The 49th International Thessaloniki Film Festival kicked off Friday, November 18, in Athens, Greece. This year, 254 films will screen during this 10-day event, which closes November 27. The opening night film was "Hell," directed by Danis Tanovic ("No Man's Land") about three sisters (Emmanuelle Beart, Karin Viard and Marie Gillain) who confront a troubling episode from their childhood. "Hell" is the second part of a trilogy written by filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski ("Blue," "White" and "Red") before he passed away.
Other films that will screen at the festival include "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones as a man who sets out to fulfill a promise he made to bury his best friend in his hometown in Mexico. The movie will be the opening film of the festival's Mexican Homage program.
Directors Michael Winterbottom, ("9 Songs"), Patrice Chereau ("Intimacy") and Hou Hsiao-hsien ("Cafe Lumiere") will attend Thessaloniki and be the subject of retrospectives. The trio are also scheduled to teach master classes and will be the recipients of Golden Alexanders in honor of their work. Among the American contingent attending the festival are Miranda July ("Me and You and Everyone We Know"), Andrew Bujalski ("Mutual Appreciattion"), Georgina Riedel ("How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer"), Mark and Jay Duplass ("Puffy Chair"), Robinson Devor ("Police Beat") as well as Bradley Beesley ("Fearless Freaks").
"All the Invisible Children," which will screen closing night, consists of seven segments shot by eight different directors. Each segement, set in a different part of the world, focuses on the difficulties facing children. John Woo's "Song Song and Little Cat," is about two girls growing up in opposite circumstances in China, while Spike Lee's "Jesus Children of America," focuses on a teenage girl who discovers she was born HIV positive. Jordan Scott and Ridley Scott's "Jonathan," meanwhile, is about a weary photojournalist who regresses into childhood.
[For more information about the festival's various programs, retrospectives and special events, visit their website.]