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BERLINALE 2021 EFM / Thessaloniki Documentary 2021

Dragons by Miguel Antunes Ramos wins the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival grant

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- BERLINALE 2021: Honouring the memory of Dimitri Eipides, the festival has initiated a development grant at Berlinale Talents. The Newcomers prize is also taking his name

Dragons by Miguel Antunes Ramos wins the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival grant
Miguel Antunes Ramos, winner of the inaugural Thessaloniki Documentary Festival grant

Through a number of initiatives, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival is honouring Dimitri Eipides, the founder of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF) and for many years the director of Thessaloniki Film Festival organisation.

Starting with the Doc Station of Berlinale Talents, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival is introducing a Development Grant of €5,000 dedicated to Eipides’ memory. The inaugural award was bestowed upon the documentary project Dragons by Brazilian writer-director Miguel Antunes Ramos. The jury, comprising Israeli producer, distributor and sales agent Philippa Kowarsky (Cinephil), Greek documentarian Marianna Economou, and Michael Stütz, head of Berlinale Panorama, who picked Dragons “for its reflection on power relations in Brazil today, for questioning political elites, economical structures and the power of images through time — we found the project analytical, creative and timely. We can’t wait to see more and follow the making of this film.” The project is a Brazilian-French co-production by Julia Murat (Esquina Filmes), Leonardo Mecchi (Enquadramento Produções), and David Hurst (Dublin Films).

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Furthermore, the hybrid documentary project The Two Mountains Weighing Down My Chest by Chinese filmmaker Viv Li received a special mention from the jury “for being unique and fresh, funny but profound, deep and entertaining. It opens a door to a ‘real’ China… and beyond.” The project is a Chinese-Germany co-production by BB Gun, aiming for a 2022 production.

Thessaloniki is also renaming the Newcomers award to “Newcomers Dimitri Eipides”, for his dedication to discovering new filmmakers and future talents. Debutant and sophomore directors are eligible for this section, and the festival is also increasing the cash prize that accompanies the award to €10,000.

Finally, a special edition is being prepared, both in Greek and in English, evaluating Eipides’ contribution to the cinema community from the 1960s until the present day. The book will feature original texts by important filmmakers, such as Jafar Panahi and Béla Tarr, among other important figures of the festival circuit, such as the former CEO of the Toronto Film Festival Piers Handling, the co-founder of the Festival du nouveau cinéma in Montreal Claude Chamberlan, and founder and former director of the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival (IDFA) Ally Derks. The special edition will be released this summer, as part of the hybrid 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, which will take place from 24 June to 4 July in physical spaces and online.

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