The San Francisco Greek Film Festival (SFGFF) wrapped its 18th annual event, which was presented April 16-25.
The Festival screened twelve narrative features, seven documentaries, and seven narrative shorts by Greek and Cypriot filmmakers from around the world.
The festival was held in mostly virtual platform, with one in person drive-in screening.
All virtual screenings were offered free of charge, as a gift to the community. Many generous audience members made optional donations, which are greatly appreciated and help the Festival continue its mission.
The SFGFF viewers for the 2021 online screenings responded to prompts to rate each film after each screening, allowing the overall favourites to be named in the audience favourite Astron Awards.
This year’s ‘Best Narrative Short Jury Award’ winner is Bella, directed by Thelyia Petraki.
The jury, comprised of Jon Bastian, Allie Light, and Lansia Wann, stated, “This short film is a unique take on a singular POV narrative. Bella not only meshes found footage seamlessly with new, but as it progresses, it becomes more relatable. As it progresses, the emotional connection grows stronger. As it progresses, it reveals the ups and downs of someone’s life story. Then, in the end, even without sharing any commonalities to this person’s life, you strangely feel akin.”
This award comes with a monetary compensation of $500, graciously underwritten by Kleon Stephen Skourtis and Demetrios Skourtis in loving memory of their mother.
The ‘2021 Best Documentary Jury Award’ winner is Passage to Europe, directed by Dimitra Kouzi.
In the words of jury members babaLou, Karen Larsen, and Henry S. Rosenthal: “ Passage to Europe is an intimate portrait of Fotis Psycharis, whose passion for teaching is matched only by his compassion for his charismatic students. The filmmaker’s extraordinary access and skilled technique takes the viewer past the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding global refugees to open hearts and minds to the resilient children facing unimaginable hardship.”
This award comes with a monetary reward of $1000, graciously underwritten by Nick and Athena Arvanitidis.
The ‘2021 Best Narrative Feature Jury Award’ winner is Pari, directed by Siamak Etemadi.
Jury members Barry Caine, Kara Herold, and Ruthe Stein praised the drama as “a deeply moving film focusing on a dutiful Iranian mother’s love for her son and her unexpected journey to discover her own identity, apart from the ties of religious conviction. Artistically crafted, Pari offers emotional catharsis as it winds its way in unpredictable directions that pull at your heartstrings, leaving behind indelible images of a life irrevocably changed.”
This award comes with a monetary reward of $1000, graciously underwritten by Dr. Alex & Mrs. Deirdre Papalexopoulous.