TheThessaloniki Documentary Festival-Images of the 21stCentury and its concurrent Doc FilmMarket wrapped over the weekend.

VictorKossakovsky's Svyato (Russia), Dani Menkin's 39 Pounds ofLove (USA), the Kimon Tsakiris'Greek production Sugar Town-TheBridegrooms as well as Angelos Kovotsos' Kleon Krantonellis and Yorgos Papakonstantinou's Takis Zenetos (from thePortraits of Greek Architectsseries) received the Audience Awards, sponsored by the ThessalonikiPublic TV Channel ET3 and backed by $10,964 (Euros 9,000) in cash. The Fipresci awards went to James Longley's Irak in Fragments (USA) and to Stelios Haralambopoulos' Yannis Moralis, Painter.

TheFestival, now in its eighth year, reflected current global trends amongdocumentary filmmakers to focus on political and social issues and these werethe documentaries that earned the most recognition as well as enjoying an increasein theatrical distribution all around the world.

Amongthis year's innovations was the highly successful "Just talking" sidebarbringing together foreign and local filmmakers to discuss initiatives both infilmmaking, world promotion and distribution.

Therecord number of Greek production -85 films- necessitated the creation ofadditional Greek sidebars addressed to foreign and local guests. The festivalscreened 185 films in all its sections as compared to last year's126. Festivalattendance rose to 33,000 up from last year's 18,000.

TheThessaloniki festival attractedworld-classfilmmakers among them, the multi-awarded UK director Kim Longinotto whose, Sistersin Law, was selected for Cannes 2005. Longinottowas the subject of a retrospective and tribute, receiving the Festival'sspecial award and holding a packed master class. She was joined by her Danishveteran counterpart Jon Bang Carlsen (How To InventReality) who also conducted a master class organized by the EuropeanDocumentary Network (EDN). The EDN held for the eight consecutive year aPitching Forum and gave its annual award to the prestigious Jan Virjman Fond-documentaries backing scheme, created in 1998by the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA).

TheFilm Market reported brisk business and was well received by internationalbuyers and distributors alike. Giorgos Avgeropoulos' Greek production Saudi Arabia was acquired by the BelgianPublic Channel RTBF's Wilbur Leguebeand Guy Knafo's French outfit 10 Francs. Knafo also bought the Greek/French/German (ERT, ZDF-Arte)co-production Zaharoff, the Mystery Man of Europe, directed by AngelosAbazoglou. Valerie's KontakosWho's on First, a Greek /US co-production on the attemptto create from scratch a Greek baseball team for the Athens 2004 Olympics,received offers from Spanish Sogecable's head ofacquisitions Adria Monesand Korea's Gunny Hyoung (EBS channel).

ERT,the Greek Public Radio and TV network acquired the Canadian production A Cry for Madion,a study on the ongoing famine-related genocide in Sudan, directed by Arez Barzilay. ERT's TVdirector general Kostas Spiropoulos confirmed ZDF-Arte'sinterest for a sequel of the highly successful Sugar Town-The Bridegrooms Greek, French, German, Finnish (ERT,ZDF-Arte-YLE) co-production.