Challenging and Creative

The Avant-garde Film Festival, an initiative of the Greek Film Archive Foundation, aims at cultivating a new cinephilia, to mark the move of Tainiothiki at the Lais movie theatre.Thus a festival which proposes a rich programme that combines contemporary and pre-war avantgarde cinema with the gender problematic and films proposing debates on aesthetic and social critique.
The festival is organised around two main events. An expansive exhibition of the work of VALIE EXPORT at the Athens School of Fine Arts and film screenings at the Trianon movie theatre, together with lectures by visiting artists, which will take place at the auditoriums of the Athens Journalists’ Guild and Athens University.The Greek public will thus be presented with the opportunity to meet some of the most important artists of the contemporary avant-garde, of which and most prominent is the Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT, who has developed her unique style in her work as a performance and installations artist and as a filmmaker. A brief reference to the other important artists, events and themes that compose the festival is necessary:

  • Screening of the film Seven Easy Pieces, by Marina Abramovic΄ by Babette Mangolte.
  • Retrospective of the work of Germaine Dulac, the French writer, journalist and filmmaker, who pioneered the avant-garde movement before 1930.
  • Reflections that arise from the dialogue of gender studies are revealed in the tributes to Helke Sander and Laura Mulvey.The former worked within the framework of the radicalisation of the students’ and women’s movement in Germany in 1968, while the latter, a leading theorist, returns to her classic essay Visual Pleasures and Narrative Cinema with the collaboration of Emma Hedditch.
  • A tribute to Greek women auteurs Eleni Alexandraki and Maria Iliou, who explore the subjects of repatriation and female identity.
  • A Tribute to Udi Aloni.The Israeli artist examines the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reveals his mastery in image-making.
  • The tribute to Greek avant-garde cinema is especially interesting. It comprises two films by Costas Sfikas, one inspired by Marx’s Capital and the other by Kafka’s Metamorphosis. It also presents two films by Antouanetta Angelidi, who has created a unique style of avantgarde and gender poetics.The section also features a documentary by Stella Theodoraki, a performance by Pepi Rigopoulou based on her latest book, and new and interesting composition by Marsa Makris on violence.
  • The Greek documentary section features two award-winning films, one by Alida Dimitriou on the women who fought in the Greek resistance, and the other by Vouvoula Skoura, which is on the Lebanese poet Etal Adnan.
  • A digital blog in which five well-known Greek directors – Lena Voudouri, Despina Karvela, Giorgos Karypidis,Thanasis Skroumbelos and Alexandros Papailiou – focus on Athens.
  • A tribute to Balkan filmmakers, held in collaboration with the Thessaloniki International Film festival and SEEDOX. It will be accompanied by a round-table discussion on Balkan cinema production.
  • Selections from the Amsterdam Biennale and the Netherlands Film Museum featuring the masters of Dutch avant-garde filmmakers, and curated by Mark-Paul Meyer, curator of the Dutch Film Archive.
  • Continuing last year’s initiative to support young artists, the festival presents the work of students of the University of Athens Media Department, the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Thessaloniki University Film Studies Department and the Thessaly University Department of Architecture.

We believe that our programme will provide a challenging and creative Festival for all Athenians, as well as intellectual stimulation and aesthetic pleasures to the cinephiles.

Maria Komninos

Culture as a Way of Life

The word “avant-garde” regains its original subversive significance at the 5th Avant-garde Film Festival, organised by the Greek Film Archive Foundation. Over the course of ten days (May 13-22) film buffs and every restless Athenian art aficionado will be ‘bombarded’ with documentaries, shorts and features, as well as with lectures by pioneering artists who once influenced, and who continue to influence, our outlook on the events that take place within us and around us.This, after all, is the very essence of the avant-garde movement.

Through its avant-garde festivals, the Greek Film Archive Foundation has succeeded in establishing an institution that promotes the diversity of the cinematic idiom and cultivates the growth of a new appreciation of cinema.

This year the 5th Festival reveals modern-day trends in avant-garde cinema but also casts a retrospective glance on those of the early 20th century. It showcases the restoration and digitisation work of the Film Archive and actively participates in establishing a network of film archive foundations from around the world. Furthermore, the festival endeavours to build bridges in Southeast Europe and the Balkans by screening films from neighbouring countries in an effort to create a better understanding of our respective cultures. However, the true stars of this year’s event are women filmmakers.
The highlight of this festival is the tribute to one of the most challenging figures of the international art scene, Austrian artist, performer, filmmaker and theorist VALIE EXPORT. Parallel tributes will also be held for other prominent women in cinema, such as Germaine Dulac, Helke Sander and Laura Mulvey, as well as Greek women filmmakers.

The Avant-garde Film Festival is organised in close collaboration with the City of Athens Cultural Organisation.The aims and pursuits of this festival are attuned to our own vision of culture in Athens: a constant and lively pursuit of new perspectives and encounters between artists and citizens, with the aim of handing the torch of artistic questioning to every citizen. As president of the Cultural Organisation, but also as a woman, I firmly believe in a cultural organisation that walks along the new paths forged by art, that supports true creativity and resists the narrow-mindedness that so often befalls such state-run bodies. Besides, our slogan, as we have so often said, is “Culture as a Way of Life”.

Sophie Daskalaki-Mitilineou
President of the Board of the Cultural Organisation of the City of Athens


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