FRIDAY 18th November 2005. Today I woke up at 05:30, rushed to have a shower,called Maria from next door, graped our luggage and run outside not to miss the Taxi. Why is that everytime I travel so early, I never enjoy my sleep. We are on our way to Thessalonki, Greece’s second capital for the 46th International Film Festival where we are Invited as guests of honor and we love it!!!! Thanks to Maria everything was arranged. The hotel where I chose to stay is an ex"bordello" and the rooms remain decorated in the same way as it was when it fist opened in the 1980’s. I got shocked because four channels out of seven available in the room’s television are playing porn and even if I tried to avoid watching it is impossible not to!!!!! My mom wouldn’t be proud of me if she knew!
We go for lunch with Maria and afterwards I meet Joanna to get my journalist’s pass for Diane Pernet’s "shaded view on fashion". I later go back to the hotel to get ready for tonight’s event. The opening ceremony for the Film Festival started at 21:10. It was a real experience for me to see some of the greatest personas of the Greek Cinema walking on the (dirty) red carpet of Olympion Cinema. Directors such as Park Chan Wook, Ines de Olivieira Cezar, Danis Tanovic, Yiannis Diasmantopoulos (my favorite film of the festival) ,Alexey Guerman, Amat Escalante, Ramin Bahrani, Niki Karimi,Konstandinos Giannaris, Zhang Lu, Jerome Bonnell, are presenting their work among 200 plus films. The crowd outside was going mad to get a snapshot of their favorite stars. I finally had a moment of conversation with my favorite cinema critic , Thodoris Koutsogianopoulos. Although I had to interrupt his conversation he was having with another person he was very polite and even smiled for Diane Pernet. Koutsogianopoulos is the correspondent of Greece for almost all the film Festivals happening Internationally and Interviewed most of the most valid actors whether they belong to Hollywood or not. He also was a unique way of dressing (not in this picture) and I consider him as a very stylish man.
The president of the Festival is actor Georges Corraface and he is busy being interviewed by all the journalists and at the same time trying to keep a balance as a host.
There is a whisper in the air about Francis Ford Coppola and daughter Sophia. They are visiting Thessalonkiki for the Festival but although I tried to figure out their exact arrival nobody could give me a clear answer. Photographer/friend Vangelis Rassias is responsible to take a picture of all the actors, directors etc during the 10 days that the festival lasts. I envy His courage. He is such a pro , always with a smile on his face working 24 hours a day non-stop and also managing to be so elegantly dressed.
After the welcome speech by Chorrafas and a surprise appearance by exotic dancers who appear out of nowhere I watch 10 minutes of L’ENFER by Danis Tanovic and then I head to the GREEN ROOM on the first floor for a quick drink and to search for Maria whom I lost on the way… I found her trying to keep a balance on her extremely beautifull red platform shoes which wasnt easy because her Gaultier long pleated skirt was not helping the situation. Peter Seller’s "THE PARTY" was the inspiration for what was about to happen at Kitchen Bar right after the opening ceremony at Olympion. Our driver was waiting outside to drive us there. On the way the lights of the beautiful city surrounded us … I was so excited to go there. There was allready a long line of people waiting to enter. I showed my pass and I came face to face with a guy who was playing Peter Sellers for the night. Very funny really. I begged my only friend who lives in Thessaloniki, Yiota to join me but it was impossible. I saw her only the next day for a couble of hours. It strange how strong the bond of relationships is kept with some people even If you havent seen them for such a long time.
The Kitchen bar was decorated with pictures of choreographer Konstandinos Rigos who was also responsible for the surprise dance at the ceremony before. I tried to find him in the crowd but the place was packed..I came across director Giannaris and I asked for a picture..We had a little funny conversation .Great guy. I wished him the best for his film and I asked him to fast pose for me.Here he is.. The soundtrack of the evening was mostly 60’s songs, very light from a decade that so many important things happened. Big screens were playing the film and you had the feeling that Sellers was actually around somewhere. I left the party at 04:00 in the morning with a copy of the Film wich was given as a gift. I really wanted some sleep.
Saturday was another long day but I was busy with some appointments I had in the city concerning a new project I am planning. Yiota finally came around looking fresh. I asked to pose for me in the shower of my hotel room. Lovely. We went for a snack at a place she likes and we talked about hips and makers. After-wards I rushed to Vangelis Rassias’ Studio with Maria to help him a little bit. There was a concert in the same space by XAXAKES wich unfortunately I didn’t really see but only when they were rehearsing. I was a bit ill as well with fever and my moves were really slow with a headache. The night ended at the Casino’s private restaurant with my friends.It was the first time for me going there and I found the whole procedure weird. They had to take my picture and also check my passport. No photos where allowed.
We went back to the hotel really late and I rushed to bed as I had an early morning flight to catch with Maria. My illness went worse. No picture of the Coppola family but I promise I’ll do my best to get one through friends.
By the way, there seems to be an error with my email addresses. I have created a new one hopeing it will be working this time. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com are the final addresses you can reach me for now.
Filep Motwary , Athens