Activities report of the 6th “Beyond Borders” International Documentary Festival of Castellorizo island
For its 6th consecutive year, the “Beyond Borders” International Documentary Festival took place on Castellorizo island, this year under the auspices of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The festival was organized by the Hellenic History Foundation, in co-organization with Ecrans des Mondes (Paris). The Festival was supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hellenic Ministry of Νational Defence, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Secretariat General for the Aegean and Island Policy, the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hellenic Parliament, the Region of South Aegean, the Municipality of Megisti, the Embassy of Australia in Athens, the U.S. Embassy in Athens, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens, the Embassy of Cyprus in Athens, the Embassy of Spain in Athens, the Cervantes Institute in Athens, the Italian Cultural Institute in Athens, the Czech Centre in Athens, the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication – EKOME , the Greek Film Center and ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation).
Record number of entries
Μore than 567 documentaries by Greek and international filmmakers – which is a record number of entries despite the recent Pandemic – were submitted. A total of 27 documentary films from 17 different countries were screened at the Competition section of the festival while 15 documentary films were screened at the Panorama.
This year’s Jury consisted of Klaus Eder – General Secretary FIPRESCI, Marianna Economou – President of the Greek Documentary Association, Jean-Christoph Caron – Head of Documentaries – Phoenix, Bruno Chatelin – film critic and Maro Anastopoulou – director.
Partners of Honour
The Institute of Documentary Film (Prague) represented by Sofia Tocar (festival organizer-coordinator) was awarded as this year’s Academic Partner of Honour for its commendable and long-lasting support of experienced filmmakers.
The Festival also awarded the Hellenic Parliament TV – which was represented by Aris Fatouros (Director, Producer and TV Consultant) – as this year’s Media Partner of Honour.
For the first time Beyond Borders also introduced the institution of the Festival Partner of Honour. In this context Beyond Borders awarded Movies That Matter, an International Festival from the Netherlands which supports Human Rights-themed films. Movies That Matter was represented by Margje de Koning (Artistic Director) and Maarten Stoltz (Film Programmer).
In the context of the competition section, the Festival Jury awarded the prizes -courtesy of the Greek Parliament- for Best History Documentary to “Midnight Traveler” (USA, Qatar, Canada, United Kingdom, 2019) directed by Hassan Fazili, Best Socio-Political Documentary to “The Patriarch’s Room” (Canada, 2017) directed by Danae Elon, Best Short-Length Documentary to Dafa Metti (Difficult) (UK, 2015) directed by Tal Amiran.
The Award for Best Greek Documentary – sponsored by the Greek Film Centre – went to Golden Dawn: A Public Affair (Greece, 2021) directed by Angelique Kourounis. The Special Award of Mediterranean Friendship –courtesy of the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication – EKOME – went to “EXPRESS SCOPELITIS” (Greece, 2020) directed by Emilia Milou. The Special Award of Odyssey – courtesy of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – went to “My Own Personal Lebanon” (UK, 2020) directed by Theo Panagopoulos.
The Special Jury Prize went to the film: “A Black Jesus” (Germany, 2020) directed by Luca Lucchesi, while “High Maintenance” (Israel, 2020), directed by Barak Heymann won the Special Mention from the Jury award.
An opening ceremony with a strong emphasis on Greece’s Bicentennial
The 6th edition of “Beyond Borders” International Documentary Festival of Castellorizo offered a brilliant opening ceremony to its spectators, as it put a strong emphasis on Greece’s Bicentennial. The screening of Panos A. Thomaidis’s film “Spetses ‘21, At the Crossroads of History” offered an original reading of the history of the Greek revolution, starring the descendants of insurrectionists of 1821. The concert that followed by the title “And we have on our mast forever a lookout – the Sovereign Sun!” (Odysseus Elytis) featured the great singer Morfo Tsaireli – and the composer-pianist Andreas Anagnostopoulos with whom they presented songs penned by the great Constantinopolitan Poet Dim. K. Papakonstantinou and the Nobel Prize-winning Poet George Seferis along with renowned musicians Giannis Niarchos (voice, guitar), Michalis Dimas (bouzouki), Artemis Vavatsika (accordion) and Αntonia Tsolaki (bass).
The opening ceremony was greeted and honored by the presence of the representative of the Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Culture, Nicholas Yatromanolakis; the representative of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Grace the Metropolitan of Simi, Tilos, Halki and Castellorizo Chrysostomos; the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Costas Fragoyiannis; the General Secretary for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, John Chrysoulakis; the Deputy Mayor of Culture Stratos Amygdalos, the Ambassador of Australia in Athens, Arthur Spyrou; the Ambassador of Cyprus in Athens, Kyriakos A. Kenevezos; and the Cultural Affairs Officer of the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Shanna Dietz-Surendra.
Closing Ceremony – “With Greece as Captain”
The ceremony featured a concert entitled “With Greece as Captain” featuring the great performer Vasilis Gisdakis and the musical ensemble ARGONAUTS (soloists Dimitris Papangelidis (classical guitar), Spyros Pagiatis (piano), Dimitris Koufogiorgos (mandolin) and Mariliza Papadouri Papangelidi (cello)). Michel Noll and David Forbes’ documentary film “The Cradock Murders” was also screened at the closing ceremony.
Heike Dettmann – Deputy Head of mission of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens, delivered a speech, while the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Athens, Anna Mondavio, honored us with her presence at film screenings of the Competition section.
Masterclasses, Pitching Lab & Le Grand Debat
In the context of the festival three Masterclasses by BBC Storyville Editor-in-Chief and Beyond Borders ambassador, Mandy Chang, Chairman of this year’s Jury Klaus Eder and the artistic director of the Movies That Matter Film Festival Margje de Koning. During their Masterclasses they imparted a wealth of knowledge on film criticism, on the process of making a feature documentary film, on best practices for independent filmmakers and on funding strategies for creative documentaries in the hope of guiding young up-and-coming filmmakers.
Four Pitching Lab sessions took place during the festival. They were prepared and organized by a collective of four students (Katerina Karpouzi, Antigoni Iliadou, Nikos Papachiou, Galateia Kondi) from the Film School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki under the guidance of Panagiotis Iosifelis – Head of the School of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts of AUTh.
Barbara Wackernagel-Jacobs (director and producer) and Dr. Annie Lacroix-Riz took on the historical figure of Robert Schumann in Le Grand Debat.
Klaus Eder in Castellorizo
It was the first time that Beyond Borders International Documentary Festival of Castellorizo had the honor of hosting the distinguished film critic Klaus Eder.
The creation of a documentary for this unique guest was a challenge that sought to discover the human side of his character.
In collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Film, the film will closely keep track of his visit at the island.
On the islet of Agios Georgios (St. George) a theatrical performance took place on August 25th on the subject of the unknown contribution of Konstantinos Polychroniadis on the propagation of the Greek Revolution. It is a recent four-language publication by the Hellenic History Foundation (IDISME) featuring pre-revolutionary texts published across the European Press of his time. Polychroniadis’s goal was to raise awareness among the European public opinion about the significance of the struggle for Independence.
The members of the Athens String Quartet accompanied the theatrical performance by presenting works from the Dodecanese suite of Giannis Konstantinidis. The talented Greek actress Georgia Anesti and the distinguished British actress and writer Carol Drinkwater read texts by Polychroniadis that had been addressed to the representatives of the great powers.
The professor and co-editor of the publication, Matteo Campagnolo attended the theatrical performance and delivered a speech.
In the context of the parallel activities of the Festival a book launch was held on August 28th on the occasion of the recent publication of the Hellenic History Foundation titled “Themistocles L. Chrysanthopoulos: In the labyrinth of the Greek Diplomacy – Ministry for Foreign Affairs 1945 – 1980”
Honorary Ambassador Georgios Veis, CNN Greece journalist Giannis Mandalidis and Athenian News Agency (APE) journalist Vassilis Lolidis presented the book, which is essentially a diary of the actions and initiatives taken by Themistocles Chrysanthopoulos.
His children, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos also an honorary ambassador and Daphne Chrysanthopoulou – Georgiopoulou, were in Castellorizo and communicated their own memories and recollections of their father’s personal experiences to the attendees.
Parallel actions for young and old alike
Throughout the festival, visitors had the chance to enjoy the exhibition of the National Historical Museum, “The Archipelago on Fire” that was hosted in the Municipality Hall of Megisti. The exhibition which showcased reproductions on the naval struggle of the Greeks from the Collections and Archive of Historical Documents of the National Historical Museum, was inaugurated by His Grace the Metropolitan of Symi and Castellorizo Chrysostomos representing His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
As part of the festival, the Municipal-Lending Library of Castellorizo was twinned with the Benakeios Library-Library of the Greek Parliament.
This year’s event was also interesting for the Castellorizian youth as in collaboration with the National Historical Museum and its educators Angela Vidali, Natasa Kastriti, Regina Katsimardou and Panagiota Panariti, our little friends had the chance to create their own works of art using portraits and engravings with figures and scenes from the Greek Revolution of 1821 as their reference points.
Simultaneously, through the “Fairytale Musical Journeys” of Lily Tegou and Niki Goudoumi, they were introduced to the concept of freedom and travelled to the magical world of music. Older children had the opportunity to attend Andreas Katsikoudis’s professional photography seminar titled “I love photography!” At the end of the seminar, the artworks of the students were exhibited at the Municipal Μarket of Castellorizo.
The Shadow Theater of Alexandros Melissinos inspired plenty of laughter for our little friends whereas the Clown/Magician Motzo Jojo travelled young and old alike to new magical adventures.
This year, the Athens String Quartet which consists of the leading members of the Athens State Orchestra (violinists Apollon Grammatikopoulos and Panagiotis Tziotis, violist Paris Anastasiadis and cellist Isidoros Sideris) enhanced the intervals between the screenings with live music.
The festival was honored by the presence of directors/crew members: Matteo Ferrarini and Ali Parraz (Ethbet!), Luca Lucchesi (A Black Jesus), Antigoni Gavriatopoulou (EXPRESS SCOPELITIS), Danae Elon (The Patriarch’s Room), Christina Antonakos-Wallace (From Here), Fotini Salvaridi (Araf), Lia Katsarou and Kevork Melkonian (Memories from the Liberation of Komotini), Scott Calonico and Sandy Wieding-Fries (Betrayal), Carlos Gomez-Mira (SIM-PATIA), Eric Esser (The Angel of History), Vangelis Makrostergios (Homemade Lemonade), Vassilis Douvlis (Affection for the People), Daizy Gedeon (Enough!), Dmitry Bogolubov and Anna Shishova-Bogolubova (Town of Glory).
The festival was also attended by Antigone Makrygianni and Evanthia Papadatou (General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy), Alexia Papakosta and Despina Lampada (National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication – EKOME ), Angeliki Papadopoulou (Social and Cultural Affairs Welfare Foundation – KIKPE), Maria Vlassopoulou and Andreas Kapetanios (Library of the Hellenic Parliament) as well as journalists Vassilis Economou (Cineuropa), Giannis Mandalidis and Konstantinos Pliakos (CNN Greece) and Antonis Mystiloglou (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation – ERT).
Attendance to all educational events, screenings and activities was free of charge.