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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 October 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2016 17 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Giannis Aivazis signing autographs for his fans. A full room for the GFF opener: (L-R) Nikos Koukouvitakis, Christina Simantiraki, Ekaterini Xagorari, Bill Papastergiadis, Marina Hrysovergi, Dimitris Sarris and Konstantinos Boulmetis. ‘It’s fresh. It’s global. It’s exciting. It’s relevant. It’s the Greek film Festival and it’s on!’ NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU T he Delphi Bank 23rd Greek Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday in the presence of hundreds of community members and representatives with the much-awaited Australian premiere of the film Worlds Apart. The Melbourne opening night gala took place at The Astor Theatre in St Kilda, where audience and esteemed guests were welcomed with canapes and ouzo cocktails from the team at Bahari Restaurant. Penny Kyprianou, Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture’s programs manager, took to the stage before the screening to guide us through the long and ever-evolving history of the Greek Film Festival and to announce this year’s speakers. Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria president Bill Papastergiadis noted that “the festival is a cultural product that I believe truly reflects our organisation the GCM”. “It’s fresh. It’s global. It’s exciting. It’s relevant. And why is this film festival all of these things?” he asked. “Because each year we get to experience a world far removed from ours – warts and all.” The festival, the president continued, is an open door to Greece and also a window into the Greek Australian reality. “We have here a festival which speaks to us on so many other levels about our lives as Greek Australians,” he said. “So for two weeks, let’s all lose ourselves and also perhaps in this process, refind ourselves. It’s a journey. And as Greeks we are good at journeys. Just ask Homer about Odysseus; ‘journeys of epic proportions’ are very Greek.” Greek ambassador to Australia Mrs Ekaterini Xagorari and Marina Hrysoveloni, Greece’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Network, both thanked the Greek Australian community for its efforts in promoting Greek culture and the arts. Acclaimed actor and director Christopher Papakaliatis’ film, starring Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons, kept the theatre engaged, and moved the Astor Theatre audience so deeply many of the guests left crying. Set in modern-day Greece, the movie tells three separate love stories, each between a Greek and a foreigner. The narratives represent a different generation falling in love during the European crisis, which eventually connect to a single, confronting and relevant story depicting Greece’s modern reality. Famous Greek actor Giannis Aivazis from Dream of a Shadow and Nikita Ballas also made their appearance on the red carpet alongside GASFF Cocurator and actor Katerina Kotsonis and filmmaker Luka Lesson. David Parker from Cascade Films, Helen Marcou from Bakehouse Studios and directors Ana Kokkinos and Alkinos Tsilimidos were present too. Following the screening, the Greek Film Festival’s committee had arranged a buffet with Greek wines, beers and delicious desserts. The special opening session celebration for Worlds Apart, which took place on the same night at Palace Cinema Como, was also sold out. Featuring a selection of the latest features, documentaries and shorts made in Greece or directed by Greek Australian filmmakers, the festival offers a proud survey of contemporary Greek films. The Delphi Bank 23rd Greek Film Festival this year runs until 23 October, 2016 at Palace Cinema Como and The Astor in Melbourne, and also travels to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane. To find out more about sessions and book your tickets go to www. greekfilmfestival.com.au Mikri Kompania breaths new life into northern Greek folk The Greek Centre was brought to life last week with the sounds of northern Greece thanks to a live performance by new and emerging folk band Mikri Kompania. While traditional folk music is usually known to be enjoyed outdoors in open spaces, the Friday night performance provided a contrast, taking place in a warm and cosy, cabaret-style atmosphere, which seemed, if anything, to amplify the kefi. The debut performance saw the group, featuring five new faces with different musical influences and origins, take the audience on a journey with a selection of songs and rhythms from Macedonia and Thrace. Among those gathered on the night was director of Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture Demosthenis Manasis, who couldn’t speak highly enough of the performance by the young team, describing it as “a breath of fresh air”. “I have had the pleasure of playing with most of these musicians in the past, but their fusion of energy, passion and most of all interest and dedication to our traditions and customs is what encourages us all to support their efforts and aspirations for the future,” he told Neos Kosmos. Despite being a sold-out event with a relatively small dance floor, attendees were eager to dance along, making use of every nook and cranny. The group, which came together in 2015, includes Angelos Tzovaras on clarinet, Ilias Gilos on accordion, lute player and guitarist Dimitrios Gilos, Stephanos Eleutheriadis on percussion and vocalist Eleni Boukouvala. To find out more about Mikri Kompania and to catch their next show, visit the group’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mikrikompania/ Mikri Kompania during their debut performance at The Greek Centre last week. PHOTO: GIORGOS KLADIS.
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