Country Focus: Greece
Greek Film Center acquires new leadership
by Joseph Proimakis
- Following Monday’s request for the Greek Film Center (GFC) board members to step down (see news), Deputy Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis has announced the make-up of the institution’s new governing team, headed by former Eurimages representative Alexis Grivas.
Having worked as a director of photography and served as a long-time advisor to the Berlinale and Guadalajara Festivals, as well as being a Screen International correspondent, Grivas headed the foreign press office of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival until 2011, when he retired. He was subsequently appointed by then GFC director Grigoris Karantinakis as the institution’s Eurimages representative, a post he maintained until his recent dismissal by the outgoing GFC board.
Grivas’ post at Thessaloniki secured him a state pension, which he retained during his tenure as Eurimages rep by not signing on as an official GFC employee, notes former GFC board member Yiannis Glezos in a lengthy statement released to the media on Thursday, prior to Xydakis’ announcements. Though officially unpaid, Grivas’ work was not without cost, Glezos’ letter states, adding that the GFC was charged over €26,000 per year for general expenses throughout Grivas’ tenure.
The irregular compensation received by Grivas came to light only recently, when chartered accountants went through the institution’s financial records for 2012-13. This swiftly compelled the GFC’s former board to strip Grivas of his position, Glezos concludes, which partially explains the widespread upheaval caused in local guilds by Xydakis’ decision to appoint Grivas as the new head of the GFC.
Filled by director Eva Stefani as vice-president along with actress Olia Lazaridou, DoP Yiannis Daskalothanasis, publisher Kostas Livieratos, film critic Kostas Terzis and editor Yorgos Mavropsaridis (the only former board member to be carried over to its new composition), the remainder of the board positions provoked further tension among guild reps. This is because, while they may be established industry figures, Xydakis’ choices stand out as representing a departure from newly elected governing party SYRIZA’s pre-election proclamations of a more guild-friendly approach to the industry.