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San Francisco Greek Film Festival: All the Winners and Virtual Events

San Francisco Greek Film Festival
San Francisco Greek Film Festival. Illustration: Greek Reporter

The San Francisco Greek Film Festival (SFGFF) wrapped its 18th annual event, which was presented April 16-25, 2021.

The Festival, held in mostly virtual platform, screened twelve narrative features, seven documentaries, and seven narrative shorts, by Greek and Cypriot filmmakers from around the world.

In an innovative offering to fans of the San Francisco Greek Film Festival, virtual events are scheduled to honor winners of awards from the 2021 Festival, as follows:

SFGFF 2021 ASTRON AWARD WINNERS EVENT

When: May 8, 2021 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada) – 21:00 Greece time

Topic: San Francisco Greek Film Festival Discussion with 2021 Astron Award Winners: Michael Kalopaidis/ The Parrot Lady; Argyris Liapis/ Athos; and Sonia Liza Kenterman/ Tailor

Register in advance for this webinar

SFGFF 2021 JURY AWARD WINNERS EVENT

When: May 15, 2021 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada) – 21:00 Greece time

Topic: San Francisco Greek Film Festival Discussion with 2021 Jury Award winners: Thelyia Petraki/ Bella; Dimitra Kouzi/ Passage to Europe; and Siamak Etemadi/ Pari

Register in advance for this webinar

San Francisco Greek Film Festival Awards

The SFGFF viewers for the 2021 online screenings responded to prompts to rate each film after each screening, allowing the overall favorites to be named in the audience favorite Astron Awards.

When the ratings were tallied, the Astron Award for narrative feature film was awarded to Tailor, directed by Sonia Liza Kenterman. The Astron Award for narrative short film was awarded to Parrot Lady, directed by Michael Kalopaidis. The Astron Award for documentary was awarded to Athos, The World’s Brightest Peak, directed by Argyris Liapis.

This year’s SFGFF featured the first Jury Awards for the event. The Best Narrative Short Jury Award winner is Bella, directed by Thelyia Petraki.

The jury, comprised of Jon Bastian, Allie Light, and Lansia Wann, stated, “This short film is a unique take on a singular POV narrative. Bella not only meshes found footage seamlessly with new, but as it progresses, it becomes more relatable. As it progresses, the emotional connection grows stronger. As it progresses, it reveals the ups and downs of someone’s life story. Then, in the end, even without sharing any commonalities to this person’s life, you strangely feel akin.”

This award comes with a monetary compensation of $500, graciously underwritten by Kleon Stephen Skourtis and Demetrios Skourtis in loving memory of their mother.

The 2021 Best Documentary Jury Award winner is Passage to Europe, directed by Dimitra Kouzi.

In the words of jury members babaLou, Karen Larsen, and Henry S. Rosenthal: “ Passage to Europe is an intimate portrait of Fotis Psycharis, whose passion for teaching is matched only by his compassion for his charismatic students. The filmmaker’s extraordinary access and skilled technique takes the viewer past the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding global refugees to open hearts and minds to the resilient children facing unimaginable hardship.”

This award comes with a monetary reward of $1000, graciously underwritten by Nick and Athena Arvanitidis.

The 2021 Best Narrative Feature Jury Award winner is Pari, directed by Siamak Etemadi.

Jury members Barry Caine, Kara Herold, and Ruthe Stein praised the drama as “a deeply moving film focusing on a dutiful Iranian mother’s love for her son and her unexpected journey to discover her own identity, apart from the ties of religious conviction. Artistically crafted, Pari offers emotional catharsis as it winds its way in unpredictable directions that pull at your heartstrings, leaving behind indelible images of a life irrevocably changed.”

This award comes with a monetary reward of $1000, graciously underwritten by Dr. Alex & Mrs. Deirdre Papalexopoulous.

The Narrative jury also gave on honorable mention to Tailor, directed by Sonia Liza Kenterman, saying, “we loved Tailor for its quirky charm, cinematic storytelling and meticulousness in making the isolated title character and his work fascinating and, with few brushstrokes, the secondary characters engaging. Successfully captures the humanity of its players and their evolution. Colorful, well-paced and well-acted; a creative blend of comedy and pathos.”

History of the Festival

Started in 2004, the San Francisco Greek Film Festival (SFGFF) is the first and longest-running Greek film festival in the U.S.

SFGFF is dedicated to recognizing, supporting, and promoting the best film work by Greek and Cypriot filmmakers from around the world.

With screenings of new, innovative, and highly acclaimed films and different events around the annual film Festival week, the SFGFF seeks to inspire, engage, and entertain its diverse audience.

Throughout its history, the Festival has also featured screenings of classic films. Through the powerful medium of film, the Festival sustains, elevates and promotes Greek culture, history and language in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

The SFGFF has showcased some of the most highly regarded Greek/Cypriot films produced over the past 18 years. Since its founding, the film festival has showcased nearly 350 movies, hosted nearly 70 filmmakers as guests, and inspired, engaged and entertained over 15,000 attendees from San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

The SFGFF is funded through sponsorships by individuals and businesses, grants and ticket sales. Entirely run by volunteers, the Festival staff works throughout the year to plan the event, supported by an Advisory Board of experienced and respected community and industry leaders.

Proceeds of the film Festival benefit the Modern Greek Studies Foundation, a San Francisco nonprofit which is committed to enriching knowledge and appreciation of Greece’s linguistic, literary, cultural and historic contribution to the Western World. SFGFF gives special thanks to its 2021 sponsors.

Red carpet sponsors: Nick & Athena Arvanitidis, www.visitgreece.gr, Consulate General of Greece in San Francisco. Spotlight sponsors: George & Sophia Fonti, Lykovouno Olive Oil, Faye Mellos, Dr. Peter Panagotacos. Enthusiast sponsors: Apollo Stone Imports; David Berkey and Eleanor Lacey; Dimitri Carapanos; Chris, Melinda, and Sia Kanios; Costas & Angeliki Karantzas; George Perlegos; Kounalakis Family in memory of Antonios and Vasiliki Kounalakis; Dr. Timothy Steck & Katerina Mavroudi-Steck; Zakynthian Brotherhood. Media sponsor: Indigoview.

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