Greek crisis forces Thessaloniki to abandon cash prizes
The Thessaloniki Film Festival (Nov 2-11) has been forced to cancel this year’s cash prizes for its Alexander Awards.
This comes as part of the ongoing Greek financial crisis as well as the uncertainties concerning the future of the country. The festival is not the only film body being hit hard — the Greek Film Centre is practically at a standstill production wise.
The Golden Alexander for the best film had already been cut to €20,000 from €40,000 in 2010, while the silver was reduced from €25,000 to €10,000 and the bronze was steady at €5,000.
Festival director Dimitris Eipides [pictured] was forced to take these actions not only because of the general financial crisis but also debts of more than €6m inherited by past festival administrations when he took the post in 2010.
Eipides and his general coordinator Lena Ramou have managed in just two years to reduce the debt to €1.5-€2 million, bringing the operating costs to a minimum while maintaining the festival’s international prestige. T
The event has managed to survive since 2010 thanks to the equally reduced sponsorship in services from local enterprises and organisations and mainly from the funds made available since 2011 by the European Union through the NSRS (National Strategic Refererence Framework) scheme.
Those funds applied to the side sections of the event should allow the festival to remain operating till November 2013 and for its sister documentary event-Images of the 21st Century- held every March to survive to March 2014.
NSRS cash allocated to the November event is around €900,000 yearly. The festival budget has been reduced to €1.5-€2 million. As for the March documentary event the EU scheme funds allocated are to the tune of €400,000 for a budget of €700,000-€1 million.
An additional subsidy from the Media programme backing European film festivals is made available to Thessaloniki. This year it amounts to Euros 60,000.