2012 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, opens on May 31st and concludes on June 3rd


As the Diaspora of Greeks throughout the world share the pain and in many ways the immense challenges currently being faced by the courageous people of Greece—and as America continues to wrestle with its own views on immigration—the programming team of the 2012 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival has chosen to open their sixth annual event with a story of experience, strength and hope that challenges people to rise in the face of adversity, and inspires them to find new and different ways to live lives infused with integrity and grace while making the world a better place.

Key Sponsors of the festival are: Gold Patron Earth Friendly, Gold Patron Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, Gold Patron Pabst Brewing Companyb and European Language Movies in America (ELMA).

To have a comprehensive information about the festival after our interview with the festival director, Craig Prater, we have included the complete program of the festival.

Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about the 2012 Greek film festival and what we should expect to see.
Craig Prater: This year we are opening up on May 31st and our opening night world première will be a Green Story at the Egyptian theatre and that will be a world premiere for us which we are very excited about. We continue or screening the very next day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the day and evening at the Linwood Dunn on Pine street in Hollywood, the duration Festival will be on May 31st to June 3rd and we got everything in our film lineup from features to documentaries to shorts, to comedies to serious dramas and I believe our assistant director has done an excellent job of putting together our program. In addition to the films we have got a great program within the industry we are doing a special tribute to Theo Angelopoulos,the incredible Greek director who died this past year, in addition to that we have got a screen writing class with Michael Economou who is a screenwriting professor at USC School of Cinema, so I think we’ve got a great balanced program of something for everybody this year and we are very pleased about it.

BT: Do you have any guest filmmakers this year?
CP:  We have been pleasantly response this year, we were not certain that some of our Greek filmmaker could attend but we are pleasantly surprised that we already got confirmation that 4 of the 5 filmmakers that are flying from Greece, will attend the film festival in support of their films.

BT: Tell us about the US premiers this year.
CP: On opening night is the one that we are particularly pleased about this year which is a Green Story, its a true story and it is based on a local Greek American living in Los Angeles so that is our first première on opening night, we have got four or five others that are a part of the program that are either Los Angeles premières or either Southern California.

BT: How can audiences buy tickets and attend the festival?
CP: The Best way for them is to go to our website which is www.lagff.org and they can see full schedules and lineups and details and they can just purchase their tickets online, it is real easy or everyone.

BT: What are your expectations as far as the audience attending the festival ?
CP: We have some great expectations on our attendance this year and we are basing it on our core audience our Greek audience and want to see great Greek films that they otherwise might not see, other than that we have extended our invitations out to the film society and the film crews in the southern California area and extending it to Arizona that they have film societies that are interested in quality films son we think that the interest in our audience this year is going to be larger than in the past because it is a larger and more diverse audience demographic.

BT: You mentioned that this year’s festival would bigger than it ever has been, please tell us a little bit about that.
CP: Bigger from the point of view that our programming team has done an excellent creation of a diversified group of films and programs, from dramas to features to documentaries shorts, comedies and I think that is going to encourage interest from a larger group of people. Our publicity level this year has been great, we just finished a wonderful press luncheon last month where we invited members of the press there to get an inside view and feeling of what was happening this year, so I think just our publicity and our program is just lending to that larger attention of what we are doing.

BT: How audience can attend the award ceremony?
CP: People who have purchased a gold pass and can attend, the awards ceremony that will be presented at the home of the consul general of Greece in los Angeles.  This is a private party for only the gold pass holders and our sponsors and certain members of the media.

BT: Do you think a screening of the films at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival actually help the filmmakers find a chance to get US distribution.
CP:  Our number one objective is to do just that, not only are we presenting Greek films from Greek filmmakers to an audience that may never see these films again, it is also our job to help expose that film and help them make connections with LA distributors, the LA media and even possibly some different distribution sources in the US to help expose their films, so that is really high on our list of concentration.

BT: Are there new plans for the future of the Greek Film Festival?
CP: It will definitely be different in the future, I think that people will find that when the event is over on June 3rd that is not just saying goodbye we’ll see you next year but I think that it is also the launch of the new information and things happening of the Greek film festival, I believe that you will be hearing some new things about screenings throughout the year and other events happening during the year that keeps our name out there in front of everybody.

Festival Program:
Egyptian Theater, Rigler

8:00 pm – A GREEN STORY
USA, 2012, 96 min, World Premiere
Director/Writer: Nika Agiashvili
Producers: Nika Agiashvili, John Edward Lee, Deanna Plascencia, Chadwick Struck, Dimitris Birbilis, Davit Agiashvili, Pablo D’Adamo
Cast: Ed O’Ross, Shannon Elizabeth, Billy Zane, Annabella Sciorra, Malcolm McDowell, Roger Bart, Talia Jackson
This story recounts the life of Van Vlahakis, who left Greece for the American dream and through an inspirational series of events, eventually turned the 22 dollars he brought with him into Earth Friendly Products, a US pioneer manufacturer of green products
Reception to Follow

Linwood Dunn Theater
1 – 5 pm Master Class – Editing for Film Writers

5:45 pm: RAW MATERIAL (Proti Yli)
Greece, 2011, 78 min, Documentary
Director: Hristos Karakepelis
Writers: Natasha Segou, Hristos Karakepelis
Producers: Costas Lambropoulos, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos
A group of illegal gypsy immigrants, that don’t live by the norms or speak the Greek language, gather garbage and recycle Athens’ material in an attempt to improve their lives. Winner of the 2012 Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Preceded by short films:

Greece, 2010, 11 min
Director/Writer: Yorgos Zois
Producer: Maria Drandaki
Cast: Marisha Triantafyllidou, Tzeni Theona, Iris Ponkena
Urban life is seen through the lonesome journey of a loaded shopping cart.

DAD, LENIN AND FREDDY (Babas mou, Lenin, kai Freddy)
Greece, 2011, 20 min, US Premiere
Director/Writer: Rinio Dragasaki
Producer: Elina Psikou
Cast: Avra Vordonaraki, Giannis Tsortekis
During the 80′s, in Athens, a nine year old girl gradually loses touch with her workaholic communist father. Winner of the 2012 Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Short Film

8:30 pm: TUNGSTEN
Greece, 2011, 98 min, LA Premiere
Director/Writer: Giorgos Georgopoulos
Producers: Giorgos Georgopoulos, Kostas Georgopoulos
Cast: Vangelis Mourikis, Tasos Nousias, Omiros Poulakis
The stories of three men living in crisis-ridden Athens unfold within the timeframe of a single day, revealing a world in havoc, where victims become villains and vice versa.

Preceded by short film:

Cyprus/Australia, 2011, 15 min
Director/Writer: Anthony Maras
Producers: Anthony Maras, Kate Croser, Andros Achilleas
Cast: Daphne Alexander, Erol Afsin, Kevork Malikyan
Cyprus 1974: A conscript soldier comes face to face with a family in hiding and must confront the brutal reality of war and his role in it.

Linwood Dunn Theater

10:00 am: Industry Panel- Representation in Hollywood
Followed by: Networking Light Brunch

12:00 pm: APARTMENT IN ATHENS (Appartamento ad Atene)
Italy, 2011, 95 min, LA Premiere
Director/Producer: Ruggero Dipaola
Writers: Heidrun Schleef, Ruggero Dipaola, Luca De Benedittis
Cast: Laura Morante, Richard Sammel, Gerasimos Skiadaresis
Set against a backdrop of the German occupation of Greece in 1943, this drama introduces us to an Athenian family, whose life undergoes a profound change when their apartment is commandeered by an exacting German officer with an inscrutable attitude. Winner of the top four awards at the 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival.

Preceded by short film:

FACE DOWN (Pistoma)
Greece, 2011, 19 min, LA Premiere
Director/Writer/Producer: Yiorgos Fourtounis
Cast :Giorgos Symeonidis, Eleni Vergeti
In a dog-eat-dog world, there is no place for affection

Greece, 2011, 94 min, US Premiere
Co-Directors: Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Jan Vogel
Writers: Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Jan Vogel
Producers: Argyris Papadimitropoulos, George Karnavas
Cast: Harris Markou, Ieronimos Kaletsanos, Arthouros Kiviliov
Summer heat blasts Athens. A teenage skateboarder sets out for an aimless day with his friends. A middle-aged policeman struggles to make ends meet. A simple twist of fate disrupts the course of their actions

Preceded by short film:

Greece, 2011, 6 min, US Premiere
Director: Evris Papanikolas
Writers: Evris Papanikolas, Nikos Nikolopoulos
Producers: Angelo Venetis, Takis Nikolakopoulos
Cast: Kora Karvouni, Chrisa Kornazidi
On this serene day, the world goes awry

Greece, 2011, 109 min, US Premiere
Director: Georgios Papaioannou
Writers: Alexandros Stogiannis, Spiros Papanaoum, Dimitris Papavasiliou, Georgios Papaioannou, Argiris Pouggouras, Babis Papapostolou, Dimitris Vainas
Producers: Georgios Papaioannou, Dimitris Papavasiliou
Cast: Dimitris Vainas, Paris Papadopoulos, Olga Sfetsa
Posing as a journalist for the Golden Jerusalem magazine, Thessaloniki’s very own superhero – Super Demetrios – is the only person that can save the city from its worst nightmare: Captain F.ROM.

Preceded by short film:

Greece, 2011, 18 min, US Premiere
Director/Producer: Elena Dimitrakopoulou
Writer: Effi Gavrilou
Cast: Kostas Voutsas, Nicol Kokkinou
An elderly couple plan their grand escape from a senior home.

Greece, 2010, 94 min, LA Premiere
Director: Filippos Tsitos
Writers: Filippos Tsitos, Dora Masklavanou
Producer: Alexandra Boussiou
Cast: Andonis Kafetzoplouos, Theodora Tzimou, Christos Stergioglou
It all begins with a disenchanted policeman’s decision to follow his own sense of justice. A series of unlikely events, fluctuating from tragedy to comedy, culminate in an equally surprising outcome. Winner of four major 2012 Hellenic Film Academy Awards, including Best Fiction Feature, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, and is this year’s official Greek Oscar entry.

Preceded by short film:

USA, 2010, 8 min
Director: R.E. Rodgers
Producer: Taso Mouhteros
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Christopher Meloni, Bob Balaban, Mariska Hargitay, Bobby Cannavale
These people will do anything to find ‘the location’.

Egyptian Theater
5:30 pm: THREE DAYS OF HAPPINESS (Tris Meres Eftihias)
Greece, 2011, 80 min, US Premiere
Director/Writer/Producer: Dimitri Athanitis
Cast: Nikolitsa Drizi, Alexandra Aidini, Katerina Fotiadi
A Russian immigrant who sells her body hoping to collect money to leave Greece, a university student who struggles to overcome personal tragedy, and a woman doubting her decision to get married, crisscross paths while pursuing happiness.

Preceded by short film:

USA, 2011, World Premiere
Director: Yeesum Lo
Writer/Producer: Dorothea Paschalidou
Cast: Justin Stafford, Kyle Goleman
A father and son walk different paths, but life brings them back together.

7:30 pm: RIDERS OF PYLOS (Oi Ippeis tis Pylou)
Greece, 2011, 92 min, US Premiere
Director/Writer: Nikos Kalogeropoulos
Producers: Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Marina Konstantakopoulos
Cast: Nikos Kalogeropoulos, Ioulia Kalogridi, Ilias Logothetis
A middle-aged, poverty stricken actor flees Athens to escape his creditors and travels to the heart of historic Messinia, finding refuge in Polypylon, a decrepit castle. While exploring the wild countryside, he meets Democracy, and becomes desperate to win her heart.

Preceded by short film:

US/Greece, 2010, 20 min, World Premiere
Director/Writer: Constantinos Isaias
Producers: Constantinos Isaias, Justin Johanson, Alexia Vassiliou
Cast: David Hardie, Alexia Vassiliou
Suppressed by his religious mother, a young man strives for salvation from his demons in a racist 1940s society.

Linwood Dunn Theater

10:00 am: Theo Angelopoulos Tribute presented by Professor Fred Linch
Followed by: Screening of Theo Angelopoulos’s ULYSSES GAZE

Canada, 2011, 77 min, Documentary, US Premiere
Director: Tony Asimakopoulos
Producers: Daniel Cross, Mila Aung-Thwin, Bob Moore
Overcoming drug addiction and being motivated by the search for happiness with his fiancee, the only son of Greek-Canadian immigrants faces his complicated relationship with his overbearing mother and ailing father, and the patterns of dysfunction they share.

Preceded by short film:

USA, 2012, 18 min, LA Premiere
Co-Directors: Pete Stamatelatos, Scott Ackerlund
Writer: Pete Stamatelatos
Producers: Pete Stamatelatos, Scott Ackerlund, Joey Allen
Cast: Anna Giannotis, Pete Stamatelatos, George Christopoulos
A Greek immigrant mother’s hopes and dreams for her family collapse when her son enters the world of drug addiction.

5:30 pm – SAYOME reception
Greece, 2010, 80 min, Documentary, LA Premiere
Director: Nikos Dayandas
Producers: Rea Apostolides, Yuri Averof
After 35 years of living in Crete, happily married to a Greek sailor and raising her two sons, Sayome hears news of her mother’s death and returns to her homeland, Japan, to reunite with her estranged family.

Preceded by short film:

Greece, 2011, 16 min, US Premiere (Animated)
Director: Panagiotis Rappas
Producers: Panagiotis Rappas, Dimitris Papadimitriou
In a mountain forest of Japan, an elderly woodcutter stumbles upon the fountain of youth.

8:30 pm: ORPHEUS AWARDS presentation at the home of Consul General of Greece Elizabeth Fotiadou
Gold Pass holders only.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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