Documentaries in competition at the 6th “Beyond Borders” International Documentary Festival of Castellorizo (22-29/8/2021)
A total of 27 documentaries (11 feature films, 5 medium-length films and 11 short films) from 15 countries will be competing at the 6th Beyond Borders International Documentary Festival of Castellorizo.
Once again the official selection includes compelling films from around the world.
Please, find below a summary and a trailer of all the films in competition:
Short Films in competition:
- The Method: Captured / Greece, 2017, 13’ Directed by: Haris Gioulatos
One night in October 1967, at 3 o’clock in the morning, the doorbell of Periklis Korovesis rang. There followed many months of imprisonment and torments. “The Method” is Korovesis’ effort to write down his experience.
- My Own Personal Lebanon / United Kingdom, 2020, 16’ Directed by: Theo Panagopoulos
My Own Personal Lebanon is a short documentary following the attempts of a young Greek filmmaker to connect with his distant Lebanese origin by discovering his mother’s secret stories of the war.The film explores the emotional tension between national and personal identity through a conversation in a car, two installations in Athens, a book about Beirut and three spoken languages.
- Home Made Lemonade / Greece, 2019, 15’ Directed by: Vangelis Makrostergios
Mrs Eleni, born and raised in the Refugee Apartment Blocks of Alexandra Avenue (Athens), spent her childhood intensely influenced by her refugee heritage. After 40 years of struggles to preserve the buildings of her neighborhood, she is now forced to coexist with a peculiar mixture of people that includes refugees and immigrants from Asia and Africa. In this historical neighborhood, which constitutes a modern ghetto, home-lemonade has an unusual taste.
- Memories of the Liberation of Komotini / Greece, 2020, 20’ Directed by: John Daridis
Liberis Tsailas was born in Megalopolis, in Arcadia, Peloponnese. In 1919, at a young age he came to Komotini as an agent of Greek newspapers. Today he returns to the city as a ghost. He draws from his memories emotions and images of Komotini, telling us about its Liberation as he lived it. He is surrounded by 4 women. Each one originates from a different culture or/and religious community of the then Gumuldjina. They offer treats for the joyful event, telling us the facts as they learned of them.
- Betrayal / Germany, 2020, 11’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Scott Calonico
In 2016, filmmaker Scott Calonico started a documentary with his friend Andy. The subject was Andy’s father, Werner Stiller – an East German spy and one of the most notorious defectors of the Cold War. However, what started out as a simple spy doc, took a turn into a complex web, when Calonico’s subject committed suicide, revealing the double-life of a double agent and a possible long-lost sibling of Andy’s.
- Dafa Metti / United Kingdom, 2019, 15’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Tal Amiran
Under Paris’ glittering Eiffel Tower, undocumented Senegalese migrants sell miniature souvenirs of the monument, to support their families back home.Far from their loved ones and hounded by the police, each day is a struggle through darkness in the City of Lights.
- Sim-Patia / Spain, 2019, 03’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Carlos Gómez-Mira Sagrado
People with sequelae after head traumas experience their condition as a real nightmare. Thanks to the invaluable work of every professional working on the Sim-patía project, they recover the degree of autonomy of which they are capable and along with their families, they find a new balance.
- Skyros / Greece, 2020, 12’ Directed by: Aris Pavlidis
A shepherd narrates his experience of an old custom on the island of Skyros. The film is about the marriage of myth with reality.
- Dat’s real good? / France, 2021, 05’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Marc Faye
On 23 February 2005, the radio announced a law project about the benefits of French colonisation. This announcement disrupted the daily life of Louise and her family. Her house turns out to be inhabited by strange presences.
- The Eternal Wound / Greece, 2019, 11’ World Premiere Directed by: Dean Kennedy
The film is about the life of Alexandros Zygouris, a Greek sculptor who found his second home on the tiny remote Greek Island of Castellorizo. For over 40 years, Alexandros travels from his home in Epirus, a village in Preveza, to the tiny island where he spends his days living and working in a storehouse, set on a picturesque waterfront, hidden from the rest of thetown. Alone, he works on sculpting a ‘never-ending masterpiece’, seeking to fill the eternal wound, he calls ‘loneliness’.
- The Angel of History / Germany, 2019, 11’ Directed by: Eric Esser
A border in Europe; a painting by Paul Klee; a poem by Walter Benjamin; a film about yesterday and today, and how difficult it is to recognize one behind the other.
Medium-length Films in competition:
- High Maintenance / Israel, 2020, 66’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Barak Heymann
Israeli artist Dani Karavan has created nearly 100 environmental installations all across the world. He has won some of the most prestigious international art awards and is constantly asked to speak or lecture about his groundbreaking work. Yet Karavan is far from satisfied. His monumental structures are rapidly deteriorating. His advanced age is starting to catch up with him. The political climate in his country is driving him mad, as does the director of the documentary being made about him, whose questions betray his infuriating artistic ignorance. In addition, Karavan becomes embroiled in a serious political and artistic conflict over his latest commission, a monument for Polish nationals who had risked their lives saving Jews during World War Two. “High Maintenance” is a cinematic reflection of the artist. It is a straightforward, yet intricate film, emotional and personal without being melodramatic, and as painful as it is humorous and passionate.
- Araf / Turkey, Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2018, 43’ Directed by: Didem Pekün
ARAF is an essayistic road movie and diary of an imaginary character, Nayia, who travels between Srebrenica and Sarajevo to Mostar in Bosnia. She has been in exile since the war and returns for the 22nd memorial of the Srebrenica genocide. The film is guided by her diary notes of the journey which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus –Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. The story of Icarus and Daedalus, a myth symbolic of man’s over-ambition and inevitable failure, is weaved throughout the film as a way to think about exorcizing the vicious cycle of such events happening in the future and of a possible reconciliation. Nayia also thinks of Icarus from a different perspective, that of seeing the optimism of such a leap, his braveness of taking a leap into the unknown in this era of radical instability, that perhaps Icarus wanted to write a different narration.
- Kε•ha•jas – Man of the Land / Greece, 2021, 63’ Directed by: Georgios Komakis
“Kε•ha•’jas – Man of the Land” is an ethnographic documentary filmed in Lemnos, the most flat of the Aegean islands. According to an oral tradition of his place of birth, Kε•ha•’jas – a term associated with Lemnian farmers, was interpreted in various words but still remains largely misunderstood. Through the narrations of members of Kε•ha•’jas family and their living experience, the documentary covers an existing gap in collective memory and local history on the existence of the group itself. Memories, oblivions, silence and identities help illuminate the rural, economic and social history of the island, mostly on a predominantly evolutionary basis. The history of the Kε•ha•’jas group is nothing more than a story experienced on the baseline, by subjects previously denied the right to official or written history as well as the institutional memory of Lemnos.
- The Lord of the Reef / Turkey, 2021, 60’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Mert Gοkalp
The narrator of the documentary Mert realizes the catastrophic human impact on coastal areas and marine ecosystems while he was working as a scuba instructor/scientist. Being attached to Kaş like many others, he follows the story around one special fish, the dusky grouper and films the very first protection efforts and the struggle given to conserve the area as a newly declared marine park. Nonetheless, Mert is a ferocious underwater hunter, who spearfishes since he was seven and he realizes the effect he has on the coastal ecosystem singlehandedly. For years he was working on marine conservation and makes documentaries for the protection of marine life, he witnesses the ban of fishing of the dusky grouper and the regeneration of marine life within the perimeters of the brand-new marine park. Starting in 2010, the filming spread around 10 years of history in the region. And during that time Mert encounters spectacular stories of marine inhabitants, films special animal behaviour, walks together with sea-loving souls who are sworn to protect this fragile ecosystem. This blue documentary questions the impact we as humans have on coastal ecosystems; whether we realize a life-long dream and buy a holiday house for family, construct a huge touristic facility on shore or simply like to catch fish as a hobby.
- Her Confession / Bulgaria, 2017’, 60’ Directed by: Ivan Nichev
Kostadinka Kuneva is Bulgarian. She used to be a cleaner in Athens Metro who became a leader of the cleaners trade union of Athens. On Christmas Eve of 2008 she was splashed with acid. Despite her grave injuries (burnt eyes, esophagus, entirely disfigured face), she survived more than 40 operations. In 2014 Kostadinka Kuneva was elected an MP for the European Parliament with the votes of more than 300.000 Greek citizens, to continue her struggle for workers’ rights.
Feature Films in competition:
- A Black Jesus / Germany, 2020, 92’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Luca Lucchesi
For many centuries, in a small town on the southern border of Europe, people have been worshipping a statue of a black Jesus. 19-year-old Edward from Ghana, a resident of the refugee center which is the subject of great controversy in the village, asks to carry the statue in the annual procession and to stand next to the locals that bear its cart. The community is divided over the response. On a journey exploring the source of fear and prejudice against “the others”, the inhabitants of this small European village are called upon to question their own identity, starting with the very icon of their faith: a black Jesus.
- Express Scopelitis / Greece, 2020, 69’ Directed by: Emilia Milou
For 40 years now, legendary Greek boat Express Scopelitis is the soul of the Small Cyclades. We sail with her, watching sailors’ lives onboard and winter life on the islands. The film is a praise of life between heaven and sea. It balances on the edge between reality and transcendence, in the same way that seamen’s lives balance, with great effort, between land and sea. The sea allows for space much like a barley field, dancing waves lead us to festive ecstasy, a love-song leads to a sea storm. All is one, joined together by the force of nature and man’s struggle to tame it and live harmoniously with it.
- Another Paradise / Belgium, France, 2019, 82’ Directed by: Olivier Magis
Fifty years ago the entire Creole population of the Chagos Islands was expelled by the British authorities. This secret operation took place in order to lease the largest island to the US Navy so that it could build a military base. Now, with the lease about to expire, Chagossian exiles struggle to recover their homeland. The charismatic woman leading their fight in UK is Sabrina Jean. Through her unrelenting activism, including participation in the World Football Cup for Stateless people, she strives to keep the flame of hope alive in her community, so that her people might finally return home.
- Can Art Stop a Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture / Australia, 2019, 93’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Mark Street
William Kelly widely considered the social conscience of Australian art, once said: “Art can’t stop a bullet, but it can stop a bullet from being fired”. Can it? Filmed on five continents, with contributions from over 20 artists, thinkers and activists, this documentary explores the power of art to influence violence in the world. The film documents the creation of Kelly’s monumental artwork “Peace or War/The Big Picture”. It is a tapestry of history and art, drawn from major artworks and photos from the defining conflicts of their relevant times. This immense visual collage allows the audience to navigate through time and place, meeting survivors of these horrific moments in history and the artists who have created work commenting on these periods, some of which have become iconic. Through Kelly’s drawings, the audience is transported to the concentration camps of the Third Reich, the bombing of Hiroshima, “the Troubles” in Ireland, the race riots in the US and Pol Pot’s Year Zero. Interwoven with archival footage of these cataclysmic events, the audience is invited to visit anti-war and anti-gun demonstrations today, events that call for similar injustices to be stopped. The film is a parallel work to Kelly’s enduring masterpiece, unfolding to create the ‘Big Picture’ in documentary form.
- No more stories! / France, 2020, 89’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Ferhat Mouhali, Carole Filiu-Mouhali
She is French, he is Algerian. Their whole childhood was rocked by the Algerian war. Traumatic memories of a forced departure for the journalist, daughter of black feet; mythical tale of a glorious independence for the director, a human rights activist. Everyone got their own version of the story. Far from the official historiography, they meet witnesses with voluntarily forgotten speeches who fight against the war of memories to make a more appeased truth heard.
- The Patriarch’s Room / Canada, 2017, 84’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Danae Elon
Jaffa Gate Is Ours!”, screamed the headlines in 2005. Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irineos was accused of selling church property to Jewish settlers. He denied all the accusations. However, for the first time in the Church’s 2000-year history, its leader was ousted. For 11 long years, Irineos was imprisoned in his chambers. In this first-person account, filmmaker Danae Elon unravels what really happened to the former Patriarch. With unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Church, a riveting, mysterious, disturbing, and often humorous story is revealed about an unknown world within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
- From Here / USA, 2020, 90’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Christina Antonakos-Wallace
FROM HERE is a hopeful story of Tania, Sonny, Miman, and Akim – artists and activists based in Berlin and New York whose lives hang in the balance of immigration debates. As the US and Germany grapple with racism and nationalism, our protagonists move from their 20s into their 30s and face major turning points: fighting for citizenship, starting families, and finding room for creative expression. Spanning a decade in two of the world’s largest centers of immigration, this sensitive and nuanced documentary captures their journeys to redefine what it means to “belong” in societies that are hostile to their existence.
- Ethbet! / Italy, France, Belgium, 2021, 71’ Directed by: Matteo Ferrarini
Ethbet!’ means ‘Hold on!’ and was what the revolutionaries of Tahrir Square cried out to encourage their friends to resist during the uprising that began in Cairo on 25 January 2011. Now, ten years after Egypt’s failed revolution, what has happened to the revolutionaries? What happens when a military regime, despite multitudes of street protests covered enthusiastically by the world’s media, manages to become stronger rather than fall?
- Midnight Traveler / USA, Qatar, Canada, United Kingdom, 2019, 87’ Directed by: Hassan Fazili, Emelie Mahdavian
When the Taliban place a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he was forced to flee with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing their uncertain journey, Fazili shows both the danger and desperation of their multi-year odyssey and the tremendous love shared between them.
- Golden Dawn: A Public Affair Greece / 2021, 118’ Directed by: Angélique Kourounis
How does one fight far right, fascist and nazi ideas that are contaminating institutions all over Europe? The story of the trial of Greek neonazi party Golden Dawn that lasted more than 5 years provides an answer.
- While We Live / Netherlands, Greece, 2020, 80’ Greek Premiere Directed by: Andrea Voets, Myrto Papadogeorgou
In “While We Live”, musical journalist Andrea Voets makes a social roadtrip around Greece, in search of a way out of fundamental loneliness in society. Along with dozens of ordinary Greeks and Greek musicians, she deciphers their tools on meaningful contact and the social logic they live by. The journey takes us from the metropolis of Athens to the remote island of Lipsi and the mountains of Epirus. We listen in on conversations about trust, openness, sharing, closeness, the experience of time and tears-without-words. We have a secret peek into fundamental, ancient values that lie at the base of meaningful contact: practical ethics, filotimo & filoxenia and a surprising concept of catharsis & glenti. The journey ends in a concert hall in Amsterdam. There, conversations and images turn into a documentary-concert, in which live music by three musicians expresses the layers of meaning that cannot be put into words.
Beyond Borders is organized by the Hellenic History Foundation, in co-organization with Ecrans des Mondes (Paris). The 6th Beyond Borders International Documentary Festival will be held under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The Festival is sponsored and/or endorsed 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 Municipality of Megisti, the Embassies of Australia, U.S.A., Federal Republic of Germany, Cyprus, Spain, the Cervantes Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Czech Centre, EKOME, the Greek Film Center and ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation),