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12 TDF: The Hellenic National Audioisual Archive Presents... (3/19/2010)

“THE HELLENIC NATIONAL AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVE PRESENTS”

The successful collaboration between the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival and the Hellenic National Audiovisual Archive (HeNAA) continues for a second year. The panel discussion was held on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at the Pavlos Zannas theater, during the 12th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - Images of the 21st Century. Present were HeNAA CEO George Bolanis, HeNAA member and film historian Stelios Kymionis, film critic Yannis Bacoyiannopoulos and the writer Vassilis Vassilikos.

Two out of a number of rare documentaries were screened, from the HeNAA’s collection “Greek Newsreels” (www.avarchive.gr). They covered the era 1961-1981. These films were: Greek Industry, Open Roads, Roof for the People, Energy for Progress and Earth and Water.

The two first documentaries of this series were screened, as well as a newsreel with the events of the second ten-day period of March 1961, which coincide with the dates of the 12th Documentary Festival, half a century earlier. Afterwards the panel members shared their points of view, opinions, even recollections of their collaboration with Roussos Koundouros.

Mr. Bolanis said: «This is the second year we come here. Greek documentaries are strategic for us, since our work is of national dimensions. We have inherited an important film library and we don’t intend to keep it in the basement. We want society to see it, our youth to see it – through the internet, multi-channel television or any way possible. We are also very interested in collaborations and are willing to act together with anyone who can offer us even a drop of audiovisual material with Greek content”.

Speaking about Nikos Koundouros’ contribution to the Greek documentary, Mr. Kymionis said: “Where Koundouros diverged from the then current rules and purposes was in democratization and collectivism. At that time newsreels focused on the palace, the government, the army and the American factor. This doesn’t lessen the importance of our material, as it shows the era’s climate. But Koundouros changed all that, lessening the appearance of the elite in his material and increasing the subjects covered. He included other categories such as the arts, social issues, sports.”

Yannis Bakoyiannopoulos and Vassilis Vassilikos worked with Koundouros. Mr. Bakoyiannopoulos briefly summed up conditions in Greece in the ‘60s, explaining the context in which Koundouros worked. He managed to change the archaic views of the General Secretariat of the Press and Information. “Koundouros managed to make newsreels similar to those abroad. He used rhythm, quick takes, quick editing and made them interesting. He never made poetic documentaries, but very interesting ethnographies”. Mr. Bakoyiannopoulos noted.

Vassilis Vassilikos recounted an instance from Koundouros’ daily life:” At some point, Koundouros showed the newsreels he had made on Konstantinos Karamanlis. After they ended, the then Prime Minister turned to him and said: ‘and where am I?’ Koundouros answered; “you can’t see God either, Mr. Karamanlis, but he makes his presence known through his works”.

It should be noted that the collaboration between the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival and the Hellenic National Audiovisual Archive (HeNAA) is based on two important points: that the HeNAA share works from its collection with the Festival audience each year, chosen for their contribution to the development of the documentary genre, their rarity and their archival value. The second point is that events be organized that promote the importance of the archival material and present HeNAA’s activities in increasing its collection, as well as the preservation and presentation of the national audiovisual heritage.


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