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Thessaloniki: Documentary Film Festival 2014 – Opening Doors

IMG_0445_5 (1280x852)How to start the first day of this amazing festival, which welcomes you with 185 films, each 2 times screened, in 6 cinemas between Aristoteles Sqaure and the old Warehouses at the ‘harbour’, in 10 days between 11am and 11 pm?

3 ways, following the seaside, to enter the 16th Thessaloniky Documentary Festival:

PromenadeManufacturingConsent_03Old Warehouse 1, First movie in the program. Or: Documentary as the good bad conscience of media

Peter Wintonicks „Manufacturing Consent“ (1993; Videostill links) explores the political and intelectual ideas of world known and controversial lingust and activist Noam Chomsky. It is a lecture about critical self-defence of your own convictions, which is presented due the massive interview and speeces the professor has given in public and to the presse. Knowing how to to provoke with wit, the film displays a monument of archive in order to update Chomsky’s critique of mass media. Surprisingly accesible, it is a tribute to the idea of freedom of speech and urges filmmakers and journalists to rememeber the importance for responsibly self-reflection, beeing the good and bad conscience of the media and distribution of information.

Completely awakend and mind sharpened, the ‘real’ world outside the cinema halls welcomes you with bedazzling sunlight and the smell salty Meditteranean. Some time left to take a walk around the ‘harbour’ and watch men fishing in the sea, until….

jpeg angler (1280x716) POSIBLES (1)

The 2nd 1st way: A film recomended by the Festival. Or: Documentary as pure cinema!

With „Los posibles“ (The Possibles; 2013; Videostill left) demonstrates the Argentinian director Santiago Mitre that documentary isn’ t only talking heads and explainative off-voices. The film ‘documents’ rehearsels and mise en scene of a dance play by a group of young men: An oustanding choreography within the cold backstage halls of a sumptuous theatre that become transformed into a sensitive and jacked scenery, only by ligth, movement and music. The stories of the group are told by their gesture and self-willed dance, which they demonstrate to a lonely drummer in the darkness aside. Only due to their dialogue with the light the place turns into a peculiar stage.

Intoxicated by this celebration of cinematic elements heading back to Aristoteles Square. A great selection of restaurants and cafes that offer minimum 10% discount for daily ticket owner of the festival, releases us for a moment of this play of choices.

Olympion nachts IMG_0433_4 (1280x853)

3rd 2nd way to enter: Follow the official ceremonies

In front of Olympion Cinema young people demonsrate with Hip Hop Music and filmmakers join them, waiting for the entrance to the official opening ceremony. Live-Stream team gets preapred, get together on the red chairs, volunteers in yellow shirt kindly provide the internationasl with headphones. The opening film „Linar“ (2013) von Nastia Tarasova, is about the Russian boy that recieves a heart translpant in Italy. The director acompanied his journey and the one of his careing companions during five years and transformed masterly the materials into a touching melodrama. For an evening of welcomes a highly moving drama, adds the director in her introduction to the screening. 

IMG_0452 (1280x853) IMG_0468_7 (1280x853)With this the threesome closes and emphazises what director of the festival and mayor of the city have been  stressed in their speech: The festival appeals to the necessary access to “independent and alternative film-stories, which are informative, such as entertaining and touching.” Which is aslo a sign comunicated to television stations and media industry, reminding them not to forget support festivals and filmsproduction of that kind.

Discussions about films, makers and critics move to the Opening Party at Bar Rover (Salaminis Str 6) and once again get mixed with music, dance and light.

And the next Opening?: Today starts In a sharp frame – photorgaphy by Enri Canaji in the Center of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki. The Albanian artist lives in Greece sind the 1990s. His photography tells stories of financial crisis, migration and living at the margins of society. It also surprises us with astonishing stories of every day humanity.

Tip of the Evening: Dance play “Erma” by Athanasia Kanellopoulou with an outstanding sound work by Thimios Atzaka,  in „To Avgo“– “Music Village” (The “Egg” of the well known workshop festival of Piliou; Valaoritou 4), 8pm.

Author: Elena Friedrich

This article has been produced in the context of the author’s research and film project “Mapping the Now Here”.

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