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During the pandemic, critical issues arose concerning the future of the moving image, film festivals and archives. In new and urgent terms, the question emerged again whether art can change the human destiny.

This year, the International Competition program includes 9 films both by established and debut directors, who in many cases intersect fiction and documentary, use archival material and immerse themselves in repressed collective and personal memories - from the Philippines, Cuba, Israel, France, Italy, USA, Spain, Mexico, China, Argentina and Canada.

 From a more political perspective, in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement, the program From Early to Independent African-American Cinema: 1920-1989 includes 18 African-American films that outline the course of Black Cinema in America. The tribute Citizens of Cinema: Viénet René & Hu Jie showcases the subversive situationist films and documentaries by the sinologist René Viénet, as well as documentaries by the great Hu Jie that expose the role of Maoism in China. The tribute Jane Gabriel: Testimonies of the 20th Century presents  documentaries by the awarded British journalist and filmmaker who, with her trilogy on the Greek civil war, annoyed the British establishment, but continued to make documentaries that give voice to the invisible and the dispossessed.

In the context of cinephilia, the program Restored and Beautiful brings 9 landmark films in the history of world cinema, while the recently restored film “The Apaches of Athens” will be screened for the first time online in Greece. There are also tributes to important old and young auteurs, such as, Otar Iosseliani: A Blackbird Filmmaker, with a selection of films by the French-Georgian auteur and The Two Faces of Denis Côté with films and documentaries by the multifaceted Canadian director. With the tribute Boris Vian: Dreams of Cinema, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the dreamy and multi-talented French writer and jazz musician.

 From the experimental and independent cinema, we present the tributes: Bruce Baillie: The West-Coast Thoreau, with films by the guru of the American experimental film; The Wandering Andrew Kötting, who traverses landscapes and myths of Britain; Bertrand Mandico: Sensory Witchcraft, with short and medium-length films by the French queer filmmaker and the last three films of the American Harmony Corine in Harmful Harmony. Also, in the program Some Like It Short, award-winning Greek and foreign short films are showcased.

 The program Greek Fantasy Cinema includes films by veteran auteurs of the New Greek Cinema, as well as contemporary directors. Finally, the program  Contemporary Portuguese Cinema shows the dynamism of current Portuguese film production.

The 11th Athens Avant Garde Film Festival, held online and free of charge, is carried out within the framework of the Regional Operational Program of Attica (2014-20) and is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. I would like to thank the Minister of Culture, Mrs. Lina Mendoni, and the General Secretary of Contemporary Culture, Mr. Nicholas Yatromanolakis; the Regional Government of Attica and the executives of the Special Management Service of the Regional Operational Program of Attica; the Embassy of Portugal in Greece and especially the Counselor João Ricardo Mendes, as well as the Camões Institute; The Embassy of Canada in Greece and especially his H.E. the Ambassador Mark Allen, the Political Counsellor Walter Bernyck and Political and Public Affairs Officer Julie Papanicolaou; the French Institute of Athens and especially its Director Patrique Comoy and the Audiovisual Attaché Théo Koutsaftis. Finally, the Board of Directors and employees of the Greek Film Archive as well as those working for the 11th AAGFF.

 
Maria Komninos
Director of the 11th Athens Avant Garde Film Festival

 


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