Photo Credit: Alex Vacca
The 2nd Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday, June 25 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with a first-time screening of a newly restored print of Anthony Quinn starring in “Zorba the Greek”. Many Greek celebrities in the entertainment business came to show their support.
Tony Thomopoulos, former head of United Artists, said he thought that a Greek film festival like this one was very important to allow “second, third and fourth generation Greek Americans to reconnect with their heritage.” Former Democratic nominee for the governor of California, Phil Angelides said the film festival was an opportunity to “enjoy our culture, history and cinematic achievements.”
Actress Molly Ringwald, former “Brat Pack” star of “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club”, attended with her husband, novelist Panio Gianopoulos. Ringwald said her Greek connection has come full circle, since the first movie she ever made, “Tempest” (1982), was filmed in Greece in Peloponneus, and then it turns out her husband’s family is from Peloponneus.
Greek pop singing sensation, Sakis Rouvas, was in attendance to promote the U.S. premiere of his movie, “Alter Ego”, where he plays a rock star dealing with fame and the struggles that go with it. “Alter Ego” was filmed in Greece and is the first acting role for Rouvas who plays Stefanos, the guitarist in a rock band.
Although not appearing in any films in the festival, actor Alex Lyras, starring in the upcoming film “Mona”, actress Marina Sirtis, Commander Deanna Troi from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, and Daytime Emmy Nominated actor Thaao Penghlis came to show their support for the Greek community as well.
Festival Directors, Angeliki Giannakopoulos and Ersi Danou, explain that the 2008 festival differs from 2007 with the addition of a fifth day of films. Giannakopolous added that this year the “documentary section is really phenomenal.” Topics of documentary films to be screened at the festival include the Greek fires of 2007, the history of Greek immigration to the United States, and the struggles of a paralyzed man.
The festival runs through Sunday, June 29, ending with a screening of “Little Greek Godfather”, based on an autobiograhical short story by Nicholas Papandreou, son of former Prime Minister of Greece, Andreas Papandreou. For the LAGFF film and event schedule, visit http://www.lagreekfilmfestival.org/