Beyond Borders Κastellorizo International Documentary Festival

Beyond Borders Κastellorizo International Documentary Festival

In 2016, on the remote island of Kastellorizo, the Hellenic History Foundation (IDISME), in collaboration with the French Ecrans des Mondes, established Beyond Borders| Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival. Its overarching vision is to showcase films of exceptional quality and aesthetic appeal to audiences across the Mediterranean, Europe, and globally.

Every August, during the final week of the month, the Festival endeavors to foster connections among people and cultures through the lens of history. Utilizing the art of cinematic storytelling as its vehicle, the Festival aims to converge diverse ideas and perspectives from around the world. Central to its mission are themes of reflection, inspiration, and creative engagement with the past, present, and future.

Through a curated selection of films that underscore the timeless significance of various aspects of human experience, the Festival seeks to emphasize shared values bridging the divide between East and West, North and South. In Kastellorizo, this cultural celebration is seamlessly intertwined with a range of ancillary activities, including visual arts and photography exhibitions, educational initiatives, children’s workshops, lectures, seminars, masterclasses, pitching labs, and more. These offerings serve to captivate both avid cinephiles and the broader public, as well as professionals within the domestic and global film industry.

Beyond Borders, boasting three open-air screening venues, annually presents numerous world, international, and Greek premieres. These documentary films delve into historical events, personalities, socio-political issues—whether contemporary or timeless—and advocate for the promotion of human rights, consistently prioritizing quality over quantity.

Beyond Borders| Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival actively seeks to forge partnerships with esteemed academic institutions, prominent mass media outlets, and renowned film festivals. Through the institutionalization of Honored Partnerships and collaborative engagements, the Festival aims to extend the illuminating essence of Kastellorizo to every corner of the globe, thereby fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

The Pillars of Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders | Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival, positioned as a “boutique” film festival, is dedicated to the advancement and promotion of documentary filmmaking by showcasing works of exceptional quality and artistic merit.

Grounded in the fundamental belief that cinema is a collaborative art form and a dynamic medium undergoing continuous evolution, the Festival serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas and visions from across the globe.

At the heart of Beyond Borders lies its Main Competition Section, which serves as the cornerstone of the festival. Annually featuring 18 medium-length (31–60 minutes) and feature-length (over 61 minutes) films, this section presents a diverse array of documentary films delve into historical events, personalities, socio-political issues—both contemporary and timeless—and themes of cross-cultural significance that reflect the evolving concerns of contemporary cinematic expression. Filmmakers from every corner of the world vie for recognition through this competitive program, which awards eight prizes annually.

Complementing the Main Competition, the μicro Competition Section, generously supported by ZDF/Phoenix, showcases 24 short films (up to 30 minutes) each year. Here, emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds offer fresh perspectives on reality, challenge established norms, and envision the future through their compelling works. Directors with up to three films to their credit are eligible to submit to this section, with the Golden, Silver, and Bronze Phoenix μicro awards presented annually to outstanding entries.

Beyond the competitive realm, the Festival’s non-competitive Panorama features film tributes, anniversary screenings, and honorary events throughout its duration, celebrating the rich tapestry of documentary cinema.

In addition to its curated film program, Beyond Borders is committed to nurturing the documentary production process through a series of initiatives:

1) Masterclasses conducted by leading figures from the film and television industry.
2) The Audio-Visual Pitching Lab, a unique platform in Greece offering guidance and support to emerging projects.
3) Beyond Storytelling, an innovative workshop designed to familiarize film students with every stage of the film making process, from development to post-production.
4) The Co-production Forum, facilitating connections between experienced filmmakers and potential funding sources to realize their cinematic visions.

Just as the Pillars of Hercules marked the gateway to the Mediterranean, the aforementioned pillars of Beyond Borders | Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival symbolize a commitment to fostering a sustainable, meaningful, and promising future for documentary film making and beyond.


A few Australian filmmakers have been invited to attend the Festival. Documentary Australia is now fundraising to support 3-4 filmmakers to fly to Kastellorizo to attend the festival in August - we are looking to raise $25k to support this initiative. As you know airfares are expensive for travel to Greece in August so we are hoping to secure funding to purchase airfares for the filmmakers as soon as possible. I have attached a flyer for you to forward or share with any interested parties and here is a direct link to the campaign on our website if you would like to make a donation to support Australian filmmakers to attend the Festival in Kastellorizo this year. All donations via this link to Documentary Australia are 100% tax deductible.

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