The 1st Mediterranean Documentary Festival – “Mediterranean Dialogues” is organized in Karlovasi, Samos (September 15-18) by the Organization for the Collective Management of the Rights of Film Producers “ERMIAS”, the Municipality of West Samos and the Faculty of Arts of the University of the Aegean. The original idea was started by “Hermia” with the aim of expressing in practice the concept that the Mediterranean is not a sea that separates the inhabitants of the countries that surround it, but the element that unites them culturally. Thus, we believe that dialogue opportunities are needed between the artists and intellectuals of these countries, in order to search for their common identity and common interests in the 21st century. This is exactly why we chose the documentary as a film genre that can form the basis for this dialogue, since the documentary does not simply record the reality at a moment in time, but captures the director’s point of view about it. We also chose the festival not to be competitive in order to facilitate communication between artists, which unfortunately the competitive framework makes difficult.
Our goal is to make this Festival a cultural institution that will be embraced by the local community of Samos, by the directors of the Mediterranean countries and also by the University Community. That is why we sought the cooperation of the Municipality of West Samos and the University of the Aegean, specifically the School of Positive Sciences, who responded positively and we have a particularly fruitful cooperation.
Films from Egypt, Greece, France, Italy, Cyprus and Turkey are participating in this year’s festival. Along with recent films, films from previous decades will also be shown because we believe that culture has a past, a present and a continuation.
In the Greek program of the Festival, in addition to the special tributes, the following films will be shown
- Mother once again, by Artemis Anastasiadou
- The dance of the horses, by Christos Voupouras
- Icon, by Lambros Georgopoulos
- Performance for a role, by Dionysis Grigoratos
- Markos Vamvakaris, by Nikos Kanakis
- The Samiian state, by Taina Grigoriadou and Takis Kambras
- Raw material, by Christos Karakepelis
- Monogram-Ninos Mikelidis, by Vassilis Kesisoglou
- Winds, by Apostolos Kryonas
- Civil speech, by Diamantis Leventakos
- Material terror, by Vassilis Mazomenos
- I Woke up18, by Vera Iona Papadopoulou
- The magic of the songs!, by Stathis Reppas
- Islands on the edge; Thymaina, by Giorgos Savoglou and Dionyssia Kopana
- Kalavrita – Gernika, by Ismini Sakellaropoulou
- Waiting, by Kostas Sfikas
- Xerolithia, by Stelios Charalambopoulos
- Olympic champions of Crete, by Lefteris Charonitis
As far as special tributes are concerned, the program includes tributes to Cypriot and Turkish documentaries. Turkey is a few meters away from Samos and we see through the films that we will show that people’s problems are similar in both countries and they are looking for a solution at a political level. As part of the dedication to the Turkish documentary, documentaries by Enis Riza, Ebru Şeremetli (Hatırlamak…16 Mart), Imre Azem (Ecümenopolıs), Yeşim Ustaoğlu (Sırtlarındık hayat), Serdar Kökçeoğlu (Mimaroğlu The Robinson of Manhattan island) & Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun will be screened. (Crossroads).
As for the tribute to the Cypriot documentary, beyond the value of Cypriot cinema as an independent genre, the fact that Cypriot artists have greatly contributed to the creation of what we call “modern Greek film culture” is of particular interest. Thus, the tribute includes films by Diomedes Nikitas (The Green Line-The Tears of Antigone) and Panikos Chrysanthous (Our Wall) but also a film by Nino Mikelidis (Once Upon a Time) and two films in which Dinos Katsouridis participated.
From Italy, we will see a documentary by the director Laura Muscardın entitled “The Children of Rome’s Dirty City”, which follows, as adults, the children who had acted in the legendary film of Italian neorealism by the great director Roberto Rossellini.
It will premiere outside of France at our Festival. or Nikolas Moissaki’s film documenting the great work of Greek-born George Nicolaidis, a musician and activist with an opinion on the power of “music in the community” that creates flowers from ashes.
In the Festival program we have planned another tribute to films shot in Samos or by Samian directors, such as the film by D. Valis, a photographer and director who lived in Karlovasi and shot with his own money an excellent documentary about the island and the his people. This film will be screened at the beginning of our Festival together with a film by K. Aristopoulos, who shot it in the early 1980s and is about the “Odyssey” of our great poet Yiannis Ritsos in his places of exile from Limnos to Karlovasi, where he was exiled in the dictatorship of ’67 but also lived his last years with his wife, a great doctor from Karlovasi, and his daughter, Eri Ritsou. The screening of Anna Kesisoglou’s documentaries “The Monasteries of Samos” is included in the same thematic tribute.
Another theme of the Festival is dedicated to the Work, in the context of which the documentaries of Kostas Sfikas “Waiting”, Manousos Manousakis “Traveling with the Evangelist”, Christos Karakepelis “Primary Material” and Stelios Charalambopoulos “Xerolithia – Sculpting landscapes in Bloodstains of the Aegean”.
We will have another tribute to three documentaries by Manos Efstratiadis, which are about and have been shot in Cyprus, Mytilini and Serres (Hidden Face, In Mytilini and Dying in Kerdylia).
Also of particular interest is our collaboration with the International festival “Film O’ Clock”, which has a life of 4 years, and its director Mirona Radu will be with us. “Film O’ Clock”, therefore, will cooperate with “Mediterranean Dialogues” and will participate with 2 documentary films, which were played at “Film O’ Clock” in previous years: the Egyptian short film Al-Maw’oud/The promised (directed by Ahmed Elghoneimy) with the title “Cosmic Anatomy” (directed by Vassilis Vafeas) which was filmed in Karlovasi and also has the theme of art as a means of social intervention.
It is also worth noting that the Festival is dedicated to the great cinematographer and friend, who we lost some time ago, Lakis Papastathi, with whom, as the chairman of the Association of Greek Film Directors and Producers, we started the Mediterranean Documentary festival in 1997 in Pythagorion, Samos in collaboration with the Nikolaos Dimitriou Foundation and we continued it in Lavrio with the cooperation of the then Prefecture of Eastern Attica until 2010. It was one of the first festivals organized in Greece that were exclusively about the documentary and maybe some memories from this particular festival are the seed for the “Mediterranean Dialogues”.
Finally, as part of the festival, a documentary will be shown on the life and musical journey of Iota Vei, such an important performer of our traditional songs. On the occasion of the screening of this film, there will be a concert by Iota Vei and the group of artists accompanying her (September 16 in the courtyard of the Porfiriada School of Karlovasos).