25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival – Competition Sections: World premieres and a «ticket» to the Oscars – A total of 32 world, international and European film premieres take part

Featuring an impressive number of premieres, the competition sections of the 25th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival make a pledge to offer you the experiences of a lifetime. A total of 32 world, international and European film premieres take part in the International Competition, the Newcomers competition section and the >>Film Forward competition section. All competing documentaries are in the pole position for the 6 official awards, as well as for the 14 parallel awards, most of which are accompanied by cash prizes.

In addition, the International Competition Golden Alexander winner secures its place in the Oscars’ shortlist. Such was the case for Simon Lereng Wilmont’s A House Made of Splinters, last year’s Golden Alexander recipient that made it all the way and went on to be selected as one of the five nominees for the upcoming Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Questions of gender oppression and portraits of women emancipation. Testimonies and documents that delve into historical traumas and shattering events. Personal stories of human triumph and untamed will. Documentaries that send out an SOS for the environment and our planet. A recording of the violence and the discriminations imposed on any form of otherness. The 34 competition section documentaries, among which we find 9 Greek productions, take a stand on the most crucial issues of our times.

International Competition

The twelve films taking part in the International Competition have their eyes set on the Golden Alexander, accompanied by a cash prize of 12,000 euros, and the Silver Alexander, accompanied by a cash prize of 5,000 euros.

Here’s the lineup of the International Competition:

Beyond Revolution – Fighting for Democracy (international premiere) by Kristof Gerega reenacts the recent wounds of Ukrainian history, reaching all the way to the current drama of the Russian invasion.

General Hercules (international premiere) by Brodie Poole takes us to the Australian Outback, where a David vs. Goliath election battle dissects the corruption and the fallacies of an entire country.

I Like it Here (international premiere) by Ralph Arlyck recounts the people, the places and the events that left a mark on the director’s life, signing a nostalgic love letter for the irreversible passing of time.

Light Falls Vertical (international premiere) by Efthymia Zymvragaki, intertwining the story of a victimizer with the director’s personal traumatic experiences, maps out the painful pathways of domestic violence.

Mighty Afrin: In the Time of Floods (Greek entry) by Angelos Rallis tackles the issue of climate refugees, through the heart-wrenching story of a 12-year-old orphan girl from Bangladesh that seeks refuge and hope amidst a sinking world.

Narrow Path to Happiness (world premiere) by Kata Oláh permeates an insular Romani community in Hungary, making us part of a struggle for sexual emancipation and self-determination.

Queen of the Deuce (Greek entry) by Valerie Kontakos introduces us to Chelly Wilson, queen of the porno industry in the 70s New York and an unconventional feminist icon, unfolding her incredible story.

The Hill (international premiere) by Denis Gheerbrant and Lina Tsrimova takes us to the heart of a no man’s land in Kyrgyzstan, as the dark historical past is matched by an even duller and more precarious present.

The Last Seagull (world premiere) by Tonislav Hristov outlines the portrait of a professional male escort in a multilayered allegory on the Balkans and the contemporary world as a whole.

Under the Sky of Damascus (international premiere) by Heba Khaled, Talal Derki and Ali Wajeeh introduces us to a group of young women in Syria, who find a way-out in art to bring forth the sexual abuse they have long suffered.

Who I Am Not (world premiere) by Tünde Skovrán, through the mind-blowing story of an intersex beauty queen in South Africa, reminds us that our world and our lives cannot be contained within suffocating binary definitions.

Ζakros (Greek entry) by Filippos Koutsaftis wonders around the labyrinths of time and historical memory against the backdrop of an island corner bathed by sunlight and harnessed by the wild winds.


The Newcomers competition section showcases twelve debut or sophomore films of up-and-coming directors contending for the “Dimitri Eipides” Golden Alexander, featuring a cash prize of 10,000 euros, and the Silver Alexander, featuring a cash prize of 4,000 euros.

Here’s the lineup of the Newcomers competition section:

5 Seasons of Revolution (European premiere) by Lina is an honorary salute to combative and independent journalism, but also a diary of a group of friends’ lives, which take a drastic turn for the worse under the gloomy shadow of the war in Syria.

AKOE / AMFI: The Story of a Revolution (*Just to sleep on their chest…) (Greek entry) by Iossif Vardakis celebrates the story and legacy of AKOE and its magazine Amfi that would define the way LGBT Greeks think about themselves.

Coming Around (world premiere) by Sandra Itäinen records the steep journey of a queer young Muslim girl towards acceptance and visibility.

Domingo Domingo (world premiere) by Laura García Andreu unfolds a story of resistance and lust for life, where an everyday farmer stands up against the authority of multinational companies and cartels.

In The Sky of Nothingness with The Least (Greek entry) by Christos Andrianopoulos closely observes an elderly couple, crossing the uncharted territory of old age.

Is There Anybody Out There? (European premiere) by Ella Glendining lays out the violence and the discriminations experienced by the director, who share the same fate with countless mobility-impaired people.

Ladies in Waiting (Greek entry) by Ioanna Tsoucala touches upon the taboo of mental health, penetrating into the arcane corridors of the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica.

Leon (world premiere) by Wojciech Gostomczyk, where artistic creation, the passing of time and coping of loss blend in through the portrait of an aged performer who mourns over the death of his loved one, the famous fashion designer Thierry Mugler.

Red Herring (European premiere) by Kit Vincent gets us embarked on a family’s tender journey of reconciliation and self-revelation, triggered by an imminent loss.

The DNA of Dignity (international premiere) by Jan Baumgartner renders homage to the scientists and the researchers that strive to preserve the memory and the identity of the unburied victims of the Yugoslavian Wars.

The Voice (international premiere) by Dominika Montean-Pańków sneaks into an educational campus for young monks in Poland, posing a series of questions on the boundaries, the nature and the various versions of faith.

The Woman of Stars and Mountains (world premiere) by Santiago Esteinou unveils the prejudice and the discriminations experienced by women in Mexico, through the story of an indigenous woman who spent ten years in a psychiatric clinic.

Film Forward

Film Forward competition section, hosting movies that challenge conventions and utter a bold and daring cinematic language, offers the audience the chance to watch ten films competing for the >>Film Forward Golden Alexander, featuring a 6,000 euros cash prize, and the Silver Alexander, featuring a 3,000 euros cash prize.

Here’s the lineup of the >>Film Forward competition section:

A Common Sequence (international premiere) by Mary Helena Clark and Mike Gibisser explores the increasingly dim boundaries between the natural and the non-natural world within an ever-changing context.

Avaton (Greek entry) by Irini Karayannopoulou and Sandrine Cheyrol focuses on the rigid rules of Mount Athos that forbid access to women, establishing a kind of spiritual exclusion.

Blue Bag Life (European premiere) by Alex Fry, Rebecca Lloyd Evans and Lisa Selby revolves around a story of loss and abandonment to contemplate on the notion of motherhood and the harsh reality of addiction.

Dogwatch (Greek entry) by Gregoris Rentis sails in the waters near the Somali coastline, bringing forth an unknown world: the daily lives of the mercenaries hired to protect the ships from pirate assaults.

Herd (world premiere) by Michel Negroponte turns its glance to a herd of cows, as well as to a series of images that comment on our ties with Earth.

Inside My Heart (international premiere) by Saskia Boddeke unravels a touching story of human will, proving that the power of the heart often overcomes any obstacle set by the body and the mind.

Iron Butterflies (European premiere) by Roman Liubyi traces the onset of the Ukrainian drama, focusing on the airplane crash of flight 17 by Malaysia Airlines, in July 2014, shedding light on a – possibly – uninvestigated war crime.

Starring Jerry As Himself (international premiere) by Law Chen balances between fiction and documentation, as it lays out the story of the director’s father, who was recruited by the Chinese police as an undercover agent and went on to discover a dark truth.

Stoker (Greek entry) by Stelios Bouziotis, through nostalgic snapshots and home videos, brings a series of well-hidden family secrets in surface, addressing a letter of forgiveness and acceptance of loss.

The Sharpness of the Scissors (world premiere) by David Marcial Valverdi blends his personal experiences from the 90s Buenos Aires with a diary of his love companions.

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



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