Two veterans and a newcomer shared the top honours at the Hellenic Film Academy (HFA) awards.
Scroll down for full list of winners
Pantelis Voulgaris’ Little England (Mikra Anglia) won best film while Yiorgos Tsemberopoulos’ The Enemy Within (O ehthros mou) won best director at the fifth edition of the awards on Monday evening.
Newcomer Elina Psikou was named best first time director for The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas (I aionia epistrofi tou Antoni Paraskeva).
Little England was produced by Katerina Helioti and Yiannis Iakovidis for Mikra Anglia Productions in co-production with among others Black Orange and OTE TV.
Set on the island of Andros in the 1930s and 1940s, the film is based on the bestselling novel by Voulgaris’ wife, Ioanna Karistiani. It centres how the community copes while the men of the island spend long absences on ships around the world.
The €1.5m budget was entirely financed by Andros shipowner Spyros Polemis and is distributed by Irini Souganidou’s Feelgood Entertainment.
It performed well at the Greek box office, where it was released on Dec 5 and recorded more than 360,000 admissions. It is to play at three major international film festivals in the coming months.
Little England was nominated in 13 categories and secured six awards including cinematography, art direction, costume design, sound and make up.
It puts the film in a strong position to be Greece’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2015.
Yorgos Tsemberopoulos’ The Enemy Within scooped three awards out of ten nominations. As well as best director, the film secured awards for screenplay and editing.
The film centres on middle-class intellectual Kostas, who is forced to question his ideas following a brutal attack on his family by a gang of burglars.
The film, produced by Eleni Kossyfidou’s Blackbird Productions and distributed by Odeon, will play in competition at the Beijing International Film Festival this month. It has previously played at festivals in London and Istanbul.
Elina Psikou’s The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas is a critical take on the local lifestyle that preceded and partly provoked the financial crisis.
The film, produced by Yiorgos Karnavas Productions, debuted at the Berlinale in Feb 2013 and toured festivals including Karlovy Vary, Milan, Toronto and London.
Silver Lion winner Miss Violence, the second film from director Alexandros Avranas, picked up two awards for best actor (Themis Panou) and best supporting actress (Rana Pittaki); while Penny Panagiotopoulou’s September secured the best actress award (Dora Karvouni).
Costa Gavras, director of films including Z (1969), Missing (1982) and Amen (2002), received the Nova award for his contribution to the cinema and his backing of the local film industry.
Veteran film laboratory boss Yiorgos Stamou of Cinemagic - a close collaborator and friend of late Theo Angelopoulos - received a standing ovation and the HFC special award in an emotional acceptance.
The HFA used to ceremony to highlight the lack of support by the Ministry of Culture to the local film industry.
New HFA president and producer Vassilis Katsoufis said that “the minister of Culture remembers Greek cinema only when a film is awarded at an international festival. For the rest of the time he seems to completely forget it.”
He added: “We invited the minister to be here to celebrate together with us tonight and tell us what his plans are concerning cinema policy. He did not come”.
Katsoufis also referred to the impact on funding following the abrupt closure of public broadcaster ERT. The network was one of the only broadcasters that adhered to the law and pump 1.5% of its annual gross income to film production.
Private channels have long opted not to abide by the law with the exception of the Nova cable network, which backed several of the films in competition at the HFA awards. OTE TV has also recently opted to back local productions.
The delay in the relaunch of a public broadcaster, set for later this month titled NERIT, has caused an almost complete paralysis of production and currently threatens the post production of a number of local international co-productions that are poised to appear in the selection of major film events in the coming months.
Full list of winners
Best feature film, fiction
Little England by Pantelis Voulgaris.
Produced by Mikra Anglia Productions, producers Katerina Helioti, Yiannis Iakovidis
Best feature film, documentary
Glowing in the Dark by Panagiotis Evangelidis.
Produced by Beben Films, producer Amanda Livanou
Yorgos Tsemberopoulos for The Enemy Within.
Yiannis Tsiros for The Enemy Within.
First time director
Elina Psikou for The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas
Dora Karvouni in September by Penny Panagiotopoulou
Themis Panou in Miss Violence by Alexandros Avranas
Rana Pittaki in Miss Violence
Nikos Georgakis in Standing Aside, Watching by Yorgos Servetas
Simos Sarketzis for Little England
Giorgos Mavropsaridis for The Enemy Within
Antonis Daglidis for Little England
Youla Zoiopoulou for Little England
Alexandros Voulgaris for The Sentimentalists by Nikos Triantafylidis
Stefanos Efthymiou, Kostas Varymbombiotis, Takis Giannopoulos
for Little England
Evi Zafeiropoulou for Little England
Angelos Spartalis for From Earth to the Moon
Washingtonia by Konstantina Kotzamani
Lucia Rikaki award
They Glow in the Dark
Nova Honorary award
HFA Honorary award