Greek film-makers are considering the launch of a new film week after voting to boycott the country’s state film awards and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
The move comes after the Greek government ignored calls for an overhaul of its film law.
The 100-strong group, which calls itself Film-makers In The Mist and includes prominent Greek director Costa Gavras, is now plotting an event to premiere films. Titles have to be screened at Thessaloniki to qualify for the Ministry of Culture Cinema Awards.
The film-makers are calling for an overhaul of the awards, which they claim has a corrupt and bias jury system. Under the existing rules, the winners are chosen by a 50-person jury, which is drawn from members of film unions. It is claimed that this system is bias and open to favouritism.
They also want changes to the state financial backing for production and the Greek Film Commission, including the introduction of a tax shelter.
The ministry has ignored the industry’s calls despite an independent committee, led by Gavras, drafting a new law earlier this year.
The bill’s introduction was delayed when Minister for Culture Mihalis Liappis, who set up the committee, was replaced by Antonis Samaras, but it has been further complicated by the General Election which will take place on October 4. A new law can not be introduced before the end of next month, which will be too late for the film-makers to reconsider their participation in both the awards and Thessaloniki, which take place in mid-November.
The decision is a blow to the festival, which is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary without key Greek films in its line-up. The group has rejected its appeals to screen their films at the festival or to participate in its other events, including the Balkan Fund, a script writing initiative, or the Cross Roads co-production network.
Film-maker Theo Angelpoulos was originally a key member of the protest group but he has not endorsed the vote. He told ScreenDaily that he backs a boycott of the state awards, not the festival.