Οn the 18th of October, the “Odysseus Awards” of the 7th London Greek Film Festival ceremony took place in «Theatro Technis», under the direction of Mr. Christos Prosylis, presented by the Greek.
journalist, Thanasis Gavos, while the Ambassador of Greece, Mr. Konstantinos Bikas, among others, addressed the audience and handed awards. Attended by film directors, screenwriters, producers from Greece, Cyprus, Great Britain, USA and other countries, friends and partners, the ceremony was accompanied by short art performances by its director Christos Prossylis, which included favourite tunes and excerpts from the book “About Psyche” by Aristotle.
With the aim to be the international meeting point for contemporary Greek film from around the world, this year’s twoweek festival (6-18 October) comprised of more than 70 films and 20 screenplays (fiction feature films, documentaries, short films, experimental films and video art) with the great movie of the director Michael Cacoyannis’s ‘The Trojan Women’ (1971) to be the first screening which opened the festival at Westbourne Studios.
The Odysseus Awards included twenty categories, among which best fiction feature film, best short fiction, best documentary, best experimental film, best video art, best directing and best screenplay. Pandemy, a fiction feature film by the well- known Greek actor Dimitris Piatas, won three awards (best fiction feature film, best directing and best performer for Theodosis Pelegrinis), while Block 12, a fiction feature by Kyriakos Tofarides, won another three awards (best concept for fiction feature, best screenplay and best actress for Carmen Ruggeri). Also, Common Denominator won two awards, these of best music and best actor for the Greek actor Vladimiros Kiriakides.
The documentary ‘Immersion: Dive into another reality’ about the poverty stricken community of Sierra Leone, directed by the famous TV host and producer, Antonis Kanakis in 2013, won one of the ‘Best Documentary’ awards, featuring his trip to Sierra Leone as a Goodwill Ambassador of Action Aid. As the media manager of the non-governmental organization ActionAid Hellas Anna Botsoglou stated exclusively to ‘Greece This Month’, Mr Kanakis was the first well-known Greek TV personality, who tried the «Immersion» in October 2012, on behalf of ActionAid Hellas, by living the experience of the everyday lives of the people of the village Fegkechoun in Sierra Leone.
The above experience had influenced Mr Kanakis to such a great extent, as he describes in his thanking- letter for winning the prize at LGFF, that the revenues from the production of his documentary under the title ‘Immersion:Dive into another reality’ were offered tothe above NGO for fulfilling two crucial projects for the region, i.e. the building of a school and a well. It is worth noted that in October 2013, 28 Child Sponsors from Greece travelled with the volunteers of ActionAid Hellas to Sierra Leone in order to participate in the projects mentioned above, with their experiences recorded in a second documentary directed and produced again by Antonis Kanakis, under the title ‘28 Child Sponsors- One Love Team’.
As Mrs Botsoglou underlined, through these initiatives, the lives of 1.5 million people will be improve d thanks to the warm welcome of Greeks who watched the documentary on Greek The team of ‘Greece This Month’ had the chance to communicate with Mr Antonis Kanakis, who stated about his experience the following: ‘It is difficult to describe my experience there. I think that for all of us who live in the West, only by breathing, smelling, feeling, seeing peoples’ eyes, speaking, listening, and experiencing by firsthand the poverty and the harsh living conditions, we can truly understand the reality that these people face.
Before my visit to Sierra Leone, I thought I had an idea of what to expect from according, to what I had seen on TV documentaries, etc. “I thought” is the key word. I have tried my best in order to communicate my experience, through the ‘Immersion’ documentary by sharing all these, images, through the procedure of film editing, directing etc. Although, I am still not sure
if I managed to present fully what goes on behind the camera: the harsh reality that unfortunately is the life of million people on our planet, ‘children of a lesser God’. As he underlines ‘a recent example of how this injustice between the Western and the developing countries is expressed can be found on the Ebola virus: no one seems to worry about the thousands of people who die in Africa from the virus, whereas if that was happening in Europe or America, it would have been the headline in the news of all the international media. Even if it sounds harsh, the prevailing attitude seems to be one of “let it be, as there isnothing we can do. As long as it does not affect us, we are fine”.
I do wonder how much time and money would be spent in trying to keep the Ebola virus under control if it continues to kill thousands of people living at developing countries, without posing a threat in western ones?’’.
Regarding his nomination award as one of the ‘Best Documentaries’ of LGFF, Mr Kanakis expressed his gratitude, pride and satisfaction for this honour, while thanking the 28 Greek volunteers who travelled to Sierra Leone and helped with the construction of the school premises.
However, he stressed that he feels some sort of ‘guilt’, because ‘the success of this documentary is, partially, the result of the poverty and unhappiness of millions of people, but also ‘because our planet cultivates and tolerates this kind of injustice’. Thanks to the ‘Immersion’ documentary, and the donations towards ActionAid Hellas that took place after the screening on Greek TV broadcaster, the lives of around 2 million people in the developing countries have been improved. Besides the donations, I have also offered the revenues from the documentary for the construction of another school and a well in communities around the region of Bo’, Mr Kanakis concluded.