London Greek Film Festival and Cosmocinema Festival 2019

Hello you lovely people! Are you doing well? As promised, my blog post will appear on time on your wall/reader and with no fanfare! This was a much slower week, and I am not really sure that I like it, especially after the wonderful chaos that was last week. I started eating dinner again, had time to do some packing (I cannot believe that I am moving in a week’s time!); in general I had more time for me. However, don’t get me wrong; I loved the previous week as I was volunteering for the London Greek Film Festival 2019. As I have said before plenty of times, I don’t consider volunteering for this film festival a “job”. I think of it as an event that allows me to reconnect with old friends, plus watch the odd film anytime I want!

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Running its 12th consecutive year, the London Greek Film Festival is ideal if you want to see what’s happening in Greece cinematically. There’s also the added opportunity to watch films from all over the world, for example the States, Australia and the rest of Europe. I still remember watching Katherine of Alexandria two years ago, with Samantha Beckinsale and the late Peter O’ Toole and meeting the director himself. An amazing experience that I dare anyone to say that they have done the same! So you can imagine that I am not happy that the time came to end it again! I am still counting the days for the next one next year!

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This time was my 5th year volunteering there and I am able to say how excited I was to be a (albeit small) part of it. I even joked about it with the director and friends and said that I should have probably brought a cake to celebrate this incredible milestone! That’s okay though; we can do something for next year, haha! Just to give you an example of my excitement, I left Reading around 3 in the afternoon on the Sunday, in order to reach Mornington Crescent and Theatro Technis on time by six, when other times I don’t want to leave, even if it’s 8 in the evening! Obviously though the festival is only once every year, whereas Reading and London are here every week!

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The festival week started slow; first it was the Cosmocinema festival and from Wednesday onwards, it was time for the actual London Greek Film Festival. You could see though that it was the London Greek Film Festival that is the reason people descend to Mornington Crescent! Even if I stayed at the box office and didn’t get inside to watch any film, I could see that people flocked to the London Greek Film Festival. And why not? We had a lot of interesting films (feature and short ones) this year, some very nice documentaries, historic and philosophical alike, which was reflected at the awards, which I am going to talk to you soon! The quality of them was excellent, if the feedback we received was anything to go by. It is always nice to hear what people think of your work (and here I mean the director’s – Christos’ – work), and especially people who are plain cinemagoers and cinefiles.

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This year the diversity of the films that were screened shows a lot at the actual awards, where you could see an LGBTQI+ film, a documentary about Cyprus and a film about a Greek family in Florida all winning. “Poised” the film, the documentary “Traces” and the feature film “Epiphany” were the stars of this year’s festival in my opinion, and show exactly about the diversity of the festival itself and of the awards. Regarding the awards, I was very excited to prepare the awards, even if that meant I had to do some last minute work for them to be ready by 9 in the evening on Saturday.

The ceremony itself was short and to the point. Proper thanks were given to Christos for his tireless dedication to the festival, the ambassador of the Greek Embassy here in London, the people of Theatro Technis (and Aris in particular) and finally us volunteers. Of course I had to present a couple of awards, because as the presenter told the audience I had asked in particular for that! What a lie, haha! The best part of the Odysseus Awards was after the ceremony ended, when I got back to my friend and boyfriend who were watching the ceremony and heard about their feedback. Oh and don’t forget about all the photos we had taken! It was awesome! All the volunteers together, having fun and sharing smiles! This is what matters in the end!

I don’t know what more to say to show you that the experience of attending the London Greek Film Festival is unique to me in the sense that I have a combination of feelings about it. Anticipation of the films I’d like to watch and of the people I will meet, happiness at seeing old friends and finally pride at doing something and being involved with something that overcomes the boundaries of the Greek film industry and instead has an international footprint!

Till next time,

Sofia-Maria

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