The 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival’s tribute to beloved documentarist Stavros Psillakis unveils stories of everyday people often caught in borderline situations

The Festival hosts a tribute to one of the most recognizable voices of Greek documentary, director and producer Stavros Psillakis, whose films observe the world that surrounds us and contemplates on the human psyche. Within the framework of the tribute, ten of his documentaries will be screened. In addition, Stravros Psillakis will be awarded an honorary Golden Alexander as part of a special screening event.

His documentaries, profound human existential essays, observe the world that surrounds us and explore the psyche of his protagonists. The director, weaving bonds of trust with his “heroes”, adopts a permeating glance and approach on his topic, bringing forth their hidden truths and carving a unique portrait of contemporary Greece.

Stavros Psillakis will attend the Festival and Thessaloniki and engage in a conversation with the audience on the occasion of his films’ screenings. Moreover, he will take part in an open discussion, held within the context of the Festival’s large-scale tribute to the genre of observational documentary.

Debt (2021)

«Every person we meet in our life is a journey and we often feel from the beginning whether we will travel first class, or without luggage and with empty pockets, with this person.» Alekos Zoukas is a very dear man, a reveler and at the same time a deeply thinking and thoughtful person.

A man you can hardly forget once you meet him. In the film, the director’s trips with Alekos Zoukas and his friends in Pyrsogianni interchange with Alekos’ confessions about his experience with cancer. An encomium to friendship by an angel who is sinful.

My Photograph (2020)

The short film by Stavros Psillakis was shot during the quarantine period, after being commissioned by the Thessaloniki Film Festival, as part of the Spaces project, inspired by the book “Species of Spaces” by Georges Perec. The directors that participated in the project shot their films inside their homes, commenting on the unprecedented situation the planet has experienced.

«In the past, I remember, when they asked me for a photograph of mine – to see me even during the times that we were not together – I told them I will give you a photograph of my library” says Psillakis. “I thought I was the books I loved. Today, grown up, I wonder if my face, solely my responsibility and not some random natural favor, are the books I loved…»

FOR NO REASONS Meetings with Yorgos Maniatis (2019)

Yorgos Maniatis (1939-2018), a legionnaire in Algeria at the age of 18, an author and later a musician, defines himself as a “public menace.” This film is not a biopic, but it rather seeks to explore the adventure of his soul: an inflammatory conscience in constant vigilance, which immolates itself. Life changes by those who change their lives, he says.

Olympia (2015)

Already 3 months pregnant at the age of 33, Olympia finds out that she has lung cancer. It is a rare and unusual medical case. After a lot of hesitation and difficulties, she decides not to abort and a healthy baby, Panayiotis, is born. 4 months after the birth, with no let-up in the cancer, on the initiative of her doctor, Iakovos Angel, we will spend 4 days by Olympia’s and her family’s side, recording whatever the situation will allow.

Short Gypsy Stories (2014)

Athanasia, Theodore, Yorgos, Chrysoula are gypsies, who live and move around in Zefyri, Menidi and surrounding areas. They don’t live in tents and camps anymore, but in a modern urban environment each according to their abilities.

Through stories they tell of their lives, their individual unique character slowly unfolds. They become PEOPLE with dreams, hopes and disappointments, just like any of us.

Dilemma (2013)

Yannis Behrakis and Lefteris Pitarakis have recorded with their camera notable war events and moments that marked humanity. Dilemma focuses on photojournalism’s importance and the ethical issues that arise during war or extreme violence.

ΜΕΤΑΧΑ Listening to Time (2012)

“Living with cancer is a journey to self-knowledge and a future that’s no longer entirely yours. Cancer is a unique place between life and death. With sharpened gaze and senses attuned, the cancer sufferer moves between inwardness, self-awareness, acute sensitivity and paranoia.” Ioanna Karystiani.

The documentary focuses on doctors and staff at the Metaxa cancer Hospital who themselves have cancer. It observes this special group of patients as they continue to work at the hospital. It traces their journey from the shock of learning they have cancer to the experience of “learning to listen to time.” Along the way, their illness will change from a threat of death to a teacher of life, adding years to their lives but also adding life to their years.

Milonogianni 120, Chania (2011)

“In 1981 I started working with Nikos on this job. 30 years have passed so fast. I really enjoy socializing here with people, and having fun together. We didn’t make money, but it was beautiful”. Nikos and Thodoris have a repair shop for Vespas in Chania, Crete. Just before their retirement, with grease and bearings on their hands, they host us in their daily lives.

There Was No Other Way (2009)

Even after the Civil War had ended in the rest of Greece, a small rump of the Democratic Army, six men and two women, remained in hiding for 14 years in Chania, Crete, where they continued to take part in illegal political activity. In 1962, six of the former partisans escaped, via Italy, to Tashkent. The documentary focuses on the three who are still living.

The film reveals the “miraculous” endurance of the broken remnants of the Democratic Army and the self-sacrifice of the ordinary people who hid them. It shows that the main protagonists and the unsung heroes of this story are equally exceptional, embodying not just ideology, but a deep dedication to mankind and human dignity.

The Man Who Disturbed the Universe (2000)

The Chania Mental Institution [Crete]. A group of mental patients is our host at the “Citizen’s Assembly”, the place they meet and deal daily – where some ask for money and others ask for speech. Another group of former chronic patients, now out of the Mental Institution, goes through the painful process of social rehabilitation and dares to embark upon a trip to Denmark.

Through the parallel parlance of the two groups the film attempts to listen to the utterance of madness, in its chaotic delirium. It tries to observe man’s dramatic clash with madness, in the deepest despair and total uncertainty regarding every aspect of the being it encompasses.

The 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival takes place from Thursday, March 2, until Sunday, March 12.



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