The Short Films Festival first opened its doors in 1978, but for Greek films only. Experienced enough, it turned international in 1995. Making a dash from toddling to steady walking, it earned fame and reputation very soon: it took only eight years for it to be recognised by the European Film Academy (EFA). In fact, since 2003, the Festival of the town of the North of Greece has been listed as one of the top of its kind in Europe and it has been granted the privilege and honour to present a European film with an EFA award. Nowadays, film makers from all over the world submit their work to Drama, with the certainty that a potential distinction would be a pride for their pedigree.
In September, visit Drama to stroll around its verdant centre and you will listen to people talking in various languages about the films screened or to be screened in one of its five competition sections, i.e. the Greek, the international, the students’, the Greek film makers from abroad, and the digital films ones. You will see people cramming the theatres to watch the film tributes to national cinema from over the world (in 2012, Romania and Slovakia are the guest countries). You will watch the best awarded European films – in 2011, the film of Terry Gilliam that had first won the EFA award in Drama was announced Best European Film. And, of course, you will attend several parallel events, such as art and photography exhibitions, presentations of novels, concerts, and workshops for children.
But the festival in Drama is not just about its cinema or non-cinema events. The festival in Drama is also about its character and atmosphere, the people that support it, their feeling of joy and creativity, their love for art and festivities, their hospitality and their smiles. It’s in this ambience that celebrities and non celebrities meet, talk, have fun and, eventually, make friends with each other, with the city, and with Greece, sharing unforgettable moments. One of those moments was in 2011, when people of Drama had the enviable honour of hosting the famous British director Terry Gilliam, whose film won the EFA award of the festival. Right after the awards ceremony, the prominent film maker danced in the streets of Drama and had fun with the people of the town that presented him with his first ever personal distinction, as he said himself.
What is more, he expressed his support for Greece in his interview to the people of the festival, part of which we are citing below:
Your name has been linked with nominations like the Oscar Awards, the Golden Palm and the Golden Bear. From Los Angeles to the Cannes and Berlin, you have now come to a small Greek town, Drama.What could it mean for you such a distinction?
If this prize is for my film, is actually the first time I have been given a prize for a film. I never get prizes for my films, everybody else in my movies gets prizes, I don’t. This may be the first, so that is why I am here. Our country in particular and Europe in general are going through a significant economic crisis.
How do you personally perceive that and how much do you believe that this crisis, may affect, among others, the cinema production?
No, not really. I don’t think so. It may affect though the film festivals. What is disgraceful is that Greece gets all the negative publicity. What is wrong with England? Our financial system is a disaster and yet Greece gets all the publicity. That is not right…