The 7th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival kicks off June 6 at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills with an impressive line-up. Films to be shown at this year’s festival have just been announced, and a special honoring of Greek-American filmmaker Elia Kazan will also take place at the event. There will be a screening on June 7 of his Academy Award-winning film, “America America,” about a young Greek who dreams of going to America but loses his family’s fortune while traveling to Istanbul. HBO’s President of Miniseries & Cinemax Programming and LAGFF Advisory Board member, Kary Antholis, will introduce the film.
“It has been a dream of ours to celebrate Kazan’s work, and this seems to be the right moment. And we are grateful to Kary Antholis for shedding light on Kazan’s roots and connecting his creative genius with our own history and the history of our ancestors as immigrants,” said LAGFF’s Creative Director and Co-Founder Ersi Danou.
LAGFF will focus on Greece’s economic crisis this year and how cinema has been increasingly important in the world scene.
“These filmmakers have responded powerfully with a redefinition of values and principles. They are raising their voices and shedding light on pressing issues, with anger, pathos and even humor. Our selections capture the most vibrant of these, while showcasing some innovative filmmaking and a slew of new, young, and daring artists not to be missed,” said the festival’s Director of Programming, Aristotle Katopodis.
Opening night will include the period drama “Meteora” from Spiros Stathoulopoulos, starring “True Blood” actor Theo Alexander as a Greek Orthodox monk who engages in a love affair with a Russian Orthodox nun.
Also on the schedule, Thanos Anastopoulos’ thriller “The Daughter” and Ektoras Lygizos’ drama “Boy Eating the Bird’s Food,” which is likely to be Greece’s 2014 Oscar submission, will both make their U.S. premiere at the festival. In addition, Panagiotis Evangelidis’ poignant documentary, “They Glow in the Dark,” shot in post-Katrina New Orleans, about two middle-aged gay friends and ex-lovers who are penniless and have HIV, will also get its U.S. premiere; the film won the 2013 FIPRESCI Prize at this year’s Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Stella Theodoraki’s thought-provoking documentary, “Amnesia Diaries,” which was filmed almost entirely by Theodoraki herself over a four-year period in 1985, 1986, 2010 and 2012, and reflects on the rapidly changing world, will screen at the festival.
Prior to the closing night screening on June 9, the festival will present its Orpheus Awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short and Audience Choice, as well as Jury distinctions. Kimon Tsakiris’ documentary “Mitsigan – Hardships and Beauties” will bring the festival to an end. On a journey through a region of Greece, the film centers on a modern-day cowboy, Mitsigan, who realizes his country will never be the same.
And, new this year, the festival’s previously announced Project Discovery Forum will be presented on June 9 at the Real D Theater in Beverly Hills. The Forum is sponsored by Pabst Brewing Company and the Metropoulos Family, designed to encourage and help filmmakers of Greek or other Balkan descent with their new projects. A professional panel will critique and judge five to eight finalist projects during a 20-minute, in-person presentation by the filmmakers themselves. The winning project will receive the $1,000 Aegean Award, sponsored by the Metropoulos Family.