(Los Angeles, CA June 6 ) – The 10th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival came to a close Sunday, June 5 with a screening and N. American Premiere of “Worlds Apart” and the starstudded Orpheus Awards produced by Dorothea Paschalidou and directed by Yorgos Karamihos and hosted by Mena Suvari.
In his opening remarks, Festival creative topper Aris Katopodisremarked “This 10th LAGFF is almost history, but it is also one that made history.Most films than ever, 56, most filmmakers present, 58, most North American Premieres 24, largest attendance and the belief that the future LAGFF will continue to shine, full of hope for Greek film, filmmakers and Greek culture, here in Los Angeles.”
The sold out Egyptian theatre was peppered throughout with 40 students from the Stella Adler Acting Academy dressed to honor the various eras since cinema began.
Katopodis introduced festival cofounders Ersi Danouand Angeliki Giannakopoulos. Danou thanked the many professionals including Executive Producer Alex Kalognomos and coproducer Eleni Arvaniti, the 50 volunteers and sponsors who have grown the festival to one of the premier summer events in Los Angeles. Giannakopoulos spoke to the filmmakers and the fact that when they conceived the idea for LAGFF all the festival directors in town told them they would not last four years emphasizing how wrong they were.
Kelly VlahakisHanks took the stage to give out the night’s first Jury prize the Van Vlahakis Short Film Awardto Alexander Swart’s “Stagnation.”
LAGFF’s director of development Paschalidou thanked all the sponsors for making the 10th special. She then gave out the second Jury Prize – Best Documentary to Evangelia Kranioti’s “Exotica, Erotica, Etc.”with a special mention going to Loukas Stamellos ‘ “Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair”.
Anastas Michos ASC, juror, on behalf of all the jury, gave the Best Fiction Feature Orpheus honors to Panos Karkanevatos’ “Riverbanks.”
Next up, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” star Louis Mandylorannounced the final Jury Prize for Best Performance to actress Maria Kavogiannifor her portrayal of the older love interest to J.K. Simmons in “Worlds Apart.”
The Orpheus for Audience Choicewas then awarded to Christopher Papakaliatis for his touching triptych to love affairs and closing night film “Worlds Apart.”
The International Project Discovery Awards were handed out by IPDF alumnus Paolo Marinou Blancowith honors and scholarship going to Turkishborn Nazli Elif Durlufor her project “Zuhal.” An honorable mention went to Haris Raftogiannisfor his pitch “The River”.
HBO/Cinemax’s Kary Antholisintroduced the first honoree of the evening 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO Jim Gianopulos.
Papakaliatis then presented his film’s star J.K. Simmons, recipient of the night’s second honorary Orpheus.
The Orpheus Awards concluded five days of screenings and master classes and events for the patrons and participants of the festival. The fest began with raves from the crowd for the North American premiere of Tassos Boulmetis bittersweet “Mythopathy” introduced with a live performance by worldrenowned singing sensation Alexia Vassiliou accompanied by guitarist George Karpasitis. The opening night party which kicked off the five days of screenings, master classes, and culinary events was DJ’d by KCRW’s Chris Douridas.
HONORARY ORPHEUS AWARDS
- Jim Gianopulos, Chairman & CEO 20th Century Fox
- Academy Award ® Winner J.K. Simmons
- “Worlds Apart”
- Best Fiction Feature Film: “Riverbanks”
- Best Documentary Film: “Exotica, Erotica, Etc.”
- Best Documentary Film – Honorable Mention:
- “Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair”
- Best Short Fiction Film – Van Vlahakis Award: “Stagnation”
- Best Performance Award: Maria Kavogianni (“Worlds Apart”)
FOURTH INTERNATIONAL PROJECT DISCOVERY AWARDS
- MFI Scholarship and Aegean Award Nazli Elif Durlu for “Zuhal”
- Honorable Mention Harris Raftogiannis for “The River”