards at her elegant residence,” stated Danou.  “We are forever indebted to her.”

 
Greek Consul General Elisabeth Fotiadou accepts her Honorary Orpheus Award, with her husband Dr. Vasilios Berdoukas, as programmer Kacie Velie looks on.  Photo by Maria Martin.

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