Get to know the 9th Beyond Borders!

Under the patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou

World Premieres, Enhanced Awards, and New Programs at the 9th Edition of the Beloved Festival

The 9th edition of Beyond Borders – Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival, running from August 25 to September 1, 2024, brings thrilling films and numerous premieres from around the world, enhanced awards to support filmmakers, collaborations, activities, and new programs. Once again, the stunning backdrop of the remote Aegean island of Kastellorizo will host internationally acclaimed creators at one of the country’s most unique and beloved film festivals!

Strategic Partner of Beyond Borders is DEI-PPC (Public Power Corporation), the leading energy company in Southeastern Europe, which actively supports arts and culture. As an integral part of the country’s social and economic fabric, PPC enhances the dialogue with culture and the arts, supporting everyone and everything that leads us to a better future where culture plays a central role.

Beyond Borders focuses on documentary films that deal with historical events and personalities as well as socio-political issues. As Irini Sarioglou, the festival’s artistic director, states: “On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, and with the world plagued by war conflicts, this year’s Beyond Borders theme focuses on the wounds of displacement, forced expatriation, and the bitter feeling of being twice a stranger. Knowledge, research, and the outcry of documentaries are more necessary than ever to awaken consciences and promote dialogue and reconciliation.”

At the Beyond Borders press conference, held at the welcoming venue of the Stelios Haji-Ioannou Foundation, festival supporters and contributors shared their insights. The Secretary General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, Mr. Ioannis Chrysoulakis, highlighted the festival’s growing international reputation and its importance as a platform for showcasing diaspora creators. Menos Deliotzakis, Head of the Co-Productions Department at ERT, emphasized the significance of producing documentaries in Greece and ERT’s ongoing role in funding them. Sophia Dimtsa, General Director of Corporate Affairs & Communication at PPC, noted that festivals like Beyond Borders bridge cultures, creating hubs of energy throughout Greece.

The conference also featured online contributions from Michel Noll, Director of International Development for the festival, and Klaus Eder, Secretary General of FIPRESCI, underscoring the festival’s global impact and its role in fostering international dialogue and understanding among diverse cultures. Filmmaker and member of the preliminary selection committee, Vicky Markolefa, discussed the criteria for film selection and the high quality of the participating documentaries. Stefanos Velmachos Bonos, Programming and Development Manager at Beyond Borders, provided an overview of the competing films. Nearchos Daskas, founder of Polkadot Design, which handled the festival’s visual identity, spoke about the aesthetic portrayal of personal stories that highlight the broader history of the place and the world.

This year, the festival received 763 documentary submissions from 95 countries, many of which have been showcased at major international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Amsterdam (IDFA), and Copenhagen (CPX DOX). The screening program includes 37 world, international, and Greek premieres. Organized by the Hellenic History Foundation (IDISME) in collaboration with Ecrans des Mondes (Paris), the festival is supported by renowned global entities such as ZDF, ARTE, BBC, RAI TV, Movies that Matter, IDF Prague, PHOENIX, FIPRESCI, and Ecrans des Mondes.

Beyond Borders will feature three distinct screening sections: the Main Competition, which includes 18 medium and feature-length documentaries; the μicro Competition, which includes 23 short documentaries; and the Panorama section, which will host daily thematic film tributes outside the competition.

The two competitive sections of the festival will present a total of 11 awards:

Golden Wreath of Megisti – GRAND PRIX: €10,000, sponsored by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust for the best film addressing historical events and personalities, current socio-political issues, and the promotion of human rights in any form and manner.

• Silver Wreath of Megisti: €5,000, sponsored by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust for the second-best film addressing historical events and personalities, current socio-political issues, and the promotion of human rights in any form and manner.

• Bronze Wreath of Megisti: €3,000, sponsored by ERT for the third best film addressing historical events and personalities, current socio-political issues, and the promotion of human rights in any form and manner.

Best Greek Documentary Award: €2,000, co-sponsored by ERT and the Greek Film Center for the best documentary by a Greek director.

• Special Award of Mediterranean Friendship: €500, sponsored by EKOME for the best documentary promoting common values and peaceful dialogue among Mediterranean peoples.

• “Odysseus” Award: €2,000, initiated and supported by the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, and sponsored by Lady Marina Marks and Alex Sakalis for the best documentary by a Greek director of the diaspora.

• #THISISEU Award: €1,000, sponsored by ERT, awarded by the Delegation of the European Commission in Greece for the documentary that best promotes contemporary European values.

• FIPRESCI Award: €1,000, sponsored by ERT for the best film selected by the International Federation of Film Critics.

In the μicro Competition Section, which includes 24 short documentaries, the awards are as follows:

• Golden Phoenix: €1,250, supported by Phoenix TV for the best short documentary by a debut director.

• Silver Phoenix: €1,000, supported by Phoenix TV for the second best short documentary by a debut director.

• Bronze Phoenix: €750, supported by Phoenix TV for the third best short documentary by a debut director.

The Megisti Wreath, awarded annually to the best films in the Main Competition of Beyond Borders | Castellorizo International Documentary Festival, is a faithful, handcrafted replica of an artifact found in an ancient tomb (case) in 1913, dating back to the mid-4th century BC. It features golden ivy leaves in accordance with the Hellenistic aesthetic of plant decoration.

This year’s Main Competition Jury includes: Mitzi Goldman (President, Producer, CEO Documentary Australia), Valerie Kontakos (Director, Producer), Alan Gilsenan (Director, Producer), Bruce Clark (Author, Journalist) and Shuibo Wang (Director).

The μicro Competition Jury consists of André Singer (President, Director, Producer), Agapi Kefalogianni (Program Director, Nova Greece), Elise Aicardi (Head of Documentaries, Public Sénat), Elif Akçalı (Academic) and Marco Gastine (Director, Producer)

The FIPRESCI Jury includes film critics Marina Kostova, Peter Kremski, and Giorgos Papadimitriou.

At the festival’s opening ceremony, the award-winning documentary Beethoven’s Nine: Ode to Humanity by Larry Weinstein (Canada-Germany, 2024, 90’) will have its Greek premiere. This film invites viewers to reflect on the timeless concepts of love and freedom through Beethoven’s legendary work, transforming the film into a call for unity and reconciliation. The evening will conclude with a piano and vocal concert by Zacharias Karounis and Neoklis Neofytidis, featuring a repertoire inspired by their collaborations with great composers such as Stavros Xarhakos, Mikis Theodorakis, Domna Samiou, as well as their own compositions.

Maintaining its outward-looking and collaborative spirit with global cultural institutions, the 9th edition of the festival will host representatives from an honored media outlet, an academic institution, and a film festival. This year, the honored media outlet is ERT, the honored academic institution is Kadir Has University (Turkey), and the honored film festival is the Athens Avant-Garde Film Festival. Additionally, the honored country for 2024 will be Australia.

A new initiative this year is the Beyond Borders Co-Production Forum: “Meeting Your Next Co-Producer in Kastellorizo.” Fifteen peer filmmakers—creators, screenwriters, directors, producers, and executive producers—will present their projects, share their experiences from completed films, and support at least one documentary project through two-hour meetings, particularly from underrepresented countries, towards co-production.

During the screenings, under the presidency of the General Secretary of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), Klaus Eder, the Critics’ Corner will take place daily. In this segment, the three FIPRESCI members will engage in discussions with professionals and the audience about the films shown the previous night in the festival’s competitive sections.

Continuing for its second year is “Beyond Storytelling,” a filmmaking workshop involving students from the collaborating network of film schools. Each year, this workshop will focus on a thematic core related to Kastellorizo, introducing participants to all stages of film production—from development to post-production—resulting in a short documentary. The workshop is conducted in collaboration with Tel Aviv University and Queen’s University (Canada), under the guidance of academic Uri Cohen, director Danae Elon, and award-winning filmmaker, writer, and photographer Liselle Mei.

As every year, masterclasses with distinguished documentary filmmakers will be held, including: Mitzi Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Documentary Australia, with “Documentary in an Age of Misinformation” on supporting investigative documentaries.

Elise Aicardi with “How to Co-produce with Public Sénat,” focusing on co-productions with the French parliamentary channel.

Bruce Clark, former International Security Editor of the Economist and author, with “Twice a Stranger,” discussing how historical events shape narratives and affect human experiences, based on the politics and diplomacy surrounding the Treaty of Lausanne.

Experienced Irish filmmaker Alan Gilsenan with “Working on the Edge: Documentary Production and Ireland,” addressing the evolution of documentaries, the ethics of filmmaking, and the possibilities for collaboration and co-production among filmmakers.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and anthropologist André Singer with “From Disappearing World to Meeting Zelensky: 50 Years in Documentary Production,” discussing how anthropology led him to documentary production and sharing insights from his collaborations with world-renowned filmmakers such as Jean Rouch, D.A. Pennebaker, Robert Drew, Mike Grigsby, Fred Wiseman, and Werner Herzog, with whom he has worked on 17 films over the past 30 years.

An integral part of the festival is the two-day Audiovisual Pitching Lab, where 12 projects from around the world are presented online and discussed with top professionals from the film industry, significantly contributing to the shaping and realization of future film endeavors. Head Moderator is Claudia Schreiner (Documentary Campus Masterschool, Germany), and the jury comprises undergraduate and graduate students from film schools in Athens, Sydney, Belgrade, and Istanbul. The winning pitch will receive a filmmaking seminar worth €1,500, sponsored by Filmiki Productions.

Beyond Borders Festival continues its commitment to nurturing and training new filmmakers through its network of international film schools. Participating schools include: School of Cinema & Television Lykourgos Stavrakos, Department of Cinema AUTH, Lodz Film School (Poland), National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (Bulgaria), Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade (Serbia), Beirut Film Institute (Lebanon), Academy of Performing Arts, Sarajevo (Bosnia), Faculty of Theatre and Film-UBB (Romania), Munich Film School (Germany), Film Academy Baden-Württemberg GmbH (Germany), Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University (Israel), Maltepe University Communication Faculty (Turkey).

With Australia being the honored country this year, the Australian Film Television and Radio School joins the network. This school is the only Australian institution included in The Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the world’s top film schools. The collaboration with these schools includes: Participation in the μicro-competition stage where selected films will be showcased on Phoenix TV, one of Europe’s largest documentary networks. Participation in the Pitching Lab and its committee. Involvement in the international student team aimed at learning production stages (documentary studio). Participation in the festival programming teams, among other activities.

Parallel Cultural Activities

In addition to film screenings and workshops, the festival organizes parallel cultural events, turning Kastellorizo into a global cultural meeting point.

Throughout the week, musical interludes by Aeolian Duet (Michalis Kontos and Rea Moraiti) will feature piano and cello sounds, offering romantic melodies from Chopin’s nocturnes to operatic arias and retro-inspired romantic pop songs.

Workshops for all ages will include: EKOME’s experiential film workshops “And yet… we move!” in collaboration with the French organization Films pour enfants. “Cine(summary) in the classroom” with coordinators Dimitris Papacharalambous and Matoula Papadimitriou. Shadow Theatre by Alexandros Melissenos. Traditional dances from all over Greece for children by Nikos and Evangelos Tzellos. Fairy-tale musical journeys for children up to 10 years and parents by Lili Tegou and Niki Gkountoumi, using fairy tales to explore music and dance, learning songs along the way.

There will also be a sculpture exhibition by artist Alexandros Zygouris.

Daily presentations of books with historical, literary, and cinematic content by journalist and author Pavlos Methenitis and academic Matteo Compagnolo include: Bruce Clark’s book “Twice a Stranger”. The reissue of Tatiana Stavrou’s book on the Greek Literary Society of Constantinople (1967) by IDISME. The historical album “At the Edge of the Aegean – Castellorizo, 1890-1948” by N. Papanastasiou and N. Vogiatzis.

Closing Ceremony

The festival will close with a screening of “From Abdul to Leila” by Leila Albayaty, Germany-Belgium-Saudi Arabia, 2024, 92’. This film is a musical journey between East and West, a lyrical documentary blending the personal and political, poignantly depicting the director’s reconciliation with her Iranian identity and heritage.

The festival concludes with a rebetiko music night, filled with scents and melodies from Asia Minor, Piraeus, and Athens, featuring Katerina Tsiridou (vocals – baglama), Tasos Giannousis (bouzouki – vocals), Nikos Protopapas (guitar – vocals), Michalis Danias (violin), Evi Kanellou (percussion), orchestrated and directed by Nikos Protopapas.

Films 2024

In the Main Competition section, we will see a variety of compelling films including “2G” by Karim Sayad (Switzerland, 2024, 77′), depicting four former smugglers striving to survive post-government crackdown in Niger; “Anna and the Egyptian Doctor” by Taliya Finkel (Israel, 2022, 76′), about Dr. Helmy, an Arab doctor saving a Jewish woman in Nazi Berlin; “Bangarang” by Giulio Mastromauro (Italy, 2023, 73′), exploring childhood in Taranto; “Grandmother’s Footsteps” by Lola Peploe (France, 2023, 64′), navigating between past and present with Charlotte Rampling’s voice and Bernardo Bertolucci’s final appearance; “I Shall Not Hate” by Tal Barda (Canada, 2024, 90′), following Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s ethos of forgiveness after an Israeli tank kills his daughters; “In the sky of nothingness with the least” by Christos Andrianopoulos (Greece, 2023, 71′), showing an elderly couple’s life through the pandemic; “Kix” by Dávid Mikulán and Bálint Révész (Hungary, 2024, 90′), a coming-of-age story in Budapest; “Koka” by Aliaksandr Tsymbaliuk (Poland, 2024, 47′), about a father and son near the Bering Sea; “Loxy” by Dimitris Zachos and Thanasis Kafetzis (Greece, 2024, 87′), following Loxandra, a young woman with Down syndrome, signing with the National Theatre of Greece; “My Place Ozerna” by Karina Będkowska (Poland, 2022, 59′), a woman’s journey from London to a Ukrainian village; “Reset” by Min Bae (Canada, 2023, 89′), questioning the Sewol ferry sinking; “Samuel and the Light” by Vinícius Girnys (Brazil, 2023, 71′), a portrait of modern Brazil; “Searching for Rodakis” by Saim Kerem Soyyilmaz (Turkey, 2023, 57′), discovering a tombstone near Istanbul; “The land of forgotten songs” by Vladimiros Nikolouzos (Greece, 2023, 93′), a collaboration with Amazon indigenous communities; “The Parallel Currents” by Pablo Chavanel (France, 2024, 68′), about violence and survival in Cambodia; “The Pickers” by Elke Sasse (Germany, 2024, 80′), focusing on European farm workers; “The Three Fatalities of Teofilo Del Valle” by Manuel De Juan Navarro (Spain, 2024, 48′), on the first death by armed police post-Juan Carlos I; and “Who, If Not Us? – The Fight for Democracy in Belarus” by Juliane Tutein (Germany/Belarus, 2023, 77′), chronicling the struggle for democracy in Belarus post-2020 protests.

In the μicro program, we’ll be treated to a selection of short films: “Between the Fields” by Gretel Ribka & Jonas Riedinger, Germany, 2023, 29′, marking its Greek premiere, delves into rural work and the burdens of family continuity; “A beautiful day” by Stefano Obino, Germany, 2023, 19′, Greek premiere, explores the lives of children who escaped ISIS through a mother’s personal diary; “Enemy Alien” by Gabriel Murphy, Australia, 2022, 12′, Greek premiere, poetically narrates the experiences of a 14-year-old boy from Darwin, detained by his nationality; “Dipped in Black” by Matthew Thorne and Derik Lynch, Australia, 2023, 24′, reflects on the oppression of white life in Adelaide through a personal journey; “Anima” by Kristin Ivanova, Bulgaria, 2024, 23′, international premiere, intertwines the stories of three seemingly different women connected by a common trauma—domestic violence; “For here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world” by Gala Hernández López, France, 2023, 18′, explores cryptocurrencies and American cryptographer Hal Finney; “El Kala” by Diego Pérez González, Spain, 2023, 19′, Greek premiere, sheds light on invisible people struggling to break free through a personal narrative; “Live-in” by Laura Maragoudaki & Tatiana Mavrommati, Greece, 2022, 12′, depicts the “invisible” work of Georgian women serving as domestic helpers in Greek households; “Keeping Country Strong” by Bettina Catherine Richter, Australia, 2023, 29′, world premiere, celebrates Indigenous protected areas covering over 50% of Australia’s terrestrial reserves and their rangers; “The Board” by Carmen Tortosa, Spain, 2023, 19′, international premiere, explores the process of obtaining long-term sick leave or permanent disability certification for workers; “Sala 5” by Stefano Santamato, Italy, 2022, 15′, Greek premiere, follows the renovation of Room 5 with “Cartone di Raffaello” offering a captivating experience at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan—one of the oldest and most renowned museum institutions worldwide; “Sister of Mine” by Mariusz Rusinski, Poland, 2023, 30′, Greek premiere, examines the circumstances leading a talented teenager into drug addiction; “The Meatseller” by Margherita Giusti, Italy, 2023, 17′, Greek premiere, an animated story of a young Nigerian woman’s quest for identity as she aspires to become a butcher like her mother; “Old Summer” by Maria Wider, Poland, 2023, 25′, Greek premiere, explores the ways a seventy-year-old woman seeks true love; “Los Sandy’s” by Jaime Puerta, USA, 2024, 27′, international premiere, explores the sacrifices and creative resilience of a Mexican widow immigrant in the USA and opportunities for her seven children through music; “Reem Al Shammary – The Bedouin Boxeur” by Mattia Ramberti, Italy, 2023, 15′, Greek premiere, follows a Bedouin female boxer driven by the desire to reach the Olympic Games and inspire a younger generation of women to fight against gender inequality in Jordan; “Monument” by Maksim Avdeev, Russia, 2024, 15′, Greek premiere, delves into the relationship between a father and his gay son, reflecting on family, identity, and the abyss of ideology; “The Most Beautiful Corner in the World” by Robo Mihály, Slovakia, 2022, 25′, Greek premiere, reveals the challenges faced by a young Ukrainian woman in Slovakia, uncovering language and historical barriers amid the emergence of a new authoritarianism in contemporary Slovak society; “The Moon Will Contain Us” by Kim Torres, Costa Rica, 2023, 18′, a documentary blending science fiction about the city of Manzanillo on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica; “Uapishka” by Marie France L’ Ecuyer, Canada, 2023, 27′, international premiere, follows a group of Innu and non-Indigenous adventurers attempting to cross snowshoeless Uapishka Mountain, located north of the 51st parallel and serving as the natural border between the boreal forest and the Arctic island of Nitassinan; “The Beggar” by Vangelis Pirpilis, Greece, 2024, 20′, highlights actor Tasos Korozi’s efforts to make a living as a beggar in Agrinio; “When a Rocket Sits on the Launch Pad” by Bohao Liu, China, 2023, 12′, at a basketball sports camp, 15-year-old Fang talks about her dreams in the shadow of adults; and “Crazy Love” by Martyna Peskzo, Poland, 2023, 28′, Greek premiere, joyfully depicts a couple with Down syndrome striving to live their love life with full autonomy, despite social restrictions from their circle.

In the Non-Competitive section of the Festival, Panorama, we will see “Beyond Paper” by Oana Suteu Khintirian, Canada, 2022, 130′, Greek Premiere, about the impact of the ongoing decline in book usage on thinking and learning and the future of our memories; “Freedom is Beautiful” by Angus McDonald, Australia, 2023, 67′ Greek Premiere, which tells the story of two Kurdish refugees who fled persecution in Iran, arrived by boat in Australia in 2013 seeking asylum, and were detained for nearly 8 years; “Australian Wars, ep.1” by Rachel Perkins, Australia, 2022, 57′ Greek Premiere, which travels across Australia to give voice to the history of the Australian Wars; “Delikado” by Karl Malakunas, Australia, 98′, 2022 Greek Premiere, about three environmental activists trying to stop politicians and businessmen from destroying the idyllic Palawan in the Philippines; “The Return” by Nikos Karakostas, Greece, 2023, 46′, about an islander’s return to his homeland, Kastellorizo; “Mother” by Valerie Kontakos, Greece, 2014, 67′, about the legendary story of a group of girls who ran away from home in 1962 to enter a monastery; “The Defenders” by Matthew Bate, Australia, 2023, 81′ Greek Premiere, which tells the gripping true story of a whistleblower, the refugee footballer from Bahrain, Hakeem al-Araibi, pursued by Interpol; “Workingman’s Death” by Michael Glawogger, Austria/Germany, 2005, 122′, about modern-day manual laborers and their grueling work in Ukraine, Nigeria, Pakistan, or China; “There was Nothing Here Before” by Yvann Yagchi, Switzerland, 2023, 71′, Greek Premiere, about a Swiss director of Palestinian origin traveling to the West Bank to understand his separation from a childhood friend who became an Israeli settler; “They Chose China” by Shuibo Wang, Canada, 2005, 52′, about the surprising story of 21 American soldiers who chose to remain in China after the end of the Korean War in 1954; “Underwonder, ep. 1: Lake Vouliagmeni” by Kostas Karydas, Greece, 2024, 51′, about the secrets of the deepest cave in the lake; “The Yellow Bittern” by Alan Gilsenan, Ireland, 2009, 120’, which unfolds the story of The Clancy Brothers, one of the most influential musical bands in Irish history; and “Kastellorizo – On the Edge of the Aegean” by Angelos Kovotsos and Eirini Sarioglou, Greece, 2016, 55’, as a tribute to the history and magic of the island.

Photos from the Festival can be found here.

Photos from the Press Conference can be found here.

Trailer of the 9th edition can be found here.

For more information, you can visit the website or contact the Festival at Stay tuned for all the actions and news of Beyond Borders by following the Festival on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Organization: Hellenic History Foundation (IDISME) in collaboration with the French Ecrans des Mondes.

Co-organization: Region of South Aegean with the support of the Hellenic Parliament, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of National Defense, the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, the National Center of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME), Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation, the Greek Film Centre, the Embassy of Australia in Athens, the Embassy of Germany in Athens, the Embassy of Austria in Athens, and the Embassy of Spain in Athens.

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