– 1st Stop: Athens
The first stop of the cine-caravan for our five critics was Athens, Greece, where they attended the 3-day closing event of the Online Short Film Festival for Balkan Filmmakers, altcineAction!
Their journey started Friday morning at the French Institute! The five ambassadors had the chance to participate with the public audience in the masterclass “Film Criticism” with the acclaimed film critic Jean-Michel Frodon, ask questions and get tips on how to write professional critiques.
“Jean-Michel Frodon gave us some really practical tips about movie criticism”
And from the French Institute to Booze Cooperativa. Everything set for the masterclass “Writing with Light” with the awarded D.O.P Olympia Mytilinaiou (GSC). How many kinds of cinematography are out there and which one did the contestants of altcineAction! 2015 chose for their films? A very interesting discussion on the use of light in cinematography and how to read it.
“Olympia Mytilinaiou helped me find out more about cinematography and duties of DOP”
Moving on to The Greek Film Archive and the screening, for the first time in Greece, of the multi-awarded Croatian film “A Wonderful Night in Split” by Arsen Anton Ostojic. After the screening we had the pleasure and the honor to listen to our guest, the editor of the film Dubravko Slunjski, talking about the film and giving us insight on how it was made.
It was a very long and tiring day for the five ambassadors, but at the same time full with new experiences and knowledge! A delightful dinner and a party was exactly what they deserved before getting some rest at their hotel.
It’s Saturday morning and the critics are once again on the road, going to altcine’s offices in the heart of Athens. The closed workshop with Jean-Michel Frodon starts and the five discuss with him the rationale of their selection of altcineAction! short films. After three hours they concluded on which films will screen later that evening.
Delicious seafood, a walking tour to Acropolis and the historical center of Athens, some necessary sleep and the ambassadors gather once again at The Greek Film Archive to watch their selection in a full theater, explain their rationale and each present one film to the local audience.
And so the story goes and the last day in Athens starts with an open discussion on city, culture and cinema, along with professionals and academics of the cinema industry, to be followed by the closed workshop of the five critics with Olympia Mytilinaiou (GSC).
It’s 8 o’clock and everyone is already at The Greek Film Archive, curious and excited to see this year’s winners of altcineAction! Online Short Film Festival for Balkan Filmmakers.
The closing ceremony started with a warm welcome by the Director of the festival Electra Venaki, to the audience, the juries, the sponsors and the partners of The 5C Project, Agron Domi – Director of Tirana International Film Festival, Marian Tutui – Artistic director of Divan Film Festival and Ana Grgic, president of the Balkan Cultural Center.
The first to receive their prize were the winners of The Best Critic Award, Mariana Hristova from Bulgaria, Galina Maksimovic from Serbia, Ozge Ozduzen from Turkey, Andrei Sendrea from Romania and Rhiannon Wain from the U.K.
“The quality of critical writing this year has significantly improved – and we want to thank all the participants for their time and interest in new short films from the Balkans. Inevitably there were some very good contributions that we were unable to reward, and we hope to be able to do so in the future.”
“Considering both the quality and the quantity of film critiques this year, the jury’s task was even more challenging, and the competition much tougher than the previous years. We sought reviews that were original and insightful; that brought to the surface aspects of the films that other viewers may not have noticed; that expressed the reviewer’s opinion in a justifiable way; that were written in a way that could attract the reader and were also clearly communicated. We were impressed by the number of reviews written by some critics, but overall, quality was more important than quantity. Indeed, our primary criterion for the selection was the quality of the writing. We chose the five competitors, who were able to distinguish themselves through patience, their capacity for synthesis in writing, critical vision and a good grasp of the English language.
We hope that the prize will help these five young and developing writers in their possible future career as film critics, by enabling them to refine their writing skills and to create connections in the cinema industry and the film festival network in the region and beyond. We wish them luck as they embark on this cinematic caravan through one of the most exciting and lesser known European cinemas – that of the Balkans!”
The three major prizes of altcineAction!, based exclusively on the audience’s votes and critiques, were Libelula by Mihai Salajan and Adelina Bulibasa, Pledge by Christos Gkotsis and See you in the morning by Alma Zekollari. At this point, it should be reminded that the ambassadors’ votes counted 100 times more in the final results.
The Best Cinematography Award went to the D.O.P of the film Pledge, George Tampakakis, while a Special Mention was given to Spyros Triantafyllou for his work in the film Pyramid by Galaxy Spanos. The Best Editing Award went to Blaž Gracar for his editing in the film Diving In by Simon Intihar, while Diving In also won the Alida Dimitriou Award, the choice of altcine.
The Closing ceremony of the Festival ended the best way possible, with Cretan fingerfood and raki! After a 3-day full with excitement, films and culture it was time for the cine-caravan to leave Athens and set off for the next stop! Our five critics will meet again in May, in Split Croatia ready to fill their luggage with new experiences. Until then, we all are gonna keep in touch with them through their blog where they will share everything they learned and loved during the beginning of their adventure in Greece!