I’m just back from Thessaloniki International Film Festival. It was my first time there and it is definitely up there with Sarajevo in terms of friendly welcoming festivals.
The main festival buildings are huge warehouses out on the docks amongst large cutouts of cameramen and several stray dogs - one of which made its way into a cinema causing a hub bub reminiscent of dogs in school playgrounds. It was a good chance to catch up on films that I had missed at other festivals and I finally got to see the superb Silent Light (albeit complete with a heckler - who I’m sure if I could understand Greek was providing a deep insight to the film). I also got to see works in progress from Greece and the Balkans and it looks like there will be some interesting titles hitting the festivals next year.
The highlight for me though was definitely seeing Albert Lamorisse’s Red Balloon at a children’s screening with an extremely appreciative young audience who were all handed their own red balloon on the way out.