The teenage descendant of Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, is now considered by the European Commission one of the three most important documentary cinema events on the continent, as TDF's founder and Artistic Director Dimitri Eipides announced during the opening ceremony on March 13th, 2015. Even "in these complicated times" and with serious budget cuts, the festival programme of the 17th edition was abundant, featuring 191 titles in 11 segments and three tributes sections.
Both film festivals in Thessaloniki enjoy enormous interest and support from local viewers, but among the special events attracting exceptional attention at TDF was the Live Cinema performance by Sam Green, who presented his documentary The Measure of All Things with live musical accompaniment in the Olympion Theatre. Two of the celebrated documentarians in the Tributes line-up were in attendance too: the Romanian Alexandru Solomon, whose filmography can be seen as a study of propaganda, held a press conference, while the Austrian Hubert Sauper, known for his work on Africa, took part in an open discussion.
Along with the audience success of the 17th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, quantified in 53,691 tickets, the Agora Doc Market welcomed more than 100 international industry guests and offered a packed schedule with pitching sessions, panels and talks. Thus it is noteworthy that TDF's closing ceremony started with a prize being bestowed to Anastasios Tzikas, President of the Thessaloniki International Fair, for the backing this organization has been providing to the festival market.
Further on, the Docs In-Progress Award, along with 15,000 Euros in post-production services, was given to The Longest Run by Marianna Economou. The Amnesty International award went to Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (Ma'a al-Fidda) by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan. The WWF Award for a title in the Habitat section was claimed by Orlando von ?insiedel's Virunga.
The five-member FIPRESCI jury, consisting of Massimo Lechi (Italy), President, Mo Abdi (UK), Gia Giovani (Greece), Kirsten Kieninger (Germany), and Yoana Pavlova (France), selected two winners among the international films premiering at the festival and the Greek titles from the various sections: Magnus Gertten's Every Face Has a Name and Filippos Koutsaftis' Hail Arcadia, respectively.
Olympia by Stavros Psyllakis won the Fischer Audience Prize for a Greek production under 45 minutes, while in the national full-length category spectators voted for Paradoxical Fatherland by Nikos Aslanidis. Flame (Plamen) by Dress Code, aka Dan Covert and Andre Andreev. Finally, the big audience award dedicated to the memory of Peter Wintonick was presented to Virunga, which was also screened as a closing film. (Yoana Pavlova)
Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival: www.filmfestival.gr