Close to 200 films from more than 40 different countries – this year’s Thessaloniki Documentary Festival was a sold-out event, especially popular among young people.
We asked the head of the film critics’ jury whether this was a good year for documentary movies despite the crisis.
“I have seen several, very impressive, very strong, heart-breaking films. I think these kind of documentaries that we have seen here in Thessaloniki are important because they tell us and they make us understand much more about the world of today. When it comes to Greek films, I want to say that I have seen several which talks about Greek history and I think that is also important to be able to understand what is going on in Greece today,” said Annika Gustafsson, president of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury.
One of the Greek documentaries that drew most attention this year was ‘The lost signal of Democracy’.
It tells of the government shut-down of ERT, the public television station, in June 2013. It was the first time the public service was silenced in 75 years. The controversial closure shocked audiences at home and was condemned abroad. The film has already been screened in a number of foreign countries.
“(The closure of ERT) is one of the most symbolic and pivotal moments of the Greek financial crisis. It is hugely symbolic. What the film ‘The Lost Signal of Democracy’ shows is that democracy is the first victim of the crisis and freedom of information is the second,” said the film’s director Yorgos Avgeropoulos.
“Sixty films – nearly one third of the documentaries – shown at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival this year were Greek. A striking record if you consider the difficult economic situation Greece is going through, much to the credit of Greek film makers who manage to create true masterpieces despite these adverse conditions,” said euronews’ correspondent in Thessaloniki, Yorgos Mitropoulos.