By Alex Kalognomos,
LAGFF Executive Producer
I love the word “festival.” Add it on to any word – food, car, Greek – and you have an event that is sure to be a draw – food festival, car festival, Greek festival.
That last one especially.
Now add the word “film” to it, tack on “Los Angeles” and you have an event juggernaut that is comparable to the Olympics themselves.
Los Angeles Greek Film Festival takes over Hollywood for five days and nights, June 1st-5th. This year marks the Festival’s 10th anniversary. An unprecedented number of 56 films, receptions, after parties, open industry workshops and cooking demonstrations from Greece define this anniversary year.
On Sunday, June 5th the Festival will honor Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, James N. Gianopulos, and Oscar-winning actor, J.K. Simmons during the Orpheus Awards, hosted by actress Mena Suvari (American Horror Story).
We live in a city known for its film festivals. There are more film festivals here than anywhere in the world; easily two and three festivals per week. Getting out and seeing them is all part of the fun. I marvel at the proliferation of festivals that draw our community together to experience the film culture.
This year, 50 filmmakers from around the world will attend LAGFF, offering a direct connection to their experience.
By courting industry professionals, we offer our filmmakers mentorship and support through the Festival’s 4th International Project Discovery Forum. And we work in close cooperation with Loyola Marymount University in our 16-student internship program to train students in entertainment and media arts through coursework that examines Greek culture, business and cinema.
On Thursday, June 2nd we pay tribute to iconic director Alexis Damianos with a 35mm screening of his 1971 masterpiece Evdokia. On Saturday, June 4th, award-winning producer/director Athina Tsangari (Chavelier) will hold a master class on how directors can find actors. Our resident DJ Chris Douridas from KCRW will be spinning on both Opening Night when we screen Tassos Bulmetis’ Mythopathy and on Closing Night, when we present Worlds Apart, the highest grossing film in Greece’s recent past.
This year we have partnered with the Athens Culinary Film Festival to offer 10 films and tastings from the great culinary traditions of Greece. From world premieres to L.A. premieres, nine nations are represented among the 56 films we will present. Over 30 percent of the filmmakers are women, and 12 filmmakers are first time directors.
The way LAGFF has grown during its first decade is a testament to the might and determination of their storytellers and the exotic cultural diversity of Los Angeles.
Let the games begin!
Visit LAGFF.org for tickets and screening schedule.