Presented by Agape Greek Radio, Hellenic Heritage Foundation, Itoc Media Corp. the inaugural GREEK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF TORONTO (GIFFT) is a showcase and celebration of Greek cinema. Held in the filmmaking capital of Canada, GIFFT will provide an exciting platform for directors, writers, producers, and actors of Greek Heritage to showcase their exceptional art.
GIFFT Feature Films
MY NAME IS EFTIHIA
A FILM BY ANGELOS FRANTZIS
Inspired by the life of the most prolific Greek female poet and lyricist; an extraordinary woman and artist who has created a massive volume of timeless and popular songs.
She got married when she was too young and she quickly became a mother of two little girls. She travelled from Smyrna to Greece, with only one little pillow clutched between her arms.
On board the ship that took her away from her home for ever, she decided she would never let life pass her by. She vowed to live on her own terms.
Her name means Happiness but destiny made sure she knew very little of it. She challenged death every day of her life, hoping to ward off its cold, ruthless grip.
She kept herself and her children alive through the massacre in Smyrna, so she decided to take on Death in a game of cards.
She lived every day of her life as if it were her last. She wrote incessantly on any surface she could find. She chain smoked. She fell helplessly in love. She gambled fearlessly in posh clubs and dirty dumps alike.
A FILM BY GEORGIS GRIGORAKIS
A contemporary Western about a native farmer who lives and works alone in a farmhouse in the heart of a mountain forest in Northern Greece. For years now, he has been fighting with an expanding industrial Monster digging up the forest, disturbing the lush flora and threatening his property. Yet, the greatest threat comes with the sudden arrival of his young son, after a twenty year separation. They turn into enemies under one roof and confront each other head on, with nature as their only observer. To prevent the muddy ground from being pulled out from under their feet for profit, father and son must dig deep into it.
SARMAKO – A TALE OF THE NORTH
A FILM BY MARCO PAPADOPOULOS
Thessaloniki, October 1949. The Greek Civil War is supposedly over, but its impact is still felt by the people and a great divide exists between them.
Antonis, the owner of the tavern “Makedonikon,” stays neutral and tries to distance himself from politics. But dreadful news summons his most feared childhood experience. While the war, the decade and a whole epoch come to an end, the band of musicians play their last classic rembetika songs.
And for Antonis the time for revenge has come.
IN THE STRANGE PURSUIT OF LAURA DURAND
A FILM BY DIMITRIS BAVELLAS (GREECE)
Antonis and Christos are two friends who live in a small apartment in Athens. In distress and secluded from society, they survive mostly with Christos unemployment benefit. The two friends are also united by their common, platonic love interest for Laura Durand, a porn star of the ’90s who disappeared mysteriously several years ago. They also perform 8-bit music with their offbeat band named Speed_28. When things go from bad to worse, the friends decide that time has come to start the quest for Laura Durand.
THE GHOSTS OF MONDAY
A FILM BY FRANCESCO CINQUEMANI
THE GHOSTS OF MONDAY tells the chilling story of a group of US film-makers who travel to Cyprus to film a documentary in the tragically famous Hotel Gula – a once popular resort where more than 100 people died in mysterious circumstances. What begins as just another day at the office will eventually turn into a terrifying journey into the unknown.
A FILM BY VASILEIOS PAPATHEOCHARIS (SPAIN)
Two lives, two different worlds and two unalike places. Vasi and Alexandra, two strangers, travel from Alicante to Greece, through France, Italy and Albania, on a trip where they will learn to face their mistakes and delve into their personal and family relationships. A journey through gastronomy, folklore, old traditions and the difficulty of communication between foreign languages. A search for happiness, dreams and hope.
A FILM BY SIAMAK ETEMADI
The search of an Iranian mother, Pari, for her missing son in Athens will force her on a journey to the dark corners of the city as well as the hidden depth of her own self.
SAFER AT HOME
A FILM BY LIA BOZONELIS (PRODUCER/WRITER)
Two years into the pandemic, a group of friends throw a wild online party. After taking ecstasy, things go terribly wrong and the safety of their homes becomes more terrifying than the raging chaos outside.
THE LIGHT TOUCH
A FILM BY ROBERT MACLEAN
While stealing a wallet in a crowded metro in Athens, Greece, a pickpocket notices a woman and falls in love with her. While the two women are on vacation, one accidentally pickpockets a policeman, who becomes obsessed with catching her.
A FILM BY VASSILIS KATSIKIS
During a stormy night, Ann is all alone in her villa. An intruder breaks in. Ann, in absolute terror, has to fight this mysterious creature, as well as to confront her husband and her own demented mind…
WIN A TRIP TO BROWNTOWN
A FILM BY GEORGE TRAMOUNTANAS
Frank Tsigas is a middle-aged family man and struggling novelist who can only see his life’s shortcomings. On their 21st anniversary, his soft-spoken wife Laura surprises him with an offer: if he can lose 50 pounds in three months, she will give him a “unique” sexual adventure. As he struggles to lose the weight, Frank learns that the paths chosen in life’s journey are more important than its final destination.
THE UNLOST HOMELAND
A FILM BY EFTYCHIA FRAGOU (GREECE)
“The UnLost Homeland” follows the story of 12 Greeks from Constantinople who lived through the Istanbul pogrom of 1955 in Turkey.
It is notorious in modern history as the only pogrom of such magnitude to have taken place during peacetime. The camera lens together with the presenter transport us to the stories of all the refugees who were forced to leave their country as well as of one Turk who is in self-exile. These are the stories of everyday people who were brutally uprooted.
How did Turkey manage to eradicate all these minorities? What truly happened in these genocides that have been so masterfully silenced?
Who were the Greeks of Istanbul really? How did they continue the Byzantine legacy? How did they manage to keep intact their language, their religion and their identity for 500 years after the fall of Constantinople?
How did they interact with the the other minorities (Armenians / Jews) of the city? Where were they on the night of the pogrom? What was their education, their relationship with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, their everyday life, their cuisine?
The story of this elite society unfolds through these rare interviews.
Utilising fast-paced montage, and innovative animated text on screen, the viewer is transported to an imaginary table, where everyone is sitting together without knowing each other, answering and complementing each other. In the end it feels as if everybody is somehow related to one another. Through common memories and mutual pain these people are united by a unique and universal bond.
One of these Greeks returns home after 46 years with his grandson. Is his house still there? How does it feel to return to his birthplace?
What is really left? Is this the end?
Because in the end history is not just the cold facts; it is comprised of the stories and trials of the people who wrote history.
BACK TO SPARTA
A FILM BY GEORGE TSIOUTSIOULAS (CANADA)
At 35, within the span of one year, Angelo Tsarouchas had lost it all. His marriage. A successful business. And his father. But what he found was that when it comes to realizing your dream, it’s never too late to start again. Against all odds, Angelo has found success and built a name for himself in one of the most difficult and strangest professions: Stand-up comedy. His career has taken him to stages around the world but ironically the one place he has never performed is Greece – even though a big part of his success is based on jokes relating back to his Greek heritage
MY REMBETIKA BLUES
A FILM BY MARY ZOURNAZI (AUSTRALIA)
Rembetika music or the Greek blues is a music born of exile and the streets. Developing its roots from the mass migration of people in the early twentieth century, filmmaker M. Zournazi traces the journey of her forebears from Smyrna in Turkey to Sydney Australia but discovers more than family history, she finds out how music connects people during times of struggle and crises. By weaving together different stories of music and migration, she documents experiences that are often left out of the chronicles of history.
LETHAL NATIONALISM: GENOCIDE OF THE GREEKS 1913-1923
A FILM BY PETER LAMBRINATOS (USA)
A historical documentary that for the first time charts Ottoman Empire’s and Turkish Nationalists Genocide of its 3,000-year-old ethnic Greek population, it took only 10 years to destroy over 3 Millenia of history.
Since 1913 the Turkish government – including the founder of modern Turkey — has exterminated or exiled over one million Christians of Greek heritage, collectively over 3 million Christian minorities of Asia Minor were exterminated.
This was the Genocide that set the model for all future Genocides. Turkish governmental denial continues to this day.
The veil of secrecy will be lifted and the story of the Greeks of Asia Minor will be told.
A FILM BY NANCY ATHAN-MYLONAS (CANADA)
Details coming soon.
A FILM BY YANNIS BLETAS (GREECE)
Rethymno is a place of history, of Venetian and Turkish decorations. A city of nobility and culture. A city of tradition. But there is another side to the city. The dark one. Stories that are true, others that are fictional. And some that are both.Stories, events that will give you the shivers, namely “Rigors”.
WHAT ABOUT OUR FUTURE
A FILM BY JAIME LEIGH GIANOPOULOS
An observational documentary that chronicles a group of youth environmental activists who organized the biggest climate strike in Vancouver’s history.
HELLENIC PLACES: HERMOUPOLIS
A FILM BY JAIME CHARALAMBOS MARGARITIS
The city of Hermoupolis, capital of Syros is located at the center of the Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea, in Greece.
In its history one can find all the elements that shaped contemporary Greece.
This is an animated documentary telling its story.
Ερμούπολη, η πρωτεύουσα της Σύρου, στο κέντρο του νησιωτικού συμπλέγματος των Κυκλάδων, στην Ελλάδα.
Στην ιστορία της απαντώνται όλες οι ζυμώσεις που διαμόρφωσαν τον σύγχρονο Ελληνισμό.
Αυτό το animated ντοκιμαντέρ αφηγείται την ιστορία της.
A DIFFERENT CANIVAL
A FILM BY ZETA SPYRAKI
A Different Carnival takes place during carnival in an empty town, that of Patras, Greece, where acrobats are looking for their audience in the absence of carnival during the pandemic. Could their colourful dance and tricks bring back some of that carnival magic?
DIMITRIS, NIKOS …AND THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE
A FILM BY COSTAS AENIAN
Review and investigation of a short story of the Greek Civil War (without seeking interpretation of war), where an abandoned child in the woods without chances of survival, survives and growing up as a refugee in Poland.
Story parallel to another child, 200 years ago, in the era of the Greek Revolution and the civil wars that followed it, in a time, where the hero with the similar experience makes peace with his opponent.
Behind the dots of the title, the tragic irony of the desperate endeavor of humans to decipher the mystery of Luck. At the vortex of a pandemic “civil war” where hidden, random “bullets”, hateless, lurk behind the human need for approach and contact.
GIFFT Short Films
A FILM BY STANLEY A. PAPULKAS (CANADA)
It’s the winter of 1962, Alex and Glenda have been travelling a long time, totally unaware of the road they are on is referred to as “The Bermuda Triangle of the North“. For the last 100 years, people have been disappearing along Highway 13 in Alberta. What awaits them may not necessarily be from this dimension.
A FILM BY VASILEIOS KALAMAKIS
In November 1973, there was a 3 days demonstration against the Greek Dictatorship. It all ended when the military involved by braking down the gate of the Polytechnic University of Athens. We follow the final minutes of the crew of the armored tank that broke in the University, ending the uprising against the regime.
A FILM BY ANGELIKI PARDALIDOU (GREECE)
One couple. A special night. Dinner. Wine. Will the night turn out as they imagined?
A FILM BY MARIA KASOLI
Iro is an oppressed woman who lives in the countryside of Greece. She faces situations that will lead her to surpass her limits and reach her freedom.
KEEP YOUR FEET IN THE CLOUDS
A FILM BY ELENI LAZARIDI
Fikos is trying to cross the city on his wheelchair, but he constantly encounters obstacles that he can overcome only through imagination.
A FILM BY GREGORY K.
When Eidon turns into a fish, he attempts to return to reality as he knew it before.
A FILM BY SAMANTHA PESS
Kleopatra is an 88 year old who is experiencing the closest thing to childhood she ever has been able to, as her informative years were eclipsed by wartime occupation. Now living with dementia under the care of her family, this condition has given her a bittersweet opportunity to finally accept the caregiving that she has shown many – yet never before received.
IN THE FISHBOWL
A FILM BY CHRISTINA KATSIADAKIS (CANADA)
Eve is a young, hip single woman. She is focused on work and relishes being around people. Due to the pandemic, she is forced to quarantine in her flat. Her only companion is her pet fish. In its fishbowl. Or hers?
A FILM BY THANOS LIBEROPOULOS
Callie, an unemployed young woman living with her controlling mother, is looking for a way out through the glittery yet cruel YouTube beauté universe. She will go beyond her limits to please her handful of subscribers while keeping up a smiling face and maintaining a perfect image
THE FIRST GOODBYE
A FILM BY ALI MASHAYEKHI (CANADA)
A woman downloads an app that helps connect her to her estranged wife for a brief time.
A FILM BY JUSTIN MESSINA
ONE OVER CAPACITY
A FILM BY MICHAEL ZAMANIS (CANADA)
Don and Betty are required to reduce the company’s head count by one staffer through unorthodox methods.
A FILM BY MARY KLAMPOURA
Two friends, a boy and a girl, get together after a long time. While having coffee, they decide to exchange their watches. There’s one thing that doesn’t cross their minds though; no one can stop time.
A FILM BY THOMAS GIANNAKIS
Maria, a theater director, receives strange visits to her home from her beloved actress, Efi, who seems to play the roles assigned to her instead of normal behavior.
A FILM BY KONSTANTINOS KIPRIANIDIS
The consequences of covid19 through the eyes of a broken actor who lost everything. An actor who lost his job, doesn’t have income to pay anything at all. He can’t afford the money for his rent and not even the sustentation for his baby.
A FILM BY THODORIS VOURNAS
An aspiring screenwriter and a seasoned producer try to work out problems regarding their upcoming collaboration. One of the two will have to compromise, adding milk to his coffee.