Short Films

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KIDS PROGRAMME

Friday, 19 July • 12.00 • Patmion Theater

TALES WITHOUT LION

Premiere • Animation • 16’ • Switzerland • 2023

Director: Vital Z’Brun 
Language: French
Subtitles: English, Greek 

“ Histoires sans lion ” tells stories in fragments, leaving open the possibility of generating a meaning or a continuation. Also conceived as a series telling stories without the lion, the king of the jungle, without the monarchy, without its power… Leaving room for other animals to rewrite history.

CREATURES OF THE KALEIDOSCOPE

Premiere • Natural History • 18’ • UK, France, Australia • 2023

Director: Hannah Alexander 
Language: English
Subtitles: English, Greek 

Explore one of nature’s most magical creatures, the cuttlefish. Unravel their secrets and embark on a mesmerizing journey of nature’s living kaleidoscopes. Follow these elusive creatures as this documentary delves deep into the extraordinary lives of these remarkable cephalopods, see their unique abilities as they morph into stunning array of colours and shapes in a blink of an eye. Witness their incredible transformation from vulnerable prey to cunning predators, navigating the vast oceans ever changing surroundings and dangers. With the use of animation and world leading scientific knowledge, go beyond what the eye can see and understand them like never before.

COSMOS MELANCOLIA

Premiere • Science Fiction • 30’ • France • 2023

Director: Alexandra Leroux, Damien de Medeiros 
Language: French
Subtitles: English, Greek 

While playing in the forest, three children stumble across a character that looks like Godard’s Pierrot le Fou. The latter listens to the news on the radio announcing a series of environmental disasters. Distressed, the children connect to a tree that sends them on a mission to reboot planetary consciousness.

WHAT SHE DIDN'T KNOW

Premiere • Animation • 3’ • USA • 2023

Director: Zoe Zheng  
Language: English
Subtitles: English, Greek 

A colorblind girl sees color through playing the piano.

WILD HOPE: REBUILDING A FOREST

Theatrical Premiere • Documentary • 16’ • USA, Brazil • 2024

Director: —  
Language: English, Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Greek 

In Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, Mauricio Ruiz has turned his love for nature into action by working with the community to reforest a critical stretch of the nation’s most endangered forest, and by using drones to help him reach his goal of planting 15 million new trees. 

Mauricio created the Institute for Environmental Preservation, ITPA, when he was just 14 to fight back against rampant deforestation. With government and private funding, and a law in place that protects the remaining forest, Mauricio shows us what 25 years of civilian-led action looks like. Locals are paid to extinguish illegally set fires and to operate a nursery that grows 100,000 trees a year. They raise 58 native species critical for biodiversity and convince private landowners to reforest their land. 

Mauricio knows scaling-up will be the only way to combat continued forest loss and has set an ambitious new goal to plant 15 million trees. Fortunately, he’s partnered with a technology company, MORFO, that has the experience and tools needed to accomplish it: agricultural drones.  If the approach works, Mauricio can cut costs and time by planting 50 times faster than by hand, and still rely on citizen work to prepare and monitor newly forested ground.

SMALL SELKIE​

Premiere • Drama, Environmental • 15’ • UK • 2023

Director: Matilda Harding-Kemp 
Language: English
Subtitles: Greek 

SMALL SELKIE follows Skye, a young girl with a vivid imagination who yearns to become a mermaid. Against the backdrop of the loss of her mother, Skye finds solace by the sea. While collecting shells on the beach, she encounters a trapped “selkie” entangled in plastic pollution, which sparks a deep determination within her to protect the ocean from this harm. Despite her father’s initial disapproval of her hoarding the collected plastic, Skye transforms it into magnificent sea creatures. 

Exhausted, Skye drifts off to sleep amidst her imaginative marine world. Witnessing her daughter’s heartfelt efforts, her father is moved and begins to understand the depth of Skye’s connection to the sea and her mother’s memory. He surprises her with a mermaid tail adorned with the colourful plastic she gathered, giving it a new life and purpose.

POPUP SHORTS

Sunday, 21 July • 23.00 • Patmion Starfish Cinema

NYANGA

Animation • 20’ • Mexico • 2023

Director: Medhin Tewolde Serrano
Language: Spanish
Subtitles: English 

During the colonial era, Nyanga was kidnapped off the coast of Africa, brought to Mexico and enslaved. His greatest wish was to escape and return home, but instead he was sold on the slave market and forced to work on his master’s plantation. Even so, he never stopped thinking about freedom. How does one resist and survive under inhuman conditions? It was through a dream that he was called upon to organize an insurrection and prepare the escape by which he and the other slaves did not get back home, but did regain the freedom that allowed them to put down roots in new lands. Based on historical fact, and using shadow theater and handmade cinema, ‘Nyanga’ is an homage to resistance against colonial chains and an acknowledgment of those who constantly struggle for life.

THINGS UNHEARD OF

Premiere • Fiction • 16’ • Turkey • 2023

Director: Ramazan Kılıç
Language: Kurdish
Subtitles: English 

A little Kurdish girl tries to put a smile back on her grandmother’s face after the disappearance of her television, her only window into the world.

IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION

International Premiere • Fiction • 6’ • Latvia • 2023

Director: Toms Skele, Janis Abele
Language: None
Subtitles: None 

A Man brings back to life a mythical being or possibly it’s just a lucid sombre dream about saying goodbye to someone he loves.

THE FAMILY PORTRAIT

Animation • 15’ • Croatia • 2023

Director: Lea Vidakovic
Language: None
Subtitles: None 

Every family has its own set of circumstances and problems that only its members can fully understand” Daisaku Ikeda A quiet Sunday afternoon in the aristocratic, family home, just before the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Andras and his daughter Zsofia are caught by surprise when Andras’ brother Zoltan intrudes in the intimacy of their home, along with his big family. A poetic, dark, and somewhat humorous social observation, in which family ties and relationships are broken down and dissected to pieces. As Austro-Hungary teeters on collapse, Andras and his daughter are taken aback by the visit from Andras’ unpredictable brother, Zoltan, who comes accompanied by his large family.

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

Mystery, Coming-of-Age • 17’ • Germany, France, Italy • 2023

Director: Francesco Sossai
Language: Italian
Subtitles: English 

December 1999. I remember that, amidst the Millennium Bug anxiety, I went to the birthday of Enrico, a kid who lived with his family in an old and isolated farmhouse.

THE SUMMER THAT NEVER GREW OLD

Drama, Mystery, Romance • 16’ • Greece • 2023

Director: Spyros Mavraganis
Language: Greek
Subtitles: English 

During a late-summer getaway to the Pelion guest house where he spent most of his childhood holidays, Stefanos (Dimitris Kapouranis) realises there’s something wrong with his girlfriend, Sophia (Georgina Liossi). As the past catches up with them, the couple are forced to confront buried memories and inconvenient truths.

AEGEAN SHORTS A

Tuesday, 23 July • 22.30 • Patmion Starfish Cinema • Q&A with the Filmmakers

ELDORADO

Premiere • Drama • 19’ • Belgium, Italy • 2023

Director: Mathieu Volpe
Language: Beti, French, Italian
Subtitles: English 

Originally from Cameroon, Awa works as a snow groomer operator in La Thuile, the last Italian town before France. One night, at the end of her shift, she encounters a young migrant desperately trying to cross the border. Assisting him might be Awa’s only way to silence a constant and haunting sense of guilt.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY

Premiere • Documentary • 19’ • Germany • 2023

Director: Stefano Obino
Language: Kurdish
Subtitles: English 

The end of a war is never an end. A mother’s private diary takes us on a poetic journey through the lives of the many children who have fled the ISIS war and whom the world has forgotten.

BYE BYE, BOWSER

Premiere • Fiction • 20’ • Austria • 2023

Director: Jasmin Baumgartner
Language: German
Subtitles: English 

Luna rebels against the indifference of her artsy friends by writing a punk song about Laugo, the construction worker from across the street. The song goes viral and she decides to get to know him. When he stumbles into her reckless world with flowers in his hands Luna and her friends are amazed by his natural naive honesty. Will the clashing worlds of affluent neglect and working life lead to the collapse of their romance?

HIBERNATION

Premiere • Drama, Fantasy • 30’ • South Africa • 2023

Director: Leandros Brown, Daniel Howells
Language: Afrikaans
Subtitles: English 

The world is cold, dark and dying. The residents of a small valley cannot remember when last they saw summer. They have watched as their livestock and crops perished, as reality has slowly proceeded into turmoil. This has resulted in a mass exodus as famine has swept the land. 

Two sisters, Elna and Magda, have been isolated with their pet sheep, Dael, after their mother’s death. Day after day they tend to their infertile fields, eat rotten potatoes and bathe in black water, never seeking any affection from each other. 

Their relationship and faith are tested as they interact with the others who have been left behind to fend in oblivion. These include a lady who dwells with a forest who speaks of tales and prophecy, an Elderly Man who has mysteriously appeared, and a priest who promises the residents of the valley salvation, as he treks across the barren landscape with his followers. 

This miserable tale is one of seeking salvation in the endless monotony of a never-ending winter, and the conflict that exists when one’s faith is tested, as their prayers are met with silence.

CICADA

International Premiere • Documentary • 13’ • United States • 2023

Director: Matteo Moretti
Language: English, Greek
Subtitles: English 

After losing his wife, Papou reconciles with a changed sense of belonging as he returns to his home village without her.

PASTA AND TEST SCORE

Premiere • Coming-of-Age • 7’ • Taiwan • 2023

Director: Stanley Xu
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English 

One day, Luigi receives full marks for his first school test. Excited, he decides to spend the night waiting for his mother’s return so he can share his results.

AEGEAN SHORTS B

Wednesday, 24 July • 20.30 • Patmion Starfish CinemaQ&A with the Filmmakers

AT THAT VERY MOMENT

Premiere • Documentary, Experimental • 12’ • Argentina, Germany • 2023

Director: Rita Pauls, Federico Luis
Language: Spanish
Subtitles: English 

A child raised in the mountains yearns to squeeze reality. The inner and outer world get blurred in his mind as he evokes his obsessions and captures his surroundings with a camera.

KINDERFILM

Premiere • Experimental • 12’ • Austria • 2023

Director: Total Refusal | Adrian Jonas Haim, Robin Klengel, Michael Stumpf
Language: English
Subtitles: None 

It’s an ordinary day in the game Grand Theft Auto V: The streets are crowded with cars; people follow their routines, barbecue in their gardens or sunbath on the beach. And yet the game world is marked by a grave absence: a missing future that was suspended out of safety concerns. Unable to name the void, protagonist Edgar follows the traces of what is missing in the algorithm of his reality. Exploring the uncanniness of his normality, he rediscovers a beautiful yet nightmarish world.

IN THEIR DREAMS ALL JELLYFISH ARE WET

Premiere • Fiction • 27’ • Austria • 2023

Director: Marie Luise Lehner
Language: German, English, Portuguese
Subtitles: English 

This film is a manifesto for the fact that the rules by which we behave can be changed and transformed. The rules that determine the course of a sauna visit provide the structure. Orlando, who tries to master an inconspicuous visit to the sauna does not know the rules. After he has to leave the sauna during the infusion because his nipple piercings get too hot, he settles down hidden on a lounger and falls into a strange dream in which Laura’s beautiful cousin dances as a devil in an empty pool.

LA PANADELLA

Premiere • Documentary, Experimental • 17’ • Spain • 2023

Director: Joel Jimenez
Language: Spanish, Catalan
Subtitles: English 

La Panadella, an emblematic small road town in decline located in Catalonia, is awaiting the arrival of visitors from a mysterious tower. 

Employees from the Bayona Hotel and Restaurant, the only hospitality service in town, follow their cyclical routines day and night. Beds and tables are prepared, bread is baked, and laundry is made, a perpetual loop of constant preparation for something or someone. 

As time passes, a strange luminous signal appears in different places. A waiter witnesses the anomaly while the rest of the inhabitants continue in their stagnant motion, unaware of the enigmatic call. 

In the midst of La Panadella’s spatial limbo, the signal disrupts its monotony, revealing the crackles in its facade. 

Reality and imagination intertwine with each other to reflect on the historical trauma, the collective memory, and the spatial identity of a silent territory that lives between the nostalgia of the past and the longing for broken dreams.

THE POEM WE SANG

Premiere • Experimental • 21’ • Canada, Palestine, Jordan • 2024

Director: Annie Sakkab
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English 

The Poem We Sang is a 20-minute, colour and black and white, experimental documentary that meditates on love and longing – the love of one’s family and the longing for one’s home, contemplated through overcoming the trauma of loss of family home and of forced migration, transforming lifelong regrets into a healing journey of creative catharsis and bearing witness. 

The meditation on family love and longing for home centers on an old audio recording in which my uncle Elias was telling my brother how our family had to flee from the bombing in 1948 and run away from our family home at Al Baq’a neighbourhood in Jerusalem, Palestine, without personal belongings, thinking that the family would return home in a week’s time. Years later when my grandmother finally did return to the family home with my uncle just after the 1967 Six-Day-War, her home was occupied by settlers. My grandmother broke down in tears.

Weaving through my uncle’s voice-recording is my recounting of some of my most cherished memories of him. Growing up I was my uncle’s favourite. I once promised him that one day I would take him on a trip, flying somewhere together. He was afraid of flying. We never did go on that trip. 

Connecting the parallel solitudes of my uncles’ sadness of losing their family home, and of my own regrets of not having spent more time with him, and of my neglect to prioritize love for family and home amidst my busy life, Is a powerful poem اby Palestinian poet Khalil Al-Sakakini, that my Uncle and my father used to recite to me and my siblings over and over again during our childhood. 

Verses of my sung version of this lyrical poem punctuate the parallel narratives of loss and regrets, bridging lost childhood memories with profound longing for an occupied homeland. 

Visually richly layered with abstract visuals, family photos and archival footage of Palestine, the audio tracks will be equally richly layered with my uncle’s voice-recording, and childhood anecdotes of my time in Bethlehem with him. 

The Poem We Sang is at once deeply personal and fiercely nostalgic – a tribute to my Uncle Elias and my family, and an ode to our lost family home in Palestine.

YOU LAND

Premiere • Drama • 16’ • UK • 2023

Director: Debora Maité  
Language: English
Subtitles: English 

In the remote Scottish countryside, a downtrodden woman finds herself entangled in a newly-discovered influencer culture, whilst in search of respite from the humdrum of rural living and the impending weight of caregiving duties.

AEGEAN SHORTS C

Wednesday, 24 July • 23.00 • Patmion Starfish Cinema • Q&A with the Filmmakers

WHY ARE YOU IMAGE PLUS?

Premiere • Fiction, Documentary • 9’ • Portugal • 2023

Director: Diogo Baldaia  
Language: English
Subtitles: English 

In a small and poor village, a local Saint controls the realm of the abyss, making it impossible for dead people to talk to their loved ones who are still living. Ima, a curious dead child, tries to meet the Saint, so he can let her talk to her beloved grandmother.

HOW I LEARNED TO HANG LAUNDRY

Premiere • Comedy, Drama • 23’ • Slovenia • 2023

Director: Barbara Zemljic
Language: Slovenian
Subtitles: English 

After a chance encounter, Oli and Miha become friends, or something more. Or less.

SHORT CUT GRASS

Premiere • Comedy • 26’ • Croatia • 2023

Director: David Gašo
Language: Croatian
Subtitles: English 

An early summer evening begins with a game, while one kid counts to three thousand, the others hide in a row of suburban gardens. During that time, a young father spends the rest of his day with someone else’s child, an old man awaits a call that will change his life and the future of a year-long friendship becomes uncertain. The game ends when mosquitoes start rising from the grass.

VENUS IN RETROGADE

World Premiere • Drama • 15’ • Slovakia • 2024

Director: Štefánia Lovasová 
Language: Slovak
Subtitles: English 

17 years old Aňa wants to capture everything beautiful and funny around her on video. So does her little sister Maťa. Unconsciously distancing from the world and looking at every moment of their life through the phone they show us the relationship with their mother, who also seems to also distance from everything – thanks to alcohol. Phone videos are cut in a fiction short film that builds a powerful story of sisters dealing with mothers’ addiction. Experimenting with ‘found footage’ form allows us to look in Aňas and Maťas heads in a new way. Their shots, framing, moods, moments they capture show us what they feel like. They scream, sing, cry…

KITTEN OR REFUGEE?

Premiere • Documentary • 29’ • Netherlands • 2023

Director: Tina Farifteh 
Language: Dutch, English
Subtitles: English 

Artist Tina Farifteh spends hours every day looking at images of people fleeing. She sees human rights abuses and ‘pushbacks’ at the borders of Europe; hundreds of videos of people drowning. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, she saw very different scenes: people picking up refugees in their own cars – even inviting them into their own homes. 

How can we show so much empathy to some and so much cruelty to others, Tina asks herself. In the short documentary Kitten or Refugee? she dissects the mechanisms behind our absurd behaviour. She speaks to academics, people who take action, and subjects the viewer to an experiment: who would you save from a war? 

Overwhelmed by the flood of images, Tina fights to keep her footing and understand what she’s seeing. What are the risks of being guided by empathy? Are empathy and xenophobia different sides of the same coin? What does the endless stream of images of suffering do to us? In a confrontational way, Farifteh exposes who is at the bottom of the ‘empathy ladder’ when it comes to life-or-death decisions. A question that affects her personally: where is she on the empathy ladder? She thought she belonged, but now sees people who look like her, her mother, her father, her brother, being beaten up and seen as a threat. 

The question then arises: can we change? Is it possible to see ‘the other’ as one of ‘us’?

BEFORE THE MOONRISE

Premiere • Drama, Experimental • 19’ • Portugal • 2023

Director: Mário Patrocínio
Language: Portuguese
Subtitles: English 

A wise grandmother, a 9-month pregnant warrior mother, and a little girl live in a dry world. Water is scarce, but they are resilient and have found a way of surviving. The moonrise is approaching, which seems to influence their relations and dreams…

NOMADS SHORTS

Thursday, 25 July • 22.30 • Patmion Starfish CinemaQ&A with the Filmmakers

LEMONS

Drama • 16’ • Greece • 2023

Director: Nikos Pavlineris
Language: Greek
Subtitles: English 

Louisa no longer believes in herself. They convinced her that she can not accomplish many things, because of her visual impairment. A small incident in a bus station, related to her vision, will make her make a difficult decision. Will she manage to believe in herself?

UNTIL YOU SEE ME

Drama • 15’ • Greece • 2023

Director: Eleanna Santorinaiou
Language: Greek
Subtitles: English 

Petros struggles to find the right way to grief as he attends the funeral of a loved one. He is in denial. As the ceremony progresses, he gets more isolated into his own world, filming everything with his Hi8 camera. People “demand” of him to be more normal, but he only wants to be on his own. When he arrives home, exhausted, he must face reality.

STAY

Comedy, Drama • 24’ • Greece • 2023

Director: Nikos Vittis
Language: Greek
Subtitles: English 

In Athens, during the financial crisis, a young man and a young woman had no other choice but to stay in the same apartment for a few days. When each one’s plans for the future collapsed someone had to make the move to change their fate.

MERCI, POPPY

International Premiere • Comedy, Drama • 15’ • USA • 2024

Director: Hanna Gray Organschi
Language: English
Subtitles: None 

Cy is the kind of boss who expects his Klonopin hand-delivered, his sandwiches prepared with vegan mayo, and for his assistant Poppy to know these things like the back of her hand. After an aforementioned Klony hand-off at Cy’s beach house, Poppy joins Cy and his neighbors for an impromptu cocktail hour. She confesses that she’s dissatisfied with her life, humiliating Cyrus in front of his fancy friends, and forcing a conversation about a promotion that’s been caught in her throat. Merci, Poppy begs the question: how much are we willing to risk to get what we truly want, and what are we willing to tolerate along the way to get there?

THE FIRST SETTING SUN OF SUMMER​

Drama • 22’ • Greece • 2023

Director: Asteris Tziolas
Language: Greek
Subtitles: English 

Summer, early 2000s. A young boy arrives at his grandparents’ house in a small seaside village. Summertime is finally on! Keeping him company during his carefree summer days, is the mysterious “witch”, a self-isolated elderly woman living in an old house by the sea. When one day the woman is no longer there, the boy will turn his gaze, for the first time, to the light of the setting sun.

THE WINNING SHORTS

Screening of the 4 winning short films as selected by the AegeanFF Jury. Best Aegean Short Film, Jury Special Mention, Sustainability Award, Best Greek Short.

Friday, 26 July • 23.00 • Patmion Starfish Cinema

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