By TC Rice
In the cinema world of festivals there seems to be one a week focusing on movies about the environment, human rights, some micro centered, and many broader “focuses.” One of these standout festivals is the Ninth Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF) which comes our way June 3rd – 7th at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
Festival Director Aristotle Katopodis and his team have assembled an astonishing diaspora of “Greek” cinema in this refreshing feast of film that proves itself a great relief from the mayhem of summer studio CGI. As Katopodis has said the Festival is “an exciting amalgamation of social, satirical and political statements.” While that statement may be true it is modest and dry compared to what is being presented.
The LAGFF should really be called the Los Angeles Greek International Film Festival as it presents not just films by Greek filmmakers and about Greece, but films by “Greek” filmmakers who come from other lands around the globe and from nations as far flung as Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece itself and other countries.
Featuring over 35 narratives, documentaries and shorts the festival opens with Pantelia Voulgaris’ Little England and closes with Panos H. Koutras’ Xenia. Stand-out, not to be missed, award winning films in their own right, they are just the bookends to a fascinating array of exceptional cinema.
Beyond simply screening new films this will be the third year of the International Project Discovery Forum (IPDF) which has previously reached out to Greek and international organizations such as Sundance with new talent. This year its partners include Sofia Meetings, The Thessaloniki IFF Crossroads and Torino Film and Pitch. According to IPDF director Araceli Lemos a record number of scripts and projects were submitted from over seven different countries. “The IPDF cannot wait to introduce these bold and inquiring filmmakers,” she said.
Keeping in mind that in a world of too many films, and not enough screens, in some cases this will be the one and only opportunity to catch certain movies one might never get a chance to see otherwise. While at first glance the LAGFF might seem to be just another “niche” festival it would be a mistake to overlook the opportunity presented here which transcends the “niche” norm.
In the cinematic world where technology seems to outweigh all else this collection of well-told and well-crafted stories stands-out and is not to be missed. Do yourself a favor and get to this event which truly takes the meaning of “festival” to heart.
For a full schedule, showtimes and other information go to www.lagff.org