There was laughter and celebration as the 9th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) concluded Sunday, June 7 at the Egyptian Theatre. The evening began with a screening of Panos H. Koutras “Xenia” followed by their annual Orpheus Awards Ceremony and Closing Night Gala Reception and live auction under the Hollywood stars.
Taking top Jury Orpheus honors were from Greece, Yannis Economides’ redemption drama “Stratos” (Best Feature Film); from Greece, Germany and Qatar Yorgos Avgeropoulos’ “Agora” (Best Documentary) which follows the dissolution of the city center as a hub of democracy and free thinking to becoming just a modern day marketplace; from France Basile Doganis’ “Citizen Day” (Best Short).
Watch interviews from the LAGFF red carpet closing night:
Winning the inaugural Van Vlahakis Award for Innovative Filmmaking, Stavroula Toska for her daring documentary “Underneath the Olive Tree” which reveals the true stories of atrocities suffered by women during the Greek Civil War in late 1940’s.
This year’s Audience Award went to Angeliki Aristomenopoulou’s documenatary “A Family Affair” an intimate portrait of the famous Xylouris family and their sacred bonds with the musical tradition of Crete.
LAGFF’s executive producer Alex Kalognomos took center stage to introduce Panos H. Koutras’ award-winning dramedy “Xenia” before the near capacity audience. During his introduction, Kalognomos took time to thank his team and the over 50 department heads and volunteers that worked tirelessly for the past six months to bring the festival to life.”
After the screening, artistic director Aris Katopodis announced that, “This year we were proud to host over 42 filmmakers and 35 films from around the world. We were entertained, moved and inspired as we watched their visions unfold on the screen of the Egyptian Theatre and we thank them for sharing their stories with us.”
Katopodis went on to say “LAGFF has reached a milestone with an attendance that boasted a double digit rise in patronage. Our industry program – International Project Discovery Program, under Araceli Lemos and producer Giulia Caruso’s guidance continues to grow in popularity and this year’s public pitching session was a huge success.”
Katopodis went on to say that “Thanks to the support of our sponsors, media sponsors, co-founders Ersi Danou and Angeliki Giannakopoulos the Festival will continue to bring entertaining and thought provoking stories from Greek and Cypriot filmmakers worldwide to Los Angeles. With your continued support, we look forward to celebrating the end of our first decade in 2016. We invite everyone here to join us here for the 10th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival in June of 2016.” He then invited Orpheus Award Producer Dorothea Paschalidou to the podium to introduce the evening’s Awards host Swiss-born Greek megastar Panos Mouzourakis.
This year’s Orpheus Honorees were Kary Antholis, president of HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, and “Hercules” scribe Evan Spiliotopoulos. Presenting the Orpheus Award to Kary Antholis was Emmy Award-winning television and film director Greg Yaitanes (“Banshee”).
The 2015 International Project Discovery Forum winners were also handed out. The Aegean Award with a $1000 scholarship was presented to “Dora” (Bulgaria) and director Milko Lazarov, writers Simeon Ventsislavov and Milko Lazarov.
The Mfi script2film workshops Scholarship was awarded to “In The Arena” (Greece), writer/ director Arsenis Polymenopoulos and co-writer Dimitris Emmanouilidis. Honorable mention went to “Hamarat Apartment”, director/writer/producer Huseyin Karabey (Turkey).