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Award Winners “Little England” & “Xenia” Bookend the Ninth Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

Award Winners “Little England” & “Xenia” Bookend the Ninth Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

As critics and audiences rave about acclaimed Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos English-language debut “The Lobster,” Los Angeles gets ready to received some of the best Greek films of the past year including an unprecedented programming move that will have the 2014 and 2015 winners of the Hellenic Film Academy Best Film Award bookend the ninth annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.

The almost decade-old festival opens Wednesday, June 3, with Pantelis Voulgaris’ award-winning period drama “Little England.” Panos H.Koutras’ wry and emotional road trip and this year’s Hellenic Film Academy Award winner “Xenia” will conclude the

Festival’s five days of screenings, red carpet events, receptions and industry panels at the Closing Night Gala on Sunday June 7, at the Egyptian Theater in
Hollywood.

This year’s LAGFF welcomes a record 35 features, documentaries and short films to the program, including three World premieres, 14 U.S premieres and 10 Los Angeles premieres. Alongside Greece, countries represented in this year’s festival include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Israel, Germany, Qatar, United Kingdom and the United States.

“Our program, more than ever before, is an exciting amalgamation of social, satirical and political statements from a rejuvenated Greek film industry”, states Festival topper Aristotle Katopodis. “While the economic and social crisis in Greece, and Southern European region, continues to hold Greece and the world markets in limbo, the Greek filmmakers are responding with what one could call “Through The Lens Darkly” to paraphrase the title of Philip K. Dick’s novel. Neo- noir and classic noir films are taking hold as a favorite genre, we have at least four such offerings in this festival. The hope is there, but you need to work through layers of reflection, self-evaluation and breath-taking images. Remembering, contemplating, and creating take center stage.”

Winner of 2014 Hellenic Film Academy’s awards – Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Scenography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Make-up, Pantelis Voulgaris’ drama “Little England ” is a turbulent tale of a secret love shared between two sisters and one man, set in the seafaring community of Andros, Greece, during the 1930’s. Suppressed feelings are later rekindled and cruel games of fate reveal secrets, leading to devastation.

Red Carpet Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, June 3. The Opening Night event also includes an exquisite Greek wine tasting, a dinner reception, dj music and dancing outside under the stars.

Earth Friendly Products and G.P. Kolovos and Associates will co-present the Opening Night gala with West Coast Investors presenting the Opening Night after-party.

Hot off winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Costume Design at the 2015 Hellenic Film Academy Awards, Panos H. Koutras’ poignant drama “Xenia” will cap the Closing Night Gala on Sunday, June 7. “Xenia” takes up the story of two brothers after the death of their mother and follows their odyssey from Athens to Thessaloniki in search of the father they never met.

The Closing Night Gala includes the festival Orpheus Awards with special honors, as well as Jury and Audience Awards and dinner reception. Hostess Brands will present the Closing Night gala.

LAGFF 2015 will offer more Premieres than ever before. Films making their American debuts include Athanasios Karanikolas melodramatic feature “At Home” (Sto Spiti), winner of the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Forum. “Home” follows the decline of a domestic servant’s status within the family she works for as the economic crisis takes center stage in all their lives; Yorgos Avgeropoulos’ documentary “Agora,” which contrasts the center of the city’s transformation from heart of democracy to modern day commercialism; Australian filmmakers Carol Gordon & Natalie Cunningham’s documentary “Following Shira’s Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey, “the untold story of the Greek Holocaust. History records an 87% loss of Greece’s Jewish population as a result of the Nazi atrocities of the Second World War, and yet the experiences of these once dynamic communities are not widely known; “Medea:Louder Than My Thoughts” (Medea: Kreisson Ton Emon Vouleumaton) – Nikos Grammatikos’ documentary exploring the mystical meaning within the pages of the Euripides play; Yannis Vamvakas documentary “Panayiotis Tetsis: Playing With Colors” explores the life and work of a patrician artist, Panagiotis Tetsis, who marked contemporary Greek painting of the 20th Century.

Alexis Alexiou‘s explosive neo-noir film, “Wednesday 04:45“ (TETARTI 04:45), is this year’s evening Centerpiece Premiere selection and will screen on Saturday, June 6. “Wednesday” follows 32 hours in the life of Stelios Dimitrakopoulos, a small time night-club owner in Athens, who struggles to salvage his bankrupt business from loan-sharks, while the city and the whole country go up in flames. The screening marks the film’s West Coast premiere.Alexiou and the film’s producer Thanassis Karathanos will be on hand after the screening for a Q&A.

Other Premieres include Canadian Filmmaker George Tsioutsioulas’ documentary “A Night in Athens.”
starring world renowned funnyman Angelo Tsarouchas. Shot
in Athens Greece before a sold-out audience “Athens” takes you on a
hilarious ride as Tsarouchas shares many of the challenges he faced
growing up Greek in
the diaspora; U.S. writer/directors Andreas Ignatiou, Josh Maddox’s
“Narcissa”, a short film offering a modern take on the Greek myth of
Narcissus set in
the fashion industry; and U.S. director Jon L. Milano’s drama “Straw
Dolls” takes a look at the Armenian genocide through the lens of a
father desperately
trying to protect his daughter from the deportation being forced
upon them by Turkish soldiers.

As the third annual International Project Discovery Forum (IPDF) continues to strengthen its relationships with established institutions in the US and Greece, such as the Sundance Institute and the MFI Script2Film Workshop, it is pleased to announce its newest outreach collaborators in the Balkan Region – Sofia Meetings, Thessaloniki IFF’s Crossroads, Torino Script&Pitch.

“IPDF received a record number of submissions this year from 7 different Balkan countries and the US. The quality of the projects that we receive increases every year, making our selection process really difficult and really exciting! We can’t wait to share their stories and introduce you to our bold, inspiring filmmakers. This year, IPDF will also present a series of industry events that will be open to the public where seasoned professionals will share their insights on independent filmmaking, new platforms and international distribution. ”IPDF’s director Araceli Lemos adds.

For a complete list of films, screening times and more about the IPDF visit http://lagff.org

The Box Office for LAGFF is now open for Gold Pass Membership purchases online at http://www.itsmyseat.com/LAGFF.html through June 4.

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