The curtain rang down. The lights went out. The 6th International Peloponnese Documentary Film Festival has become the most successful festival in history...
The remarkably increased, everyday, public attedance in the screening room “I. Angelopoulos' is understood as the result of its need to know, be informed, to share emotions, impressions, stories and secrets of life as people experience it in other places. Greek and foreign documentaries have successfully accomplished this through their work.
The 6th Peloponnisos International Documentary Festival was held from 17 to 27 January 2020 in Kalamata while part of the program hosted in the other cities Patra, Tripoli, Argos, Amaliada, Sparti, Dimitsana, Gythio and Xilokastro, had a huge public attendance and everyone including students embraced it.
The sixth year has brought a powerful experience for all participating hosts, artists, spectators and volunteers. A series of multi-dimensional and high-value films were watched by over 5,500 adults and 3,200 students.
Like every year, this year, foreign and Greek directors were invited, many of whom were in our city to present their work and talk to the public, exchanging views, ideas and inspiration! A series of parallel events and seminars open to the public enriched the main program.
Lee along with fashion designer Dimo Petkov Major of the Festival, the result of which was the creative two-minute Animation made by the students of the Leikon Elementary School, led by Thomas Kunstler. Equally creative and artistically accomplished is the result of the Festival's collaboration with the Aristotle University Film School. Four-year students participated in a seminar given by Dutch director Robert Rombout, and completed the production of a modular documentary on topics inspired by Kalamata and Messinia.
The Department of Cultural Management of the University of Peloponnese has been actively involved in organizing the festival, with first-year students undertaking a series of interviews with documentary filmmakers during the quarter.
This year, a new collaboration was launched with the Department of Theater Studies of the University of Peloponnese in Nafplio, whose students evaluated and awarded a prize in the best Greek documentary.
In the almost crowded room "Th. Angelopoulos" of the Kalamata Workers' Center, on Friday night, the curtain of the 6th Kalamata International Documentary Festival ran down amid a moving climate. Artists, hosts, viewers and volunteers have all discovered the magic of documentary art, "tasted" new ways of communicating through stories that talk about creativity, expression, psychology, art, sexuality and controversy, the impact of war on man and of course the environment that this year has been the main subject of the Festival in a pursuit of awakening and reflection of tomorrow's world.
After the end of the scheduled screenings, the closing ceremony began with a mini-video that was applauded by the audience. Then we watched the two-minute Animation created by the students of Leicester Elementary School, led by Thomas Kunstler, with a loud message about the environment. Thomas was on stage with young children who expressed their enthusiasm and desire to have more children this experience in the future.
After that the audience watched the screening of the extraordinary documentary - a tribute to the sculptor who designs the festival's awards, Christos Riganas. A short portrait directed by the festival's artistic adviser, Clone Flessa, entitled "Christos Riganas, Chisel Graphics".
Moreover, the result of the Seminar was presented, curated by this year's official guest speaker, and internationally acclaimed director Iara Lee, and by Dimo Petkov, a student at the Athens Fine Arts College. The result was a modular video art film entitled "6 Corners on Resistance", namely six different approaches, depictions of human resistance to systemic oppression, unjustified violence, internal turmoil.
The modular film was created by the students of ASKT. Ioanna Filipopoulou, George Lazaridis, Eremus, Vassos Leounaki, Fionas Stathopoulou, Nikos Antonopoulos, Kostis Kontogeorgou, Dimitris Baltas.
The documentary of Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar The Silence of Others (El silencio de otros) was voted as the Best Foreign Documentary
Panos Deligiannis' first directorial effort to proclaim the title Príncipes Felizes - Happy Princes was voted as THE BEST GREEK DOCUMENTARY
The same documentary was also honored by the members of the Jury of the Faculty of Theater Studies of the School of Fine Arts of the University of Peloponnese in Nafplio, who evaluated the Greek documentaries and awarded him their own prize.
First we have the Awards of the Festival's Equality Committee. The Jury members Lara Lee, Robert Rombout and Stella Theodorakis , in films that highlight the issue of gender relations. The Jury saw the 14 films competing with great interest and appreciated their multifaced response to extremely difficult issues concerning humanity and undermining Equality and its legal order.
"Wanting to state our opposition to the way that powerful political, religious, and economic systems are killing, torturing and killing women, we have decided to give one of the two Equality Awards to Maid in Hell, the Greek title Servant in Hell, Søren Klovborg, Denmark. The film is about moving maids to a more prosperous life that ends in a nightmare. Slave woman, from Asian and African countries, without personal life, without passport, without legal rights, ends up with traffickers in wealthy employers, Suicide bombers. The cynicism of traffickers against women falling from the balconies to be saved is incredible. "Where are they going?" One of them says. "Do they think it has a pool underneath?" The "law" of the powerful destroys every culture, every human existence that cannot resist, " said Iara Lee and Robert Rombout who presented the awards.
The jury was fascinated by the tribute to Bulgarian-born poet Danila Strogianova (Sofia 1961-Paris 1984). It is the portrait of a woman who died tragically at a young age after battling cancer. Danila never stopped writing, not even in her last moments. This poetic documentary is approaching its poetic world and gives this forgotten material a new dimension. The movie may not save the world but it is a moving and true film, rather low cost but captivating to our senses.
This year's excellent documentaries, the quality of the work and the buzzing messages they conveyed led the Commission to decide on two films, in the documentary "Dancing with Monica / Dancing with Monica" by the filmmaker Anja and Hoffman. " Hell and Hope " by director Amish Srivastava.
The movie, "Dancing with Monica," restores the outdated notion that prostitutes are bad people. The film does not come up with a cliché about pornography, but it does approach the human side of a woman working as a prostitute.
As for Amish Srivastava's film "Hell and Hope", it is based on the depositions of some Yazidi girls kidnapped by the Islamic State. The anarchy and lack of legal system under Isis's possession brought great suffering (violence, slavery and rape). The film shows to the audience the stolen innocence, terror and confusion of these young girls living in Germany far from where they were born. It also shows that from day to night we can lose our world, our lives and our freedom.
The Festival is getting better and it is better known every year to more and more people inside and outside the borders! This contributes to the hosts' effort to continually improve the organizational part, to do more accurate research on the films chosen to be screened, as well as the people who make every detail available.
Taking the opportunity, Ms. Petropoulou thanked the volunteers who formed the backbone of the event. This year she had many more volunteers than any other year from Kalamata, Athens, Nafplio, Thessaloniki. Together they fought hard for this result!
These people that fought together are: Sofia Pouloupati, Lena Papadopoulou, Nantiana Koutiva, Kyriakos Liarakos, Athina Zotou, Antonia Pternea, Florentia Kauris, Giorgos Potagas, Manos Kalafatelis, Damon Vlachos, Evanthia Kyriasis, Maria Siamatra, Natalia Zikou, Giannis Kourtesis, Konstantinos Metsos, Vasilis Pedis, Marilena Riga, Maria Papadopoulou, Nikolas Kopsachilis, Aneta Kallergi, Haris Doussis, Maria Mitrou, Konstantinos Nezis, Athena Nikolakopoulou, Despina Koutsogila, Julia Makarouni, Litsa Tsatsopoulou, Konstantina Rontou, Dina Sotaki, Georgia Moutsoula Emmy Abnez, Sotiris Theodoropoulos, Giannis Manoloudis, Sissi Triantou, Nikos Manitsas, Nadia Xinou, Louise Douro, Akram Chaib, Pol Seif.
The Festival needs more help and more stability. The hosts give their souls to a beautiful, high quality and well organized event and each year they enjoy greater recognition from the artists and people involved. However, there is a sense that there is a lack of understanding among local actors about the importance, scope and, of course, the cost of this Festival.
Especially this year, when the Ministry of Finance decided to suspend the NSRF, the festival was deprived of its main funding and the problem was more acute and the assistance it received was clearly unable to fully meet the needs. It's a shame especially when we see funding given to other cultural events and not to something as big as this Festival that goes beyond the city, county and country borders. The amounts given this year as aid showed that the magnitude of the effort and the potential for the event had not been yet realized of its importance.