Filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos is threatening to boycott the Greek national film awards claiming that the current jury system is corrupt and biased.
Angelopoulos has garnered support from 42 prominent producers and directors, including veterans Pandelis Voulgaris, Nikos Panayiotopoulos, Kostas Lambropoulos as well as newcomers Thanos Lambropoulos and Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film Dogtooth will premiere in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.
The group claim they will not submit their films to the Ministry of Culture Cinema Awards in November unless there is a complete overhaul of the current system. The move would be a blow to this year’s 50th anniversary edition of the Thesaloniki International Film Festival, as all candidates films have to be screened at the festival to be eligible for the awards.
Under the current system, the winners are chosen by a 50-person jury, which is drawn from members of the film unions. Angelopoulos and his colleagues claim that the system is biased and is guilty of favouritism.
They are also calling for changes to the state financial backing for production and the Greek Film Commission, including the introduction of a tax shelter.
Angelopoulos was head of the committee that drafted the current film law but he is now critical of it.
“The situation has dramatically changed over the last 20 years and the law needs a complete overhaul to correspond to the needs of the local film industry and its financial and structural backing by the state. The cinema state awards have to be overhauled. The best solution seems to be going back to a 7-10-member jury which votes openly and explains its decisions instead of today’s anonymous and rigged vote, he said”
Late last year, former minister Mihalis Liappis set up a committee of experts chaired by Greek director Costa Gavras to draft a new law, but the process stalled as Liappis was replaced by Antonis Samaras.