'I Have Electric Dreams'

Source: Sarajevo Film Festival

‘I Have Electric Dreams’

Costa Rican director Valentina Maurel’s I Have Electric Dreams has won the €10,000 Golden Alexander-Theo Angelopoulos prize for best film at Greece’s Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) which took place from November 3-13.

The film’s lead actor Reinaldo Amien Gutierrez also won the best actor award at the festival.

The French, Belgian and Costa Rican co-production, which premiered in Locarno, follows a young girl’s coming of age and her relationship with her estranged father. World sales are handled by Greece’s Heretic.

The international competition jury gave the Special Jury Award (Silver Alexander) and €5,000 to the Swiss production A Piece of Sky by Michael Koch. The Alpine-set love story launched earlier this year in Berlin. World sales are handled by Poland’s’ New Europe Film Sales.

Japan’s Chie Hayakawa won best director and €3,000 for her debut narrative feature Plan 75, a co-production between Japan, France, Philippine and Qatar. The dystopian film, which world premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, follows an elderly woman who applies for a government programme encouraging senior citizens to be euthanised. The film also won the Thessaloniki’s Fipresci award and the Greek Parliament Human Values award. France’s Urban Sales is handling world sales.

British actor Rosy McEwen won best actress for Georgia Oaklay’s Blue Jean. The best artistic achievement prize went to Ali Cherri’s The Dam, with a special mention for Martijn de Jong’s Narcosis.

Two separate juries including Israeli director Avi Nesher, his North Macedonian colleague Teona Strugar Mitevska and American producer Joyce Pierpolin picked the winners for the Meet the Neighbours and the Film Forward sections.

The Meet the Neighbours Golden Alexander for best film (€8,000) was awarded to Maryna El Gorbach’s Kloondike. The Silver Alexander (€4,000) went to Michal Vinik’s Valeria is Getting Married.

The Film Forward Golden Alexander (€8,000) went to Leon Schwitter’s Retreat while Nikos Pastras’ Bastards received the Silver Alexander (€4,000).

Peter Strickland, Fatih Akin and Charlotte Gainsbourg were among those receiving tributes and homages.

TV industry focus

Thessaloniki’s Industry section, run for the time by Angeliki Vergou, enjoyed a substantial boost thanks to the introduction of the Agora TV Series strand.

A host of international TV executives plus the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attended Thessaloniki to watch what was on offer and to take part in related workshops and round tables.

The introduction of the new strand came at a timely moment following Netflix’s acquisition, a few days before the festival started, of worldwide rights to the drama series Maestro, produced by Alter Ego Mass Media Mega. The series starring and directed by Christoforos Papakaliatis is the first Greek TV show to bow on the streaming service.

Adressing a TV series workshop Mitsotakis highlighted the incentives to support the Greek audiovisual industry and attract even more foreign co-productions.

The country has seen a spectacular recent rise in such co-productions thanks to the Greek Film Center and the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME) policies. Greece’s offer of a 40% cash rebate and 30% tax relief promises to benefit more local productions and lure more foreign shoots next year as EKOME has secured an additional €200 million to cash flow productions, while the Hellenic Development Bank introduced a €62.5 million loan guarantee program aimed at the audiovisual sector.

Spanish director Imanol Rayo’s Dog Days won the Crossroads Co-Production Forum award. Produced by Iker Ganuza for Lamia Roducciones the film will receive full post-production image and sound services from Greek company 2/35.

Lebanese director Wissam Charaf’s Holiday produced by Charlotte Vincent and Katia Khazak for Aurora Films received the French CNC development award, worth €8,000.

Greek director Kostas Gerabinis’ Five Murders Without a Reason produced by Vassilis Chrysanthopoulos for Plays2Place received the Finos Film Award worth Euros €3,000. The film also won the €6,000 ArteKino award.

The work in progress awards were won by Greek Iris Baglanea’s Ursin, produced by Ioanna Bolomiti for Atalante Productions, which received the Onasis Foundation Cinema Award worth €10,000. Greece director Alexandros Voulgaris’ Polydroso, produced by Nicolas Alavanos for Filmiki Productions, collected the ERT-Greek Public TV award worth €2,000.