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THESSALONIKI DOCUMENTARY 2024 Agora / Awards

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s Agora announces its winners

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- The industry section of the Greek gathering has handed out 16 awards to projects at various stages of development, while over 400 professionals attended the event this year

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival’s Agora announces its winners
The team behind If These Stones Could Talk with their IEFTA Award for Best Documentary in Development

The winners of the 26th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival’s (TiDF’s) Agora were unveiled on 13 March. Utilising a plethora of tools and cutting-edge technologies, Agora delivered a diverse array of activities and provided robust backing to promising ventures, both in physical venues and across online platforms. With the participation of over 400 individuals from around the globe, this edition of Agora marked another triumphant achievement.

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In the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, the co-production and co-financing platform of the TiDF intended for creative and TV documentaries, the international jury consisted of producer Mario Adamson (Sisyfos Films, Sweden), Sophie Duncan (Marketplace and Talent Programmes producer at Sheffield DocFest) and sales agent Suzanne Nodale (Cinephil, Israel). They picked If These Stones Could Talk, directed by Hana Elias and produced by Asmahan Bkerat, as the winner of the €10,000 IEFTA Award for Best Documentary in Development. The jury stated, “Finding home, discovering where you belong and what that means to you are fundamental human needs. By tending to your homeland, you in turn nurture family and the right to your home. With warmth and authenticity, this project portrays a family’s relationship with both each other and their land in an intimate way.”

Greek directors Nina-Maria Paschalidou and Maria Louka’s Survivors, which is being produced by Mina Dreki and Iro Aidoni (Marni Films), received the €2,000 ERT – Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award, intended for a Greek project in the selection, as it “cleverly weaves together the stories of four women who are breaking the silence and joining forces to heal and overcome their trauma due to abuse and gender-based violence”.

The Eurodoc Award, comprising €1,000 along with a VIP membership, and the DAE (Documentary Association of Europe) Award, offering consultations and a free DAE membership, were granted to the project Mountain Cries by Lavinia Xausa, which “affords us an insight into a very personal journey. This project reflects on the necessity of breaking isolation and sharing grief as a way to heal from the past.” Cypriot filmmaker Stephanie Andreou’s Women Walk Home received the Aylon Productions Digital Services Award, consisting of an hour’s worth of high-quality digital transfer of archival material.

The Beldocs Networking Award went to Lake by Greek helmer Nikos Ziogas, and the project also received the Sunny Side of the Doc Award, offering two accreditations and €500 towards travel expenses. The Mediterranean Film Institute Doc Award, which consists of free participation in the 2024 edition of the MFI Doc Lab, went to Why the F*** Am I So Sad? by Nela Märki, while the DOK Leipzig Accelerator Award, which offers two Observer badges and accommodation, went to Kafka in Belgrade by Serbia’s Maša Nešković.

In the Docs in Progress section, the jury comprised Hanne Biermann (festivals and marketing manager at Film Harbour), Pierre-Alexis Chevit (head of Cannes Docs at the Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film) and Kumjana Novakova (filmmaker and film curator at Pravo Ljudski and Medea). They bestowed the 119 Marvila Studios Award (for sound mixing services) upon Don’t Worry Sari! by Sari Haragonics, for “the director’s sensitivity in taking on a filmic, therapeutic task with her own family members, using heartfelt images from then and now”. The 2|35 Post-Production Main Award went to the project Mailin by María Silvia Esteve, for “its courage to cinematically engage with and uncover one of the most difficult, and historically and socially still neglected, issues – the sexual abuse of women and girls”.

The Greek Film Centre Award, endowed with €3,000, went to The Secrets of the Owl by Eirini Vourloumis, for “the complexity of the approach in the way the mental landscapes of the characters transform into the cartography of a city”. Meanwhile, the Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award was granted to Happy You’re Here by Lucas Habte.

In the Agora Lab strand, the newly introduced Crew United Prize, a five-year premium subscription to the Crew United platform, was given to Smaro Papaevangelou, who presented her project My Daughter. The Guidance Award from Paradiddle Pictures, providing advice on distribution, festivals, outreach and impact, was bestowed upon Exile(s) by Giorgos Iliopoulos.

Finally, the Onassis Film Award, which comes with a cash prize of €5,000, aiming to support the Greek industry, was given to Dark Waters by Marianna Economou, which was part of Thessaloniki Docs in Progress, and which is being produced by Rea Apostolides (Anemon Productions) and co-produced by Paul Cadieux (Megafun Productions). It was described as a “descent into the depths of modern Greece, the contradictions of the human experience, the environmental crisis and the moral dilemmas of our reality”.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Thessaloniki Pitching Forum awards

IEFTA Award for Best Documentary in Development
If These Stones Could Talk - Hana Elias (Palestine)
Producer: Asmahan Bkerat

ERT – Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award
Survivors - Nina-Maria Paschalidou, Maria Louka (Greece)
Producers: Mina Dreki, Iro Aidoni (Marni Films)

Eurodoc Award
Mountain Cries - Lavinia Xausa (Netherlands)
Producer: Sam Godfried (Yalla Docs)

DAE (Documentary Association of Europe) Award
Mountain Cries - Lavinia Xausa

Aylon Productions Digital Award
Women Walk Home - Stephanie Andreou (Cyprus)
Producer: Adrián Gutiérrez (Astarte Films)

Beldocs Networking Award
Lake - Nikos Ziogas (Greece)
Producers: Konstantina Stavrianou, Rena Vougioukalou (Graal Films), Antigoni Papantoni (rawDOCS)

MFI Doc Lab Script 2 Film Workshop Award
Why the F*** Am I So Sad? - Nela Märki (Italy)
Producer: Martin Rattini (Helios Sustainable Films)

DOK Leipzig Accelerator Award
Kafka in Belgrade - Maša Nešković (Serbia) – in collaboration with CIRCLE Doc Women Accelerator
Producers: Maja Medić, Ena Bajraktarević (Marienbad film)

Sunny Side of the Doc Award
Lake - Nikos Ziogas

Docs in Progress awards

119 Marvila Studios Award
Don’t Worry Sari! - Sari Haragonics (Hungary/Bulgaria)
Producers: Sára László, Inez Mátis, Marcell Gero (Campfilm Ltd)
Co-producer: Boris Despodov (Arthouse Blockbusters)

2|35 Post-production Award
Mailin - María Silvia Esteve (Argentina/France/Romania)
Producer: María Silvia Esteve (HANA Films)
Co-producers: Alejandra López (IKKI Films), Radu Stancu, Cristina Haneș (deFilm)

Greek Film Centre Award
The Secrets of the Owl - Eirini Vourloumis (Greece)
Producer: Leonidas Liambeys (Long Run Productions)
Co-producer: Eirini Vourloumis (Boulis Films)

Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award
Happy You’re Here - Lucas Habte (France/USA/Puerto Rico/Ethiopia)
Producer: Isidore Bethel (Alice Films)
Co-producers: Lucas Habte, Juan Carlos Malavé

Agora Lab awards

Crew United Prize
My Daughter - Smaro Papaevangelou (Greece)
Producers: Mina Dreki, Iro Aidoni (Marni Films)

Guidance Award
Exile(s) - Giorgos Iliopoulos (Greece)
Producer: Giorgos Iliopoulos
Co-producer: Sofia Exarchou

Onassis Film Award
Dark Waters - Marianna Economou (Greece/Canada)
Producer: Rea Apostolides (Anemon Productions)
Co-producer: Paul Cadieux (Megafun Productions)

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