Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Announces 2011 Program & Events

Still from "Pelican's Watch"

Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) has announced the 2011 line-up of films for its 5th annual Festival, which runs June 9-12 at the Laemmle’s Sunset 5 in West Hollywood.

In recent years, the Greek American diaspora has made leaps and bounds in the fields of art and science, playing an active role in the advancement of modern Greek culture in the USA and around the world.

LAGFF is witnessing a new wave of Greek Cinema emerging from an irreverent generation of young filmmakers who insist on breaking ties with past trends and seeing things in their own unique way. The results are impressive and include recognition in global film circles and the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that nominated Yorgos Lanthimos’ DOGTOOTH in the foreign language film category.

This year, seven feature films, five documentaries and nine shorts, including three world premieres, ten US premieres and eight LA premieres will be presented during the 4-day Festival. The Festival has also added an industry panel “Crossing Borders: Foreign Films in Hollywood” to the schedule this year.
“This year’s films represent all facets of Greek life – humor, music, wine, erotica, and family… with a twist! Los Angeles audiences will not be disappointed,” says Ersi Danou, LAGFF co-founder. “The growing Greek film community is rapidly proving itself a formidable source of truly groundbreaking cinema and I am proud to help bring these incredible works to the Los Angeles screen.” states Owen Ward, Director of Programming.
Opening night gala will showcase Lea Binzer’s documentary PELICAN’S WATCH about a small community of elders on the island of Santorini charged with the unique duty to preserve the traditions of vine-growing and winemaking in the face of changing times that threaten their ancient and world renowned art. The screening will be followed by a reception featuring some of the top Greek wines.
Santorini winemakers and the filmmakers are expected to attend. On Friday June 10, LAGFF presents the US premiere of Roy Sher’s MY SWEET CANARY, a documentary that recounts the story of Roza Eskenazy, the Diva of Rebetiko or “Greek Blues,” whose music shaped the soundtrack of Greece and Asia Minor for almost a century.
The legendary music composer Mikis Theodorakis will be presented with a Honorary Orpheus Award during the awards ceremony on Sunday, June 12, at the Writers Guild Theatre.

The award acknowledges the man’s iconic status as a leading figure in a nation’s struggle for freedom and peace as well as his
body of work in the world of music and contribution to world cinema with scores for milestone films such as Z, SERPICO, STATE OF SIEGE, and ZORBA THE GREEK. Accepting the Orpheus on his behalf will be Asteris Koutoulas, a longtime collaborator as well as the director of the featured documentary MIKIS THEODORAKIS, COMPOSER, which will be shown on Saturday, June 11.
The Festival comes to a close Sunday, June 12 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills with a Gala event and world premiere of BURNING HEADS (To Gala), directed by Giorgos Siougas. This poignant story, based on the Greek play To Gala by Katsikonouris is a hardcore look at immigration and resulting family dynamics in Greece today.
Immediately preceding the feature LAGFF will host its closing night Orpheus Awards ceremony, hosted by comedian Angelo Tsarouchas. The evening ends with sumptuous Mediterranean food reception. The reception, to be sponsored by world-renowned Greek-owned Earth Friendly Products, will be green-themed in support of green action in Greece and around the world.
Co-founder Angeliki Giannakopoulos adds, “We are also pleased to expand the festival beyond the Greek borders to address the changes that are happening within the independent film distribution arena as a whole. We have added the “Crossing Borders: Foreign Films in Hollywood‟ panel with experts who are able to address new avenues outside the traditional route.” While still marginal players in the US distribution and exhibition domains, foreign films have a growing effect on both studio and independent domestic filmmaking, shown by an increasing number of international co-productions and Hollywood studio remakes.

The 5th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) runs from June 9-12 at Laemmle’s Sunset 5, located at 8000 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. Closing night will take place at the Writers Guild Theater at 135 S. Doheny in Beverly Hills.
Tickets can be purchased online via the LAGFF website at LAGFF.org beginning Tuesday, May 10, 2011.
Elite Pass Members are $300 online and $350 at the door (includes VIP preferred seating to all films, opening and closing night tickets, and access to all events – industry, panel and seminar). General film tickets are $12 each. For more information, including how to purchase Screening Passes, Event information and Elite Passes, please visit http://lagff.org
LAGFF 2011 Program Page 3

LAGFF Full Schedule:

Opening Night Film:

PELICAN’S WATCH (I Vardia tou Pelekanou)
Greece, 2011, 67 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Lea Binzer
[TRAILER]

A small community of elders on the island of Santorini is charged with the unique duty to preserve the traditions of vine-growing and winemaking in the face of changing times that threaten their ancient and world-renowned art.

13th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival: Honrary Mention by ERT 3 (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation)

 

Closing Night Film

BURNING HEADS (To Gala)
Greece, 2011, 99 min, World Premiere
Director: George Siougas
Producers: Christos Konstadakopoulos, Manos Krezias, Kostas Labropoulos, Dionisis Samiotis

When Russian immigrant Adonis introduces his bride-to-be to his mother and schizophrenic brother, deep-rooted rifts within their family explode as Adonis seeks to ease his guilt and his mother tries to restore the bond their family once knew in their long-lost homeland.

Fiction features

A WOMAN’S WAY (Strella)
Greece, 2009, 113 min, LA Premiere
Director/Producer: Panos Koutras

When Yorgos is released from prison and seeks his estranged son, he meets and falls in love with the matriarchal transsexual Strella, discovering that the two have much more in common than expected and that she might even offer the key to his lost happiness.

BILOBA
Greece, 2009, 97 min, LA Premiere
Director: Sofia Papchristou
Producer: Sofia Papachristou, Stavros Meleas

Engineer Peter sets off to build a power generator fueled by toxic waste on an uncharted island, but unexpectedly finds magic amongst the backward islanders and is faced with a difficult choice.

Thessaloniki Film Festival 2009: Audience Award

THE DEATH I DREAMED OF (O Thanatos pou Oneireythika)
Greece, 2010, 94 min, LA Premiere
Director/Producer: Panagiotis Kravvas

Based on a true story, this horror tale follows a group of teenagers as they encounter a mysterious stranger who at first gathers them in a celebration of the occult but eventually unleashes a very real display of death and destruction.

HARISMA
Greece, 2010, 83 min, LA Premiere
Director: Christina Ioakeimidi
Producer: Alexandra Boussiou

When unsophisticated bus driver Haris thrusts himself into the seemingly controlled life of young teacher Ismini, both have to abandon their safety nets in order to find true love in this light-hearted comedy.

KNIFER (Macherovgaltis)
Greece, 2010, 108 min, US Premiere
Director: Yannis Economides
Producer: Panos Papahadzis

In this artful B&W account of a decaying middle class, Nikos moves in with his brutish uncle to guard his dogs, but soon finds out that he must pull himself together in order to set things right.

WITHOUT BORDERS (Horis Sinora)
Greece, 2010, 97 min, US Premiere
Director: Nick Gaitatjis
Producers: John Apostolou, Sandra Staggs

With the help of his eccentric cousin, Thanasis embarks on a journey across continents in search of his six-year-old adopted daughter, redefining the meaning of familial love along the way.

 

Documentaries

THE GAME MUST GO ON (Ta Paidia Den Paizei)
Greece, 2010, 80 min, LA Premiere
Director: Angeli Andrikopoulou, Argyris Tsepelikas
Producer: Rea Apostolides
[TRAILER]

Tired of being hassled by their neighbors for playing soccer in the streets, an ambitious group of children set out to build a playing field of their own by daring what most adults would not: Cutting through the red tape and going up against the machine of local politics.

MIKIS THEODORAKIS, COMPOSER (Mikis Theodorakis, Komponist)
Germany, 2010, 53 min, US Premiere
Directors: Asteris Kutulas, Klaus Salge
Producer: Klaus Salge

This in-depth portrait of Mikis Theodorakis explores the roots of the life and work of Greece’s legendary composer whose music became identified with the struggles of a nation torn by war and strife in the 20th Century.

MY SWEET CANARY
Israel/France/Greece, 2011, 89 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Roy Sher
[TRAILER]

The story of Roza Eskenazy, the Diva of Rebetiko or “Greek Blues,” whose music shaped the soundtrack of Greece and Asia Minor for almost a century is unveiled through the journey of three modern musicians who retrace her steps and perform her songs.

 

WITH GREAT POWER: THE STAN LEE STORY *
USA, 2010, 80 min
Directors: Will Hess, Terry Dougas, Nikki Frakes
Producers: Paris Latsis, Will Hess, Nikki Frakes, Terry Dougas

Get up close and personal with Stan Lee, the artist behind world-famous Marvel comics and comic book favorites like Spiderman and The Fantastic Four in this star-studded documentary that explores how one of today’s great creative minds came to be.

Short films

1.2 MILLION CHILDREN (1.2 Ekatommyria Paidia)
Greece, 2010, 3 min, US Premiere (Animated)
Director: Effie Pappa
Producers: Effie Pappa, Stelios Polychronakis

This animated short brings light to the tragic issue of children being bought and sold across international borders.

6th Animfest 2010: 2nd Animation Award
EBGE Hellenic Graphic Design & Animation Awards: Special Merit Award

13 ½
Greece, 2010, 21 min, US Premiere
Director: Haris Vafeiadis
Producer: Yiannis Exintaris

The road to adulthood is fraught with peril for this young teenage girl who comes to understand the value of her lost innocence.

Greek Federation of Film Societies Drama Film Festival: 2nd Fiction, Best Female Performance, Best Film)

ALTER *
Greece, 2011, 9 min, World Premiere
Director: Petros Antoniadis
Producers: Maria Vlachaki, George Antoniadis

An unconventional artist finds that he must embrace all parts of his psyche in order to reach fulfillment.

COMMENTARY *
USA/Canada, 2010, 8 min, World Premiere
Director: Jonathan Crow
Producer: John Kapelos, Ira Miller

What starts as a simple behind-the-scenes commentary recording session between a film producer and director becomes a hilarious conflict of personal relationships.

MARIOS AND THE RAVEN
Greece, 2010, 22 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Yiannis Bougioukas

On his 53rd birthday, Marios seems to have everything he ever wished for- until a bird dropping from the blue reveals his happiness to be far more fragile than it seemed.

16th International Short Film Festival in Drama 2010: Best South and Eastern Europe Film Award
33rd National Short Film Festival in Drama 2010: Best Actor (Errikos Litsis)

PYRAMIDS OF ATHENS (Pyramides tis Athinas)
Greece, 2010, 15 min
Director/Producer: Yolanda Markopoulou

A young Egyptian immigrant in Athens observes suspicious activity in the abandoned building where he is squatting and decides to take matters into his own hands despite language and cultural barriers.

RF
Greece, 2010, 20 min, US Premiere
Director: Stavros Liokalos
Producer: Ekso Productions

One man simply trying to adjust his TV antenna sets off a chain of comic events that bring an entire apartment community together.

THE DOG (O Skylos)
Greece, 2009, 23 min, US Premiere
Director: Nikos Charalabopoulos (aka Labot)
Producers: Nikos Charalabopoulos, Louizos Aslanidis

The arrival of a young suitor and his dog means war for a father who compulsively protects his only daughter.

WHAT TIME WILL YOU BE BACK? (Ti Ora tha Gyrisis?)
Greece, 2010, 20 min, US Premiere
Director: Maritina Passari
Producer: Panayiotis Karabinis

When Eurydice rebels against her mother to follow her dream of becoming a punk-rock singer, she realizes that the mother-daughter relationship is not one-way.

NOTE: All films include English subtitles, except (*) indicates English original language.