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THESSALONIKI 2021 Agora

Thessaloniki’s Agora bolsters its schedule

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- The industry section of the 62nd edition of the festival will run both physically and on digital platforms and is introducing new initiatives

Thessaloniki’s Agora bolsters its schedule
TV presenter, actor and journalist Fotis Sergoulopoulos, who will act as this year's Agora ambassador

The 62nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival is scheduled to run from 4-14 November, and as every year, in parallel with the festival, the Agora industry section has announced its complete selection for this edition. The Agora will take place from 5-13 November, both physically at Thessaloniki's Festival Venue Warehouse C and online. Supported by Creative Europe – MEDIA, Agora is maintaining its focus on Southeast Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean Basin. This year, the Agora ambassador will be TV presenter, actor and journalist Fotis Sergoulopoulos, who will promote the section's events and goals.

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The Agora Video Library will be available through Cinando, and it will be accessible to accredited guests, offering them the chance to watch a selection of films from Agora and the festival's programme. At the 17th Crossroads Co-Production Forum, a total of 14 projects have been selected (see the news), while another highlight of Agora is the Works in Progress session, which will present 8 films currently in post-production (see the news). The Works in Progress and Crossroads Co-production Forum awards amount up to €200,000 in cash and in services.

For the third consecutive year, the Meet the Future section is being organised, an initiative that aims to showcase the future talents of the industry. For this edition, seven film editors from Greece will be featured, and all of them have worked on at least one feature film, and a short or feature film they have edited has participated in the competition section of Thessaloniki IFF or one of the major international festivals. The selection includes Thodoris Armaos, Stamos Dimitropoulos, Christos Giannakopoulos, Myrto Karra, Livia Neroutsopoulou, and Nikos Vavouris.

The other initiative for young professionals, the sixth edition of the Thessaloniki-Locarno Industry Academy (8-13 November), is set to welcome eight emerging professionals working in film promotion and distribution. The regional manager is Konstantinos Aivaliotis, and the participants are Clément Chautant (Indie Sales), Ismene Daskarolis (Pluto Film), Marina Lazarevska (CutAway, Cinesquare), Stavros Markoulakis (IFFR, Leiden Shorts), Erica Niebauer (Imprint Documentary Film Collective), Uğur Şahin (Nihova Films Distribution), Katerina Trichia (Drama ISFF), and Carolin Wenzel (Studiocanal GmbH).

Furthermore, the inaugural edition of the Agora Short Film Lab (9-12 November), is an initiative co-organised by the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and the Drama International Short Film Festival. It comprises of sessions, seminars and talks with experienced professionals about various parts of the industry. The Agora Short Film Lab will bring together directors of award-winning short films at the Clermont-Ferrand and Drama to facilitate their acclimatisation to the industry with an emphasis on the transition from short to feature filmmaking. The invited filmmakers are, from Drama International Short Film Festival, Manolis Mavris (Brutalia, Days of Labor), Nikos Tsemberopoulos (Soul Food), and Vangelio Soumeli (I Don’t Want to Forget Anything) and from Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Katarina Rešek (Sisters), Pat Heywood and Jamil McGinnis (Gramercy) and Pauline Penichout (Mat and Her Mates).

The European Women's Audiovisual Network's (EWA) mentoring programme will run online and is aimed at female film producers who already have relevant experience at the national level and wish to evolve further to incorporate a European and international dimension into their careers. This year the participants are Mina Dreki (Marni Films), Anaïs Bertrand (Insolence Productions), Ana Castañosa (9am Media Lab), Simona Pelliccioli (Dandy Projects), Manuela Buono (Slingshot films), Niam Fagan (Lunar Pictures), Magdalena Petrović (LEWA productions), and Mina Keshavarz (Mindoc Film Production).

Some of the highlights of the Agora Talks (6-12 November) include, “The importance of the regulatory framework of Copyright and Digital Services for the audiovisual production” and “Stop being a conformist. Discussing methods and tools on how to secure a safer workplace for everyone.” Both talks are supported by the National Centre of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME). Furthermore, the Film Office of Central Macedonia will present the projects that it has supported during this first year of its operation and the online panel “How can we facilitate the transformation of the film industry into a cinema worthy sustainability?” will focus on film production in a climate-neutral and sustainable way. The complete programme of the Agora Talks event will be announced soon.

In Agora Parallel Events, a Casting Directors Workshop will be held on 5 November, organised by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival and the Greek Film Centre, in collaboration with ICDN (International Casting Directors Network) and Ready2cast. Titled “Auditioning Steps at the International Market,” it will feature internationally renowned casting directors Nathalie Cheron (ARDA - Association des Responsables de Distribution Artistique) and Jeremy Zimmerman sharing their knowledge and experience with 10 Greek actors and actresses. Finally, the training day “How does a film office establish itself in the marketplace?” on 9 November is organised by the Hellenic Film Commission of the Greek Film Centre for the regional Film Offices in Greece in collaboration with the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) and with the support of the Athens Film Office.

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