The Audience Award went to Destin Daniel Cretton’s US festival hit Short Term 12; The Athens International Film Festival wrapped with Blue Is The Warmest Colour.
Yann Gonzalez’s debut feature You and the Night was named Best Film at the 19th Athens International Film Festival (AIFF) which ran September 19-29.
A Modern day retelling of Sade’s Philosophy In The Bedroom, the film, written by Gonzalez, stars Alain-Fabien Delon alongside Eric Cantona, Kate Moran, Fabienne Babe and Niels Schneider.
It was chosen by a jury made up of film school students, aged 18-25.
The Best Director Award went to second timer American Sam Fleischner for Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors, a coming of age story about a 13 years-old autistic boy, son of an illegal Mexican immigrant mother in New York.
French debutant Antonin Peretjako picked up the Best Screenplay award for The Rendez-vous of Deja-Vu, about the adventures of a group of young Parisians on Bastille day.
Short Term 12 by US director Destin Daniel Cretton was the recipient of the Audience Award. The film landed here following its SXSW Grand Jury and Audience Awards coupled with the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award.
Also playing in the 13 strong competition was Vincent Grashaw’s feature debut Coldwater, David Perrault’s Our Heroes Died Tonight, the German first timer Katrin Gebbe’s Nothing Bad Can Happen and South Corean Lee Don-Ku’s Fatal.
The 8 films in the festival’s other competitive section, “Music and Film”, were judged by an international jury formed of film and music critics. President was the Sight and Sound web editor Nick Bradshaw (UK), Cahiers du Cinema’s Nicolas Azalbert (France) and Knut Elstermann (Germany), Jean Perret former artistic director of the Nyon film festival (Switzerland) and music journalist Makis Milatos (Greece).
The Golden Athina for this section went to the feature documentary Wavemakers, directed by Caroline Martel, about the invention of the avant garde musical instrument “Ondes Martenot” in WW1.
In the Greek section reserved for first films, Hectoras Lygizos was named Best Director for The Boy Eats the Birds Food, which was also the receipient of the Best Actor award for Yiannis Papadopoulos. The film is the official Greek foreign language Oscar entry.
The Newcomer award went to Maria Georgiadou for her part in Konstantina Voulgaris’ All Cats are Brillant. In the short films category Asimina Proedrou’s Red Hulk was deemed best film receiving 2,000 Euros in cash.
Prominent personalities present were Jeremy Irons and director Bille August, in town to attend the opening of Night Train To Lisbon, aquired for distribution in Greece by Konstantinos Piperas’ Hollywod Entertainment.
The festival opened with Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and closed with Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour, which was aquired for Greece by Thanos Veremis’ Strada Films.
Other notable films with women at their heart included Chilean Sebastian Lelo’s Gloria starring the Berlin 2013 awarded Paulina Garcia and Iranian Asghar Farhadi’s The Past starring the Cannes 2013 awarded Berenice Bejo.
The line up boasted a record number of Greek films - 93 out of 206 titles.
The AIFF programme also included a homage to Georges Franju, featuring 6 films from the visionary classic French film maker of the fifties and sixties and co-founder with Henri Langlois of the legendary French Cinematheque in 1935.
The festival awarded a “Carte Blanche” to veteran pioneer Greek film critic Yannis Bakogiannopoulos, highlighting 6 titles of his choice, spanning half a century from among others Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali to John Ford’s The Searchers, and from Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Spider’s Stratagem to Claire Denis’ Beau Travail.
The choice of artistic director Orestis Andreadakis, to place the 200 plus titles-strong event under the memo “Not to forget -Memini Ergo Sum” coincided timely with the actual social and political European context and particularly that of the hosting country.All recent events, widely reported in the international media, such as the assassinations and street violence by followers of the member of parliament all rising local Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party as well as the imprisonment of the party leaders were echoed in the prominence given in the festival selection to a number of subject-related past films.
Notable among them, German director Volker Schloendorff’s Oscar winning The Tin Drum, his fellow country man Hans-Jurgen Syberberg seven hours-long documentary Hitler: A Film from Germany as well as Alain Resnais milestone documentary Night and Fog on the Nazi concentration camps. Also presented was Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir, directed by Ari Folman, who was the subject of a retrospective at the festival, along with Dutch directir Alex Van Warmerdam.
Next year the festival will celebrate its 20th anniveresary, with the dates already confirmed as September 17-28.