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Greek Film Festival launches 2016 program

The program includes a proud survey of contemporary Greek film, including the latest features, documentaries and shorts made in Greece or directed by Greek Australian filmmakers

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Still from Sofia Exarchou's awarded feature film, 'Park'.

19 September 2016

From 12 to 23 October the Delphi Bank Greek Film Festival will be offering a proud survey of contemporary Greek film, presenting a vast selection of the latest features, documentaries and shorts made in Greece or directed by Greek Australian filmmakers. A special spotlight on Yorgos Lanthimos' work will also screen at The Astor Theatre from 22 October until 3 November. Special events include the opening night screenings of Worlds Apart and the event screening and '80s after-party for the 1982 guilty pleasure film Summer Lovers.

Meanwhile, a number of exemplary shorts will be shown throughout the festival's Australian and International programs, including The Curse of Don Scarducci, starring Alec Baldwin in the role of a quintessential mob boss who can't quite stomach his next hit.

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based TV journalist Helen Kapalos' much anticipated and discussed new documentary A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana will also screen as part of this program on Saturday 15 October, with a Q&A to follow. With this documentary, Kapalos aims to provide clarity and understanding around the issue via her personal investigation into the medicinal benefits of cannabis. While the Victorian government only recently passed a bill to legalise access to medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances, Israel is undertaking radical research and legal action towards that direction, proving the positive outcome of this measure.

Another controversial debut, Kosta Nikas' corrosive thriller Sacred Heart, aims to make viewers question their stance on religion, with a plot which tackles the intersection of faith and the clergy. The story revolves around a tragedy that forces a formerly religious man to reject his God, taking the sub-genre of psychological drama on a theological odyssey.

Needles to say, the festival's 2016 program will again do justice to Greece's brilliant next generation of creatives with a great representation of talent.

Constantine Giannaris touches on the plight of Athenian youth in Spring Awakening, a cautionary tale about a group of five disenfranchised teenagers armed with Bonnie-and-Clyde ideals. Touted as the Greek version of Larry Clark's Kids, it grapples with the salient realities for a generation growing up under social and economic collapse.

Sofia Exarchou's debut feature Park is another timely portrayal of a young generation living alongside the ruins of the now-abandoned Olympic Village in Athens. Park won the Work-in-Progress Award for Most Promising Project at Karlovy Vary, and was the first Greek film to be selected for the prestigious Sundance Director's Lab, placing Exarchou among the ranks of Greece's most exciting new filmmakers.

Tear-jerking and paradoxically hopeful, SMAC, by Elias Demetriou, on the other hand, bravely upends audience expectations about how stories on terminal cancer can be told. Through Evangelia Andreadaki's powerful performance, Demetriou offers a profound and loving depiction of one woman's fight against her mortality.

The festival will also screen a series of acclaimed films from Greece including Alps, Beneath the Olive Tree, Blind Sun, Chevalier (co-presented with ACMI), Dogtooth, Dream of a Shadow, Highway to Hellas, Invisible, Kinetta, One Breath, Silent, Summer Lovers, Suntan, The Lobster, This is a Coup, What If and World's Apart.

Choosing from a filmography of 50 films, this year's nod to the classics goes to the iconic Thanasis Veggos, one of Greek cinema's greatest comedians dubbed the 'Greek Charlie Chaplin'.

Five classic movies will comprise the 2016 Greek language retrospective: Thanasis in the Land of Slaps (1975), Holidays in Vietnam (1971), The Careless Idiot (1971), Dictator Calling Thanasis (1973) and The Charlatan (1973), which takes a comedic but humanistic view of migration.

The Delphi Bank 23rd Greek Film Festival runs from 12 to 23 October 2016 at Palace Cinema Como and The Astor, and also travels to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane. Tickets are now on sale from www.greekfilmfestival.com.au

Chevalier plays exclusively at ACMI Cinemas from Thursday 6 October. To purchase tickets, visit www.acmi.net.au

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