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“We did it!” Los Angeles Greek Film Festival just turned 10 years old in June 2016 and celebrated with film premieres, a gastronomic event, glamour and panels among others.
This June, the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre. The five days festivities were concluded with the annual Orpheus Awards and a “night to remember” closing ceremony.
The festival included films from Greece, Sweden, Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, the U.K.,Turkey and the U.S. representing narratives, documentaries, and shorts projects of whom several were world premieres, North American premieres and Los Angeles premieres of the selected films.
LAGFF included Q&A’s with the filmmakers and several other events. It also hosted the Athens International Culinary Film Festival, where the attendees were presented with cuisine themed film projects.
The majority of the films were very warmly received by the audiences and some were described as sensational. “The Republic” by Dimitris Tzetzas in its North American premiere, ”Short Fuse” by Andreas Lambropoulos and certainly “Alex and Eve” by Alex Lykos, Bill Kritharas and Peter Andrikides that was described as one of the funniest film people had seen in their lives at its afterparty.
The closing ceremony was an absolute highlight with a variety of prominent industry professionals getting photographed and interviewed on the red carpet such as Chris Papavasiliou, Louis Mandylor, Angelo Tsarouchas, Anna Rezan, Corina Tsopei Fields, Evan Spiliotopoulos, Constantinos Isaias, Jay Cohen, Michael Paleodimos, Pantelis Kodogiannis, Patricia Karras, Zoe Kottas, Chryssa Avrami, Alex Kalognomos, Angelo Platon, Peter Kallinteris and many more. The Greek minister of Tourism Helena Kountoura also attended the event.
The Orpheus Awards were hosted by actress Mena Suvari who was accompanied on stage by 40 students from the Stella Adler Acting Academy.
Panos Karkanevatos’ “Riverbanks” won for best fiction feature film. “Exotica, Erotica, Etc.” won for best documentary film and “Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair” won an honorable mention for documentary.
The Van Vlahakis Award, presented by Kelly Vlahakis Hanks for best short fiction film, went to “Stagnation,” a Norwegian production about a desperate Athens shopkeeper struggling to keep his head above water.
An MFI scholarship, Aegean Award went to Nazli Elif Durlu for “Zuhal” and Harris Raftogiannis received an honorable mention for his film “The River”.
“World’s Apart” directed by Christopher Papakaliatis was the fest’s closing film in its North American premiere and it won LAGFF’s Audience Award. The lead actress of the film, Maria Kavogianni won the Orpheus for best performance and her co star, Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons received an honorary Orpheus Award.
One more honorary Orpheus Award was presented to Jim Gianopulos chairman and CEO of the 20th Century Fox, recognized for his continuous support to LAGFF. Kary Antholis of HBO handed him the award.
Festival’s creative director Aris Katopodis mentioned that “this 10th LAGFF is now history, but it is also one that made history with most films screened ever, most filmmakers present and largest attendance so far.
Fest’s co founder Ersi Danou thanked executive producer Alex Kalognomos as well as coproducer Eleni Arvaniti and when joined on stage by festival’s co founder Angeliki Giannakopoulos stated that “LAGFF is a chance for Los Angelinos to experience Greek cinema, and our filmmakers benefit from the bridging effect between Greece, the Balkans, and Hollywood”.