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The cinema of Greece has a long history that experienced occasional international success obstructed in times of war and political instability. Five Greek Films have been nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film while two Greek films have won the Award Palme d’Or in the Film Festival of Cannes.In 1897, the citizens of Athens had the privilege to witness one of the first cinematographic efforts. The Greek Cinema was born from the Manakia brothers and the French filmmaker Leons, who filmed a small movie regarding the news of the unofficial Olympic Games of Athens in the area of Macedonia. Two years later, the first cinematographic theatre started operating in Athens followed from the opening of a series of special cinema halls. In the year of 1910, some comedy films were made from the director Spyros Dimitrakopoulos. The company Asty Film was founded in 1914 and the film production industry started operating in Greece. At that time, the fist full length film of Greece was launched called Golfo, a dramatic love story. During the First World War, the film production was limited owing to war news; however, many directors became known including Dimitrios Gaziadis and Georgios Prokopiou, who produced films with primitive means showing scenes from the catastrophe of Asia Minor. The first commercial success came with the film Villar directed from the scriptwriter and the leading actor, Nikolaos Sfakianakis in 1920. In 1927, a more serious attempt in the organization of Greek Cinema was accomplished from Love and Waves that was seen from 40.000 Athenians, the first film of Dimitrios Gaziadis, a man with experience on filmmaking who founded Dag Film with his brothers and father. He, later, filmed extracts from Prometheus Bound of Aeschylus during the Festival of Delphi of 1927. Dag Film produced seven films and developed over a period of five years including the social drama of The Storm (1929), the operetta of The Apaches of Athens (1931) and the musical social satire of Out with Poverty (1931). The company was bankrupt due to excessive costs while the number of Greek films was limited for a decade.The second phase of the history of Greek Cinema started in the days of the Nazi Occupation, the time when the Greeks refused to watch Italian and German films and sought encouragement in Greek entertainment, finding their way to the Greek theatre. The Golden Age of Greek Cinema was recognized from important historical figures including Melina Merkouri, Mihalis Kalogiannis, Katina Paxinou, Ellie Lambeti and Iakovos Kambanelis who gained international acclaim in the 1950s. Filopoemin Finos was the first man with exceptional organizational and technical talents who presented the first modern film called The Voice of the Heart (1942) with Dimitrios Horn and Labros Konstandaras directed from Dimitrios Ioannopoulos, which made a debut selling 102.000 tickets to the still occupied capital city of Athens. Immediately after the success of the film, Finos began his next film; however, he and his father were arrested as members of the resistance from the Germans, and he got released but his father was executed in 1944. Followed by the Civil War of 1944, Finos produced the family dramatic comedy namely The Villa with the Water Lilies in 1945. Until the fall of Junta in 1974, there was a double form of restrictions, which aimed to prevent and suppress during the early year with the Left Wing parties. One of the most notable representatives of good cinema, Georgios Tzavellas, presented his first film namely Applause (1944), a tragic and true story of a songwriter. Moreover, Alekos Sakellarios, a comedian, wrote a screenplay and turned it into film named Home is Best, a fresh social comedy. The characteristics of the films were romantic comedies and melodrama, which led to the increase of the film production due to the response of the public but the rate of increase slow down twenty-five years later.The next movement came with the comedy films, and the great comedians passed from stage to screen, the descendants of Karagiozis, the hero of the shadow theatre of Greece, who later became popular film stars including Papagianopoulos, Iliopoulos, Konstandaras, Stavridis and Hatzichristos. The films were portrayals of the Greek manners favored outdoor filming that provided valuable scenes from the neoclassical image of Athens and Greece. From that time, various screenwriters became noteworthy due to a neorealist trend such as Stellios Tatasopoulos depicting the hard life of miners of Naxos in Black Earth (1952) Greg Talas-Grigoris Thalassinos who depicted the story of a group of children during the German Domination in Barefoot Battalion (1952) and Grigoris Grigoriou who adapted an ancient myth to the conflict between two contemporary villages over the control of water supply and the love between two young people in The Abduction of Persephone (1956).  Michael Kakogiannis made his debut with his film who depicted a romantic comedy of manners in sunny neoclassical Athens supported from the well known cast of Elli Lambeti, Dimitrios Horn and Georgios Pappas in the movie called Windfall in Athens (1953) followed from the wonderful film called Stella (1955) showing the portrait of a liberated woman in the spirit of the working class of pride followed from Rebetiko music with the cast of the actress Melina Merkouri, the painter Giannis Tsarouhis, the composer Manos Hadjidakis and the play writer Iakos Kambanelis, which led to the social acceptance of Rebetiko, a once suppressed type of urban music from the lower social classes. The fame of Kakogiannis grew nationally and internationally, as the sole director who managed to balance art cinema and mainstream without compromising either, was showcased in films such as The Girl in Black (1956) and Electra (1962), which won numerous awards and were highly acclaimed. In 1964, the movie Zorba the Greek, based on the homonymous novel from Nikos Kazantzakis, was directed from Mihalis Kakogiannis. The protagonist of the film was Antony Quinn and experienced a major commercial success, as it was nominated from the Academy Awards for the Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. In the third period in the history of Greek Cinema, the Greek Film Festival of Thessaloniki was founded and the audiences of cinema were dramatically increased with over 100 million admissions per year, placing Greece amongst the most film loving countries in the world. Greek films were improved artistically and technically as colour was prevailed in the movies and more genres were established. At the center of growth was Filopemin Finos, who invested everything in order to succeed having the ability to control everything in programming and the technical and artistic work. Finos Film was a glorious company with actors, directors and technicians on payroll including the director Giannis Dalianidis with successes in modern comedy and drama and Dinos Demopoulos with successes in all genres who brought two of the most popular films of the country with Jenny Karezi and Aliki Vougiouklaki. Kostas Manousakis tried to combine art cinema and mainstream with his movie called Fear (1966), a realistic and symbolic depiction of oppressive provincial life while Alekos Alexandrakis made a film of social criticism called Dream Neighbourhood (1961).The Thessaloniki Film Festival of October 1966 saw a greater number of independent productions of artistic ambitions on socio-political comment and existential problems of youth. Panayiotis Glikofridis presented the dilemma between stark realism and war in his film called With Glittering Eyes, Roviros Manthoulis created a bitter satyr of the German Occupation in his film called Hands Up Hitler while Alexis Damianos presented a veritable ark of Hellenism in a recurrent state of crisis in his movie called Until the Ship Sails. When Dictatorship sealed mouths, the cinema world of Greece declined preparing for a new generation of ideological currents and politics of resistance that began with short films after 1970. Certain films determined the process of change during the first year of Dictatorship. To this extend, the audience of the cinema started to decline as they were fascinated from the new form of entertainment, the television, which started broadcasting in 1966, limited to the area of Athens until 1968. While the resistance to Dictatorship grew, young film directors started to express themselves in an attempt to get the essence of forms and appearances characterized from a spirit of awareness through the absorption of Hellenism and tradition to the introduction of politics, the depiction of social progress and the problems of existence and love. The fourth stage in the history of Greek Cinema came with the appearance of  the film of Theo Angelopoulos called Reconstruction, which won an award in the Film Festival of Thessaloniki. This was the opening of his career in Europe. The movement of New Cinema was established in Greece between 1971 and 1972 when the movies called The Engagement of Anna from Pantelis Voulgaris, Days of 36 from Theo Angelopoulos and Evdokia from Alexis Damianos were screened and proved to be major successes with the passage of time. The period was marked from the creative adaptation of the old cinema in the new spirit. A notable example is Dinos Katsouridis who had worked with the creative comedian Thanassis Vengos, and produced the film called What did you do in the war. Thanassis depicted the frightened Greek from the German occupation becoming involved unwillingly and suffering from ordeals, an awarded movie of contemporary symbolism, which broke the box office of the monopolized first place of the film superstar, Aliki Vougiouklaki.However, the production of mainstream films declined as the stage belonged to New Cinema where action and drama were replaced from experience and time. Nevertheless, the New Greek Cinema started to gain recognition abroad in terms of distinctions and winning awards after the fall of the Dictatorship in 1974. Theo Angelopoulos collected a series of awards including the Golden Lion Award for Alexander the Great in Venice while the movie called The Travelling Players gained recognition proclaimed as one of the best movies of the seventies from the Italian Association of Film Critics. Costas Ferris won an award for Rebetiko in Berlin and Christos Siopahas won an award for his movie called The Descent of the Nine in Moscow. In 1980, films declined again due to a financial deadlock from the directors. To this extend, the Greek Film Centre initiated the support of the most remarkable films. During the time of the New Democracy Government, the Greek Film Centre was staffed with highly respected personalities of the film world, who financed new films. One of the most notable examples is Melina Merkouri, the Minister of Culture under the Government of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement. She introduced a new cinema law, which provided the financial support of the government for the Greek film industry and managed to promote abroad the Greek Cinema.Nowadays, the Greek Cinema continues to evolve with a history of two thousand films that created a strong tradition. In the 1990s, young directors began to produce more contemporary films and social satyrs bringing commercial success. Some of the most renowned films of the modern cinema of Greece include A Touch of Spice (Politiki Kouzina) directed from Tasos Boulmetis in 2003, the Brides (Nifes) directed from Pantelis Voulgaris in 2004, El Greco directed from Giannis Smaragdis in 2007, Dogtooth (2009) directed from Georgios Lanthimos in 2009 and Attenberg directed from Athina Rachel Tsangari in 2010.
Filming Locations

1957: Boy on a Dolphin , Island of Hydra

1957: He Who Must Die , Island of Crete

1960: Never on Sunday , District of Piraeus, City of Athens

1961:The Guns of Navarone, Island of Rhodes

1962: The 300 Spartans , City of Athens

1964: Zorba the Greek , Island of Crete

1978: The Greek Tycoon, Islands of Corfu and Mykonos and City of Athens

1979: Escape to Athena, Island of Rhodes

1981: James Bond: For Your Eyes Only  , Monasteries of Meteora and Island of Corfu

1982: Summer Lovers , Islands of Crete, Delos, Mykonos and Santorini

1986: The Delta Force , Old Airport of the City of Athens

1988: Pascali’s Island ,  Islands of Rhodes and Symi

1988: Big Blue , Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa in the Island of Amorgos and Beach of Magganari in the Island of Ios!

1989: Shirley Valentine , Island of Mykonos

1989: New York Stories, Acropolis of Athens

1991: Mediterraneo, Island of Kastelorizo

1998: Eternity and a Day, City of Thessaloniki

1999: The Girl on the Bridge , City of Athens

2001: Captains Corelli Mandolin , Island of Kefalonia

2001: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life ,  Island of Santorini

2002: Bourne Identity , Island of Mykonos

2003: Ginger and Cinnamon , Island of Ios

2005: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants , Island of Santorini

2007: Fugitive Pieces , Island of Lesvos

2008: Mamma Mia, Islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, Pelion in Thessaly

2008: The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants II , Island of Santorini

2009: My Life in Ruins was filmed in Greece!

2009: Dogtooth , City of Athens

2010: To Nisi, Islands of Crete and Spinalonga

2013: Before Midnight ,  Castle of Methoni and Costa Navarino in Messenia of Peloponnese

2013: Mikra Aglia , Island of Andros

2014: The Two Faces of January, Acropolis of Athens and City of Chania

2015: The Judas Curse, Island of Symi

Events & Festivals

The International Film Festival of Thessaloniki is one of the most renowned annual film festivals of Europe held in the city of Thessaloniki. Founded in 1960 as the Week of Greek Cinema, the festival became international in 1992. Since then, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival has claimed and achieved a constantly increasing international scope, presenting the most groundbreaking independent productions from the entire world, and developing activities for international film industry professionals.

The Athens Open Air Film Festival is held in Athens every June for a period of four months. The festival organizes outdoor events against the backdrop of the most distinctive monuments of Athens, touristic destinations as well as more unexpected locations, which showcase the urban landscape (squares, parks, pedestrian areas) for its residents as well as its visitors. Central areas of the city are transformed in order to host film screenings, concerts, premieres of short films and many more interactive events, as always free of charge for everyone.

The International Naoussa Film Festival is an annual festival held in the island of Paros. The adoption of digital technology consists a vital element of the festival that brings it to the front row of progress on the new digital era of cinema and contributes to the formation of its distinguishable character.

The International Peloponnesian Film Festival is an annual festival held in Peloponnese! The festival was established in 2008 in the framework of celebrations of 150 years of the foundation of Corinth. It was held Under the Auspices of Ministry of Transport and Communications in Greece and was organized in cooperation with the Cultural Centre of Corinth.

The International Syros Film Festival is an annual festival help in the island of Syros. SIFF is committed to showing films underrepresented in mainstream festivals, to promoting Greek and regional film within an international context, and to creating a new space for film in Greece.

The International Olympia Film Festival is an annual festival held in the town of Olympia. The festival presents films including features, short fiction, short animation and documentaries from all over the world in competition section and numerous special events and activities.

The International Short Film Festival Psarokokalo is an annual festival held in the city of Athens. The festival is part of a project aiming to research, promote and develop the art of filmmaking. The festival program includes screenings of short films from Greece and abroad as well as audiovisual events, masterclasses, exhibitions and live concerts. The festival aims to travel across borders in order to develop a spirit of friendship and cooperation with international festivals and filmmakers from all over the world.

The International Short Film Festival of Drama is an annual festival held in the area of Drama. The Festival was established in 1978 in order to promote and disseminate the art of cinema in Greece and abroad and to develop a spirit of friendship and cooperation between filmmakers from all over the world.

The International Short Film Festival of Thessaloniki is an annual festival held in the city of Thessaloniki. TiSFF is included in the list of the 45 best shorts festivals and the list of the top 28 European festivals based on film selection and program. For the Balkan area the festival is definitely one of the most influential ones for short films renowned for its selection and screening of progressive and high quality films.

The International Rhodes Film and Visual Arts Festival is an annual festival held in the island of Rhodes. The festival invites the participation of documentaries, shorts and features with environmental and ecology themes, encouraging conservation issues and issues related with the natural, the human and the built environment. Prizes are awarded to the films for their innovative approach in conservation issues for their daring proposal in subject matter and their artistic qualities overall.