Boxing, transplants and revolution - Thessaloniki celebrates documentaries

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Boxing, transplants and revolution - Thessaloniki celebrates documentaries

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The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, attracted 191 films from 42 different countries. The festival is an increasingly popular event for film makers launching new films and this year hosted three world premieres.

Dimitri Eipides, the founder and director of the festival, enthused: “This is the 16th Documentary Festival. It grows bigger from year to year. The city loves it and completely supports it. Especially the younger generation, who are always very enthusiastic. I am very optimistic for the future. This is now considered to be the third largest documentary film festival in Europe, which is a huge success for us.”

Russian film 'Linar', by Nastia Tarasova follows the experiences of a Russian boy who went to Italy for a heart transplant.

The director explained the background: “The thing is that it isn’t widely known in Russia that organ transplants from one child to another are illegal. So I started to shoot the documentary because I wanted to show people, citizens of Russia, that there is an issue here, and see… what was their reaction to the problem?”

'The Trials of Muhammad Ali' by Bill Siegal examines the life and career of the famous boxer, who was criticised for his conversion to Islam, who spent five years in jail for refusing to fight in Vietnam, and famously battled Parkinson’s Disease.

The director said he wanted to tell the story behind the headlines: “Everybody knows Muhammad Ali by name. But I don’t think everyone knows the Muhammad Ali that’s in this film. I think of it especially as a film for the whole family. Younger generations who may only know Muhammad Ali the boxer, Muhammad Ali shaking with Parkinson’s, they need to discover this Muhammad Ali: defiant, righteous, principled, moral and triumphant.”

‘Yusef’s Song’ follows the fortunes of a young man who took part in the Libyan revolution and is now one the most famous rappers in the country.

The director, Kostas Pliakos, revealed how he found his subject: “I found out about Yusef through a Libyan relative, Mohamed ben Guzi, who fought in various battles. He was there in the war, during the revolution. He is a journalist. He pointed Yusef out to me. Yusef has a remarkable character, he is a unique person. I thought he would be the ideal character to describe and tell us what is the vision of today’s young generation of Libya, after the revolution.”

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