Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
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The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, ranking among the best documentary film festivals of the European circuit, takes place every March in Thessaloniki and is affiliated with the International Thessaloniki Film Festival. TDF celebrates the art of documentary via a rich program of films, events and initiatives, attracting more than 80.000 spectators and visitors during its 10-day edition. It is organized by the Thessaloniki Film Festival (cultural institution).
The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival was founded in March 1999 by Dimitri Eipides, who was its director until March 2016. From May 2016 the artistic director of TDF is Orestis Andreadakis.
The goal of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is to present the images of "social, historical, political and, above all, human reality of the new century, which act as a springboard for cinematic journeys, as well as to inform and motivate the audience about crucial issues that require its critical and active participation . "
The first edition of the festival welcomed a prestigious international advisory committee consisting of prominent representatives of the global cinema scene, such as Chantal Ackerman, Judith Elek, Marceline Loridan-Ivens, Johan van der Keuken, Robert Kramer, Michel Negreponte, Alexandr Sokurov, Frederick Wiseman, D.A. Pennebaker, etc.
Since its 19th edition (March 3-12, 2017), the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival becomes of competitive character and presents an International Competition section. In addition, since March 2018 (20th edition) the TDF hosts a VR / Virtual Reality films competition section.
Since 2018, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is included in the Oscar Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival List selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, among 28 leading festivals around the world. Through this initiative the documentary feature film that wins TDF’s Golden Alexander Best Documentary – International Competition award is automatically eligible to submit for Oscar consideration in the Documentary Feature category.
The segments of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival are the following: • International Competition section, presenting the first or second films of documentary filmmakers from all over the world.
• VR / Virtual Reality films competition section. • “Human Condition” with documentaries that unfold human stories from all over the world.
• “Human Rights" with documentaries that focus on the contemporary situation of human rights around the globe.
• “Memory / History” presenting documentaries which highlight landmark moments of the past and their impact today.
• “Everything is Politics” with films that delve into political issues in different parts of the world.
• “Habitat”, with documentaries concerning environment and ecology.
• “Food Vs. Food” with films that highlight the various aspects of food in captivating stories.
• “Music”, “Cinema”, “Art” with documentaries that become inspired by various artists and art forms.
• “Platform”, “Screen to Screen” with a wide selection of Greek documentaries of recent production and doc offerings that transit from the small to the big screen.
• “Film Forward” presenting radical films that challenge the form limits of documentary art.
• “Docs for Kids” with the best documentary offerings for children and adolescents.
In addition, each festival edition presents tributes to Greek and foreign filmmakers with significant work in the documentary field, as well as to documentaries from different countries. Inter alia, the festival has presented tributes to Werner Herzog, Bruce Weber, Monika Treut, Joris Ivens, Johan van der Keuken, David & Albert Maysles, Pirjo Honkasalo, Stefan Jarl and Kim Longinotto.
The program of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival also includes parallel events such as round table discussions, conferences, masterclasses, exhibitions, concerts and parties.
The Doc Market, an important part of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, "began as a Balkan documentary market which hosted buyers and films from the Balkans, but has now been established as a place where filmmakers from around the world meet representatives of television stations (mostly European, but also American and Asian), with the purpose to promote and sell their films . "
The important collaboration of the TDF with the European Documentary Network (EDN) includes activities such as the EDN Docs in Thessaloniki - Pitching Forum, launched in 2001, that helps Greek and foreign filmmakers to present their work to film professionals, but also to inform and educate themselves by distinguished experts of the documentary field.
The TDF awards are:
• International Competition: Ten films of over 50 minutes in length compete for the Golden Alexander and the Special Jury Award. The Golden Alexander award is accompanied by a €8,000 cash prize. Τhe Special Jury Award is accompanied by a €2,000 cash prize.
• VR Competition section: Best Film Award accompanied with a 3,000 euro cash prize, sponsored by the Greek Film Center.
• The FIPRESCI Awards: one to the Best Documentary of the International Competition Program and one to a Greek film that participates in the International Program.
• Agora Docs in Progress award that amounts to €3,000sponsored by the Greek Film Centre
• “Human Values Award” of the Hellenic Parliament to an International Competition section film.
• Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation Awards: €3,000 award to the Greek film (over 50 min.) that will receive the Fischer audience award and €2,000 award to the film that will receive the Doc on Air Award.
• WWF Greece Award to a film from the “Habitat” segment
• Amnesty International Award to a Film from the “Human Rights” segment
• Fischer Audience Awards: Two Audience Awards for films over 50 minutes in length (one Greek and one foreign - Peter Wintonick award) and two Audience Awards for films under 50 minutes in length (one Greek and one foreign).
• Youth Jury Awards by the Students of the Thessaloniki Universities: Best Film Award and Special Jury Award.
• The Mermaid Award to a LBTQI-themed documentary.
• WIFT GR Award: presented by the Greek Chapter of WIFT (Women in Film & Television) to a woman filmmaker of a film selected for the official program of the TDF.
• Greek Association of Film Critics Award (PEKK) to a film the Best Greek Film that is screened in TDF’s official selection.