Closing Ceremony of the 18th Thessaloniki International LGBTQ Film Festival

First, we want to thank all of our audience, the filmmakers and the producers, especially those, that visited our Festival, the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the Deputy Mayor for Tourism and International Relations, the embassies of Norway, of Sweden, the Consulate General of France in Thessaloniki, Goethe Institute of Thessaloniki, the French Institute of Thessaloniki, the Norwegian Institute, the ngo PRAKSIS, ERT3 (TV and Radio), the radio Sto Kokkino, the organizations Lesbian Group of Thessaloniki, HOMOphonia Thessaloniki Pride, and the Transgendered Support Association.

We also have to thank, many members of “Sympraxis” that contributed to the success of the Festival: Maria Efthimiadou, Amalia, Ulysses Anastasopoulos, Spiros Varveris, Stacey Mandaltsi, the friends and valunteers Eleni Maniaki, Maria Konstantinidou, Makis S. for the support and Georgia Iordanidou, Anna Kostanta, M. Pavlidis, Maria Serifi for subtitling, and many-many others.
Also the anonymous audience, who became part of this Festival, who answered the questionnaire and animated us, saying that our festival provides in our city ideas, knowledge and values.

We screened 11 feature films, 8 of which feature 3 documentaries, and 32 short films.
These films were selected among 1,200 submitted to us (last year had been 1,000 movies).
The films were from:
1. Argentina,
2. Australia,
3. Vietnam,
4. Bulgaria,
5. Brazil,
6. France,
7. Germany
8. United Kingdom,
9. United States of America,
10. Israel,
11. Italy,
12. Netherlands (Holland),
13. Lebanon,
14. Luxembourg,
15. Malaysia,
16. Norway,
17. Phillipines,
18. Serbia,
19. Singapore,
20. Sweden,
21. and of course from Greece.

21 filmmakers – producers – actors attended the festival, either as guests or coming in their own initiative, and discussed with the public:
3 from Vietnam,
4 from Bulgaria,
3 from Germany,
4 from the United States of America,
1 from Serbia,
6 from Greece (Athens).

There were 2 one-hour discussions (“Visibility as a human right” and “Domestic violence”) and two shorter discussions (“Children’s sexuality – desires, limits” and “Devaluation Language, Hate Speech”).

Movies were watched by approximately 500 spectators.

The screening after the Official Opening and after the Closing Ceremony were free.

We have announced a prize for the best film, according to the rating of the public.

The films were selected by the organizers, who had their own social, aesthetic – cinematographic and moral criteria, then ranked by the audience, which they too have their own respective and criteria.
In this manner, we managed to combine and an average satisfaction and evaluation from an aesthetic ideological perspective.
According to the rating, the level of public satisfaction was very high (mean score 3.6). For documentary films was also very high (mean score 4.2), last year the average score was 3.4.

The best feature film, which was rated as “Excellent” and received the AUDIENCE AWARD was the documentary: “Finding Phong”, of Swann Dubus and Tran Phuong Thao, from Vietnam, on the redefinition of the anatomical sex.
The feature films that received a HONORABLE MENTION were:
1) Unbelievable, of Cedric Thomas Smith, fiction from the US on domestic violence, violence within the partnership.
2) An Act of Love, of Scott Sheppard, documentary from the US, about the struggle of a priest for the establishment of same-sex wedding in the United Methodist Church, and
3) Fundamentally Happy, of Tan Bee Thiam and Lei Yuan Bin, fiction from Singapore, on the processing of emotions of a young man who had been raped in his childhood.
These three films got the same degree and rated ‘Very Good’.

The best short film, which was rated as “Very Good” was the fiction film: ” Stay”, of Milka Mircic Martinovic and Pierre-Yves Dalka from Germany, on the memories of a relationship hidden from the social environment.
The next two Short films HONORABLE MENTION – were:
1) Forgetfulness, of Mayur Katariya, fiction from Australia on dementia of a lesbian who recollects her life.
2) You are Beautiful, of Hristo Poriazov, fiction by Bulgaria on the inter-disclosure between son and father, that they are both gay.
Both films were rated as Very Good.