The Press Conference of the 28th Athens International Film Festival, Premiere Nights, was held on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at the ASTOR Cinema, by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas, in the presence of the President of the Athens Film Society, Mrs Maria Bobolas. The Executive Director of the International Film Festival Premiere Nights, Mrs Tatiana Pappa, and its Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas, welcomed the attendees and audience watching the Press Conference live via theFestival’s social media.
Ms Tatiana Pappa welcomed everyone by expressing her joy that “Premiere Nights, this cinematic dream, which was created with love, patience and perseverance, was embraced by the audience, the cinema industry, the institutions, the international institutes and the State, thus becoming an irreplaceable cultural event for nearly 30 years. Picking up the baton from the impressively popular Athens Open Air Film Festival, which started with the special nationwide premiere of the film “The Lost Daughter” in the presence of Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, continued its journey with 21 free screenings in Athens and the Aegean islands, attracting almost 10.000 spectators, and collaborated for the 2nd consecutive year with the 2023 ELEUSIS European Capital of Culture presenting the 1st Documentary Festival in Eleusis entitled “Mysterio 23_Cine-Eleusis: IN SITU realities”. The 28th Athens International Film Festival could not have occurred in the first place without continuous State support. We want to thank the Region of Attica, and the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organization. Thanks to their valuable funding and support from the Ministries of Development and Culture, the Festival is still here to offer unique screenings. The 28th Premiere Nights are back to provide quality entertainment and enhance the cultural profile of Athens with 12 days of screenings, 142 films, more than 100 partners and suppliers and 50.000 spectators“.
At this point, she invited the Governor of Attica, Mr George Patoulis, to the podium, who stressed the importance of “culture, which is not a luxury, but an educational and recreational necessity”. He reiterated the commitment of the Region to continue supporting Premiere Nights being “one of the largest and most important festivals in SE Europe” with the wish that “after two years of the pandemic, to “relive that particular mystique, that experiential interaction between the audience and the filmmakers’ work in a movie theatre”.
The President of OPANDA, Mrs Niki Arampatzi, could not attend the event. Still, she sent a message, stating that “the City of Athens and OPANDA love cinema and Premiere Nights. We prove that in practice by being co-organizers of the festival from its very beginning. This year, and after all the difficulties faced by the film industry in the last two years, Premiere Nights promise to offer more happenings and unique experiences on the screens of winter cinemas. I sincerely hope spectators return to cinemas because this experience is compelling and unlike any other screening experience. I hope this year will compensate all those involved in the cinema industry in the best possible way and that the obstacles of the previous years will be a thing of the past. I wish good luck to this year’s Premiere Nights, and let’s all be present at the great cinematic feast of our city!”
Then Tatiana Pappa welcomed on stage Ms Agapi Kefalogiannis, Senior Programme Manager of NOVA, our new Major Sponsor of the Festival. Mrs Pappa stated: “NOVA loves cinema, we love films, we love the Festival, we want to expand our partnerships, and we are thrilled to start this synergy and assist this international Festival that brings colour and beautiful films to the city. We want to bring people back to movie theatres and make them talk about cinema.”
Before giving the floor to the Festival’s Artistic Director, Loukas Katsikas, to present the Programme, Ms Pappa thanked the event sponsors for their valuable support (NOVA, Major Sponsor, Fischer, Audience Award Sponsor, Jameson, Event Sponsor, AEGEAN, Travel Sponsor thanks to the support of which, we will welcome 30 international guests this year, Citroën Transportation Supporter, ZOLOTAS Jewellers, Metropolitan College, City Link, Athens Concert Hall, Pallas Theatre).
Loukas Katsikas welcomed the audience and pointed out, before starting the presentation of the programme, that “The official Athens Film Festival is linked to what is happening in the city, surviving in turbulent times and amidst the intensification of social conflicts. It is worth noting that today is the fourth anniversary of the murder of activist Zack Kostopoulos, aka Zackie Oh. We support the march that started at about this hour from Gladstonos Street. Above all, Cinema is memory, and we, the people of Cinema, must never forget.”
Then, after talking about a safe and successful Festival in a hybrid format during the pandemic, he stressed that the 28th edition of the Festival would be hosted EXCLUSIVELY in previously closed cinemas, returning to normality, its physical venues and beloved theatres, to which, this year, another historical cinema of the city – ASTY – is added.
The Festival’s artistic director retook the floor to talk about this year’s programme, which hosts 142 films, 3 Competition Sections, 4 significant Tributes, highly anticipated premieres, parallel events and special screenings. During his presentation, Mr Katsikas referred to the opening and closing films of the 28th Premiere Nights. In addition, he spoke about the award-winning and highly anticipated premieres of this year’s Festival. After Reuben Estlund’s “Triangle of Sadness”, this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, screened in a nationwide pre-festival premiere in a special open-air screening at Chiliadou beach in Evia, in the presence of its director, the Athens International Film Festival is delighted to host the Golden Lion awarded film of the recent Venice Film Festival, Laura Poitras’ documentary “All Beauty and the Bloodshed”, paving thus the way for this exceptional film to win the upcoming Oscars. Also coming from Venice is the Screenplay and Best Actor (Colin Farrell) award-winning “The Banshees of Inisherin”, a new (and best) film by Martin McDonagh, director of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Furthermore, this year’s Premiere Nights will allow audiences to watch the highly daring, much-discussed Golden Leopard winner from the Locarno Film Festival: Julia Murat’s “Rule 34”. Among the most anticipated artistic films of the current season by a renowned and award-winning director is the movie of the Secret Premiere on Friday, October 7, details of which will be announced soon.
Finally, the 28th Premiere Nights will screen the official Oscar nominations from Denmark (“Holy Spider” by Ali Abbasi), Ireland (“The Quiet Girl” by Colm Bairéad), Cambodia (“Return to Seoul” by Davy Chu), Serbia (“Darking” by Dusan Milic), France (“Both Sides of the Blade” by Claire Denis) and Poland (“EO” by Jerzy Skolimowski), alongside this year’s Oscar favourites for Best International Film selected as the opening and closing films of the Festival.