Female film-makers won top prizes at the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF), where hefty sums were also handed to local productions by broadcaster ERT for the first time since 2010.

Agora/Film Market, the industry strand of TIFF, hosted the eighth Crossroads Co-Production Forum, which unveiled a raft of awards for upcoming films.

The main prize went to Motherland, a mother-daughter drama from Turkish director Senem Tuzen.

Tuzen’s debut feature, produced by Olena Yershova’s Tato Film with a budget of €610,000, won full post production from 2|35 and free accreditation to the Cannes 2013 Producers Network.

Development prize

The French CNC development award, worth €7,000, went to Greek film Park.

The feature, about a teenage boy dealing with Greece’s current turmoil, will be from another first-time director, Sofia Exarhou. It will be produced by Amanda Livanou for Guanaco Productions with a budget of €560,000.

Park also receives six months of free development consultancy from Initiative Films.

A special mention was given to Algiers by Night, from director Yanis Kousim and producer Claire Mazeau (Una Chambre a Soi Production).


Romanian project Raw and Cooked from producer-director Gabriel Achim and Green Films’ Dan Burlac was awarded a scholarship for the Script 2 Film Workshops of the Athens-based Mediterranean film institute (MFI).

The Crossroads jury comprised ZDF/Arte commissioning editor Holgern Stern, Swedish senior executive for co-productions at the Film I Vast film fund Anthony Muir and his Greek colleague, producer Maria Hatzakou (Haos Film).

Works in Progress

There were further announcements made in the ‘Works in Progress’ section, which seeks post production partners for upcoming films.

Turkish production Seaburners, the debut feature of another female film-maker Melisa Onel, received the Graal S.A. and Kodak Cinelabs Greece awards representing services and material for post-production worth €70,000.

The film about a human trafficker is produced by Yamac Okur and Asli Erdem for Bulut Film with a budget of €450,000.

A special mention went to the Slovak/Czech co-production My Dog Killer, from director Mira Fornay, producer Juraj Buzalka (Miraflox).

The jury comprised Match Factory boss Michael Weber, Cannes Semaine de la Critique programme manager Remi Bonhomme and Irini Souganidou, CEO of Greek distribution firm Feelgood Entertainment.

Film fund returns

In a surprise announcement, Greek public broadcaster ERT revealed the return of a €3.5m film funding programme, which has been dormant for two years.

A total of 35 films in different stages of production will receive backing ranging from €30k to €180k.

They include Penny Panayotopoulou’s second directorial outing September, co-produced with Germany (Thanos Karathanos’ Twenty Twenty Vision and Pallas Film) and Giannis Sakaridis debut Wild Duck, produced by the Athens Filmmakers’ Co-operative.

Setting its sights on Cannes is Michalis Konstantatos’ debut Luton, produced by Yorgos Tsourgiannis’ Horsefly Productions, which also made George Lanthimos’ Dogtooth.

Other outstanding projects include:

  • Panos Koutras’ Xenia, the Greek (Alexandra Bousiou’s Wrong Men, Eleni Kossyfidou’s Black Bird), French (Marie Pierre Macia-Juliette Lepoutre’s MPM Films), Belgian co-production recently funded by Eurimages, set to start shooting next February.

  • Alexis Alexiou’s second directorial outing Wednesday 4,45, a Greek (Eleni Bertes’ Logline Essentials), German (Thanos Karathanos’ Twenty Twenty Vision) co-production also funded by Eurimages and set to shoot in February.

  • Giannis Economides (Match Box, The Knifer) new film The Six Fingers seeking finance from the next Eurimages funding session at the end of this year. The film will also shoot in February and is a Greek (Panos Papahadzis’ Argonauts Productions, Christos Konstantakopoulos’ Faliro House Productions), German (Michael Weber’s Match Factory) co-production.

ERT pulled funding to the local film industry in 2010 when the financial crisis hit Greece.

It is the only TV network in Greece to fund local film, despite a law stating that 1.5% broadcasters annual gross should go into film production – a law that no government has sanctioned.