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11th TDF: CLOSING CEREMONY (3/22/2009)

CLOSING CEREMONY

The curtain fell on the 11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival on the night of Saturday, March 21 with the closing ceremony which took place at the Olympion theater.

Alternative artistic team SFINA opened the evening with a happening. Then MC Maya Tsoclis welcomed the guests and the audience and said: “Having entered the second decade of its existence, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is now one of the three largest European documentary festivals, after Amsterdam and Leipzig. In spite of the loss of two theaters at the port, which resulted in a reduction of available seats, attendance increased and this year has surpassed 40.000. Moreover, 2,000 elementary, middle school and high school students attended a new special screening zone for children”.

Then Ms Tsoclis referred to significant moments during the edition, noting that the section “Africa from Within” was so special that it interested CNN, bringing representatives from the American network to Thessaloniki for the first time. She reminded the public that the best films of this year’s edition will travel all over Greece, and will be screened in Athens for the first time ever from March 26 go April 1.

The awards began with the WWF award for the best film in the Habitat section which was won by Joe Berlinger’s Crude. The award was given out by documentary producer and jury member Rea Apostolidou.

The Amnesty International award for best film in the Human Rights section went to Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Ostergaard. Irini Tsolaki, member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International Greece gave out the award.

Then the ERT3 award for best film in the Habitat section was given to the film Another Planet by Ferenc Moldovanyi. The prize, which comes with a television screening and3.000 Euros was handed out by the president of ERT3, Anastasios Spiliopoulos. Mr. Spiliopoulos stressed that ERT3 has been supporting the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival since the very beginning and will continue to do so because ERT3 believes that the festival has made Thessaloniki the cultural capitol of the area and because the channel believes in this film making genre, proof of which is the fact that in the last 10 years ERT3 has produced and broadcast more than 150 documentaries.

The new “Doc On Air” award followed, awarded by ERT, which was created this year and is for the best proposal for an international co-production participating in the EDN European Documentary Network Pitching Forum. This award carries a money prize of 7.000 Euros, and was won by the project Rush for life by Kate McNaughton. The award was given out by the director of the co-production department of ERT, Irini Gavala.

The FIPRESCI prizes for best Greek and foreign films were given out by two members of this year’s jury, Dimitris Haritos and Dubravka Lakic. The FIPRESCI award for a Greek production went to The Bathers by Eva Stafani, and the award for a foreign production went to Prodigal Sons by Kimberly Reed.

Then the four audience awards followed, which are sponsored for a second year by the Hellenic Red Cross. The two Audience Awards of the Hellenic Red Cross for films over 45’ (one Greek and one foreign) carry cash prizes of 4.000 Euros each, and the two Audience Awards of the Hellenic Red Cross for films under 45’ (one Greek and one foreign) carry cash prizes of 2.000 Euros each. These amounts have been increased especially for the Greek productions by 26.000 Euros and 18.000 Euros respectively, on the initiative of the president of the Hellenic Red Cross Mr. Andrea Martini, in order to support Greek documentary filmmaking.

The Audience Award for Best Greek film over 45’ went to National Garden by Apostolos Karakasis.

The Audience Award for Best Greek film under 45’ went to The World Naked Bike Ride Project in Thessaloniki by Elli Zerbini.

The Audience Award for best foreign film over 45’ went to Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Ostergaard.

The Audience Award for best foreign film under 45’ went Flowers of Rwanda by David Munoz.

Closing the ceremony, the Artistic Director of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Dimitri Eipides noted: “We are celebrating our entry into our second decade. This is a festival which is maturing, but remains restless, curious about the world around it and above all else, alive. We have proven that the documentary also has commercial potential, that reality can be more entertaining than the most imaginative of fiction, and that information can be transformed into images that are alive and fascinating, escaping from newspaper articles and newscasts. But mainly we have proven that the documentary can make us better, thinking citizens”.

Mr. Eipides thanked for their support: ERT, the Hellenic Red Cross, the MEDIA Program of the European Union, ERT3, the Greek Film Center, the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, the National Audiovisual Archive, the municipality of Thessaloniki and the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. Finally, Mr. Eipides thanked the hard working staff of the 11th edition of the Festival and called everyone to climb the stage.

The evening concluded with the screening of the Audience Award for Best Foreign film over 45’, Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Ostergaard.





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