Alexander Payne with his daughter at the Thessaloniki Film Festival - See photos

Alexander Payne

The two-Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Alexander Payne, official guest of the 64th Thessaloniki Film Festival, gave a press conference on Sunday, November 5, at the John Cassavetes Hall, a few hours before the premiere of his new film "The Children of Winter at the Olympia".

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Payne is best known for the films Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004), The Descendants (2011), Nebraska (2013) and Downsizing (2017). He has also won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director three times.

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The famous director was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Peggy and George Payne, restaurant owners. His father is of Greek and German descent, and his mother is of Greek descent.

Payne's paternal grandfather, Nicholas "Nick" Payne, was surnamed "Papadopoulos". His family comes from three regions of Greece: Syros, Livadia and Aegio.

In February 2022, he took Greek citizenship after being an honorary citizen of Aegion for six years.

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The 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival commenced on Thursday, promising a total of 270 feature-length and short film screenings across the northern port city accompanied by podcasts, workshops, art shows, parties and more.

This year’s TIFF will welcome movie star Monica Bellucci, who will be bestowed with an honorary Golden Alexander, while two-time Oscar-winning director and screenwriter Alexander Payne will present his new film “The Holdovers.”

Jeremy Podeswa, director of a series of TV hits including “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective,” meanwhile, is slated to deliver a masterclass.

Greek film director and set designer Nikos Perakis will also be presented with an honorary Golden Alexander, in addition to hosting a colloquium in a tribute to his life’s work.

Iconic Greek singer Haris Alexiou will serve as this year’s ambassador for the Agora segment of the festival, an industry event offering various networking opportunities for the global film industry.

This year’s “Fantasmas” tribute is curated by the artistic director of the New York Film Festival and internationally acclaimed film critic Dennis Lim.

Invisible and tangible ghosts, both scary and familiar, real and allegorical, will take centre stage throughout the festival with 33 feature-length and short gems of world cinema, while TIFF’s main visual art exhibition, titled “FANT SM S,” showcases works by Nikos Kessanlis, Vlassis Caniaris, Celia Daskopoulou and Jason Molfessis, four renowned Greek visual artists, accompanied by a photographic commentary by Dimitris Troumplekas.

Find the detailed program of screenings, masterclasses and other events at and purchase your tickets at Viva’s


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