|The 2012 Orpheus Awards as photographed by Maria Martin|
"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 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.
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.
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.
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.”