Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF.org) Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF.org) rolls out the red carpet to celebrate its tenth anniversary June 1 – 5, 2016 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The lively festival will showcase more films, Q&A’s and festivities than ever before.   A brand new Gastronomical Sidebar complete with cuisine themed entertainment and top chef cooking demonstration with tasting, plus panel  with Greek Chef, Marisa Churchill mirrors the Athens International Culinary Film Festival (AICFF) celebration.untitled

This year’s offerings boast films from Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, UK, Greece, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. representing 15 narratives, 9 documentaries, and 31 short films. LAGFF will introduce four World premieres, 25 North American premieres, and 13 Los Angeles premieres to the Hollywood audience. 42 films will vie for LAGFF’s coveted “Audience Choice” Orpheus Award.

Remarking on this special anniversary, co-founder Ersi Danou noted, “For a decade now, we have brought new Greek Cinema to Los Angeles. Greece has seen the burgeoning of a new generation of filmmakers who are willing to step out of the box and approach their audience in bold ways. LAGFF is a chance for Los Angelenos to experience Greek cinema, and our filmmakers benefit from the bridging effect between Greece, the Balkans, and Hollywood.”

On Thursday June 2 and Saturday, June 4, LAGFF proudly hosts  films of the Athens International Culinary Film Festival (AICFF.ORG). The Gastronomical sidebar will offer savory treats like the moving yet joyful coming of age documentary from director Angelos Abatzoglou’s “Mustafa’s Sweet Dreams”; Taso Boulmetis award-winning relationship drama “A Touch of Spice” starring George Corraface as a forty-year-old chef who returns to Istanbul after years of exile.
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Award-winning chef,  Marisa Churchill, drove down from San Francisco to honor the festival.  She prepared a summer dish, her version of strawberry shortcake with pistachio and white chocolate for a cooking demonstration and sampling in the Egyptian courtyard for all in attendance.

IMG_8216IMG_8219480Other festival highlights include the Opening Night North American premiere of Tassos Boulmetis’ bittersweet comedy “Mythopathy “(Notias) on Wednesday, June 1. The story is set during the 1970s military junta in Greece and follows a young boy, Stavros, as he copes with the ever changing social and political climate by reinventing established Greek myths and creating his own versions. This is the third feature from the award-winning “Touch of Spice” director. “Mythopathy” stars Hellenic Academy award- winners Themis Panou (“Miss Violence”), Maria Kallimani (“Sto Spiti”) and introduces Giannis Niaros in his first feature starring role among others. Tasos Boulmetis, a former UCLA assistant professor and film school Alum, will be in attendance.

Sunday’s Closing Night film will be Christopher Papakaliatis’ “Worlds Apart” in its debut outside of Greece. The film stars Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons. “Worlds Apart” is the highest grossing Greek film since 2009, notably surpassing box office numbers in Greece for the long-awaited 2015 blockbusters “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Spectre”. “Worlds Apart” fosters three separate narratives each following a love story between a foreigner and a Greek. Each story represents a different generation falling in love during a time of socioeconomic turmoil that dominates Southern Europe as a whole, only to connect with a single story in the end. Christopher Papakaliatis and J.K. Simmons will be present for their film’s North American premiere.

Following the screening is the star-studded Orpheus Awards Ceremony and the closing night party including wine, food, and entertainment under the Hollywood stars. J.K. Simmons will receive the 2016 Orpheus at the ceremony hosted by “American Beauty” star Mena Suvari.

Thursday, June 2 LAGFF will have a special tribute to iconic Greek director Alexis Damianos with a screening of the all-time favorite masterpiece “Evdokia” in its original 35mm format. First released in 1971, this Greek/UK co-production is a love story between a prostitute (Evdokia) and a sergeant (Yorgos). The film features an original Manos Loizos’ Rembetico musical piece and stars the late Maria Vassilou (Chrysothemis) and Chris Zorbas (Silhouettes). In 2002, the Greek Film Critics Association voted Evdokia as one the 5 best Greek films of all time.

Thursday also offers writer/director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s critically acclaimed comedy “Chevalier”. Tsangari, who is attending this year’s festival, will also be conducting a Directing Master Class on Saturday, June 4 which is open to the public.

New this year, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Professor of Classics Katerina Zacharia instituted an Interdisciplinary Core course on “Representations of Greece: Ancient and Modern” with embedded student internships at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. The 16 LMU-LAGFF interns and Prof. Zacharia assisted in the selection of this year’s program. LAGFF designated an LMU Special Selection slot at 10 pm on Saturday, June 4th 2016, during which the LAGFF-LMU interns selected Angelos Frantzis modern fantasy drama “Symptom” and the short “Pet” by Christos Liakouris for their screening.

For the first time in Festival history, LAGFF is opening its screenings free of charge to all college students with a valid student ID. Discounted tickets to the Opening and Closing Night Galas for eligible students will also be offered.

“With two major North American premieres and possibly the best Greek film of all time, we are proud to kick off our 10th annual LAGFF. We are screening an unprecedented 55 films and enjoying the attendance of over 50 filmmakers, representing their films in the festival. This is a Festival to experience and remember,” states artistic director Aris Katopodis.

For a complete list of films and screening times visit http://lagff.org

The All-Access GOLD PASS is currently on sale. General admission tickets go on sale May 10th. For more information and press credentials, visit www.itsmyseat.com/LAGFF