“…In a few days we’ll find out if this idea, which seemed like a pipe dream at first, will have the chance to evolve into a large, annual festival, a true meeting place for independent cinema, attracting more and more visitors each year.”, Artistic Director Giorgos Tziotzios, 1995 – 1st Athens International Film Festival

This is how the 1st Athens International Film Festival – Opening Nights first started out in 1995, only to evolve into the biggest movie showcase in the city and one of the most important festivals in the Mediterranean Basin and the entire Balkans, attracting an increasing number of visitors each year! None of this would have been possible without CINEMA magazine’s constant support, celebrating 25 years in the newsstands this year!

The anniversary edition of the Athens International Film Festival – Opening Nights is scheduled to take place September 17-28, featuring over 100 feature films from all over the world, three competition sections, special tributes, documentaries and more than 60 homegrown shorts. It’s worth noting that Opening Nights is one of the few festivals in the world to feature a “Music & Film” competition section.

The official lineup will be accompanied by a series of sidebar events, including workshops, lectures and parties, as well as a few choice annivarsary happenings in collaboration with the City of Athens Technopolis, that remain tightly under wraps.

True to its original concept, the festival seeks indie diamonds in the rough, as well as a hand-picked selection of avant-premieres, much-talked about documentaries, a boombastic combination of music and film, as well as all-time classics and midnight screenings.

Here are some of the films scheduled to screen at the 20th Athens International Film Festival:

Competition Section:

The Official Competition Section features some of the most eagerly awaited films in the festival circuit, introducing up-and-coming filmmakers that will leave their mark on the global stage. “10.000km” by Carlos Marques-Marcet, a disarmingly honest depiction of long-distance romance, and “’71”, a political thriller by Yann Demange that debuted at this year’s Berlinale, are only a taste of what’s to come.

Pulp and Nick Cave take up a prominent position in the Music and Film Competition Section, with “Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets” and “20.000 Days on Earth” that have already enjoyed a succesful festival run.

The Greek Shorts Competition Section, organized for the third year in a row, is of particular interest, offering young filmmakers the chance to showcase their work and stake their claim on one of the awards (submission deadline is July 20).

Tributes & Retrospectives

Since its very first year, the Athens International Film Festival – Opening NIghts has been paying hommage to notable filmmakers through tributes and retrospectives.

This year it’s Robert Altman’ turn to take the spotlight with a tribute to his most influential 70s classics, “Nashville”, “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and “M.A.S.H.”, supported by the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

Legendary Polish auteur Andrzej Zulawski, whose filmography boasts such unforgettable masterpieces as “That Most Important Thing: Love” and “Possession”, will be honored with a full retrospective with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Athens.

Documentaries and Special Screenings

“Life Itself” by Steve James on the fascinating life and times of Roger Ebert – the most celebrated film critic in US history – offers a small taste of what’s in store.

As for the 2014 Special Screenings, they are set to include (among others) a digitally restored print of the “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”, supervised by the director himself.

More announcements will follow!

The Athens International Film Festival – Opening Nights is once again sponsored by OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A.).

The 20th edition poster, as well as the cover of this month’s CINEMA Magazine, have been designed by fine artist Dimitris Alithinos, who chose to commemorate the festival’s two decades through art. Alithinos has represented Greece in some of the most important art fairs in the world and has become widely acclaimed thanks to series Concealment and his intercultural research, raising awareness about vital issues – something that fine art and cinema have in common.

The Athens International Film Festival by the numbers:

– More than 1800 new movies
– More than 400.000 viewers
– Three competition sections: International, Greek Shorts and Music & Film
– More than 100 notable film professionals have attended the festival over the years, including Daniel Day Lewis, Ari Folman, Jane Birkin, Fatih Akin, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Costa Gavras, Jeremy Irons, Peter Greenaway, Andrea Arnold, Julian Temple, Tom Tykwer, Shion Sono, Ki-duk Kim, Christine Vachon, Melvil Poupaud, Ben Gazzara, Dan Futterman and more.


Click for the full program here