Thessaloniki looks ahead with Docs in Progress
by Joseph Proimakis
- Twelve handpicked projects vying for funding and pre-sales attention were screened in the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s market section
Free seats were scarce at the cosy Pavlos Zannas theatre on Friday morning, as the highly attended unspooling of the Doc Market’s handpicked projects vying for funding and pre-sales attention proved once again to be one of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s most vital events for industry professionals.
Director-producer Mohamed Siam kicked off the event with his upcoming German-Egyptian co-produced Amal, a complementary piece to his debut documentary, Whose Country?, which will be screening at Sundance later this year. Juxtaposing the brutality of Tahrir Square with the harsh realities of the aftermath of 2012’s Egyptian Spring, Amal looks at Egypt through the eyes of the titular teenage girl, who is in search of the promised social change that is yet to come.
A few borderlines away, Eric Motjer’s Beirut: La Vie en Rose (Spain/Lebanon) takes a look at the Lebanese elite enjoying life as if they’ve just escaped from a cut reel of The Great Beauty [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile], impervious to the horrors of a war zone in constant eruption just a few blocks away.
In terms of films from north of the Mediterranean, Tonislav Hristov’s The Mayor of Nowhere (Finland/Bulgaria/Germany) reaches deep into Bulgarian suburbia in order to locate the absurd hilarity of small politics in the story of two competing mayors, while neighbouring Kosovo is home to one of three stories of unexpected solidarity between people of battling nations in the documentary Together Against All Odds (Kosovo/Cyprus/Israel).
The local scene was represented by Zacharias Mavroeidis’ Fifteen (Greece), a tale of local folklore brought to life; Akis Kersanidis and Chryssa Tzelepi’s In Situ (Greece), a study in improvisational musicians like Gianni Mimmo, Gunter “Baby” Sommer and Floros Floridis; and Angeliki Antoniou’s Straying in Athens (Greece/Germany), an alternative portrait of the Greek capital painted through the stories of its most prominent stray dogs.
All productions presented in the Docs in Progress section are contending for an award of €15,000 worth of services offered by post-production house 2/35.