Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Celebrates 10 Years in Style

Los Angeles Greek Film Festival is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate its tenth anniversary June 1 – 5, 2016 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

The lively festival will showcase more films, Q&A’s and festivities than ever before including a collaboration with Athens International Culinary Film Festival (AICFF) and a Gastronomical Sidebar complete with cuisine themed entertainment and top chef cooking demonstration with tasting.

This year’s offerings boast films from Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, UK, Greece, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. representing 15 narratives, 9 documentaries, and 31 short films. LAGFF will introduce four World premieres, 25 North American premieres, and 13 Los Angeles premieres to the Hollywood audience. 42 films will vie for LAGFF’s coveted “Audience Choice” Orpheus Award.

Some festival highlights include the Opening Night North American premiere of Tassos Boulmetis’ bittersweet comedy Mythopathy (Notias) on Wednesday, June 1. The story is set during the 1970s military junta in Greece and follows a young boy, Stavros, as he copes with the ever changing social and political climate by reinventing established Greek myths and creating his own versions. This is the third feature from the award-winning Touch of Spice director. Mythopathy stars Hellenic Academy award winners Themis Panou (Miss Violence), Maria Kallimani (Sto Spiti) and introduces Giannis Niaros in his first feature starring role among others. Tasos Boulmetis, a former UCLA assistant professor and film school Alum, will be in attendance.

Sunday’s Closing Night film will be Christopher Papakaliatis’ Worlds Apart in its debut outside of Greece. The film stars Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons. Worlds Apart is the highest grossing Greek film since 2009, notably surpassing box office numbers in Greece for the long-awaited 2015 blockbusters Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spectre. Worlds Apart fosters three separate narratives each following a love story between a foreigner and a Greek. Each story represents a different generation falling in love during a time of socioeconomic turmoil that dominates Southern Europe as a whole, only to connect with a single story in the end. Christopher Papakaliatis and J.K. Simmons will be present for their film’s North American premiere.

Following the screening is the star-studded Orpheus Awards Ceremony and the closing night party including wine, food, and entertainment under the Hollywood stars. Academy Award winner® J.K. Simmons and Jim Gianopulos: Twentieth Century Fox Chairman & CEO will receive 2016 Orpheus honors at the ceremony hosted by American Beauty star Mena Suvari.

Thursday, June 2 LAGFF will have a special tribute to iconic Greek director Alexis Damianos with a screening of the all-time favorite masterpiece Evdokia in its original 35mm format. First released in 1971, this Greek/UK co-production is a love story between a prostitute (Evdokia) and a sergeant (Yorgos). The film features an original Manos Loizos’ Rembetico musical piece and stars the late Maria Vassilou (Chrysothemis) and Chris Zorbas (Silhouettes). In 2002, the Greek Film Critics Association voted Evdokia as one the 5 best Greek films of all time.

There is something for every Cinephile on Friday, June 3 when the Festival screens 15 films beginning at 4:00 P.M. The TGIF program includes a searing look at relationships with Panos Karkanevatos’ Riverbanks (Ohthes) and Dimitri Anthanitis’ drama Invisible. Representative of Friday’s documentary offerings is Loukas Stamellos’ Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair about the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and Vasilis Katsoupis’ My Friend Larry Gus about the Milan, Italy-based electronic artist.

Preceding all narrative and documentary films is a litany of the best creative shorts of 2015 and 2016. Highlights include Haris Pantelidakis comedy Pacino’s Way, Nikos Tsemberopoulos’, Simon Says winner of the Grand Prize of the Competition Section Greek Film Short Film of the 21st Athens International Film Festival ‘Opening Nights’, Christos Liakouris’ family drama and festival circuit favorite Pet and Stutterer Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage’s 2016 Oscar Winner for Short Film (Live Action). Michael Paledimos, Stutterer‘s Producer will be in attendance for the film with Q&A to follow.

For the first time in Festival history, LAGFF is opening its screenings free of charge to all college students with a valid student ID. Discounted tickets to the Opening and Closing Night Galas for eligible students will also be offered.

There will be two industry educational events that are free and open to the public:

June 4th – SATURDAY
12:30-2:30pm: Writing for Diversity in TV (Panel, Open to the Public)
During this group session esteemed television writers, and personalities discuss and share their experiences, challenges and efforts to promote diversity on TV – both within the writer’s room and the characters they create. Panelists are; writers Aida Croal (Luke Cage), Julia Fontana (Lucifer), Maikiko James from the newly launched Women In Film’s Women Writing Lab, musician/ writer Our Lady J (Transparent), producer Benoni Tagoe (Awkward Black Girl) and director/ producer Greg Yaitanes (Banshee, House M.D.).

3-5pm: How a Director Finds Her Characters – Masterclass with Athina Tsangari, moderated by Carlos Aguilar (Masterclass, Open to the Public)
Greek auteur Athina Tsangari, whose Attenberg (2010) earned international acclaim, is back with another peculiar observation on human relationships. Chevalier, which premiered at last year’s Locarno International Film Festival, is an unconventional look at male friendships. It had its North American premiere at the Toronto FF and won London BFI’s Best Film Award. Chevalier will screen at LAGFF and Tsangari will join us for an insightful masterclass on the directing craft. Her unique approach to working with actors, the seemingly absurd premises of her films, and her unique brand of humor have positioned Tsangari as one of the most exciting and uncompromising filmmakers working today. Join us for a stimulating masterclass moderated by film critic Carlos Aguilar who has written for outlets such as Indiewire, MovieMaker, and Variety Latino.

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